Pop Culture
Pop Culture: Articles for the Scripps Howard News Service & "Seen, Heard, Said"

Why the top-365-songs list isn't a stupid idea

Actors sink their teeth into vampire roles

Gregory Corso: My encounter with a Beat legend

Golden Globes: Sleazy and proud of it

In the offing, Clinton continent looms

"NYPD Blue" opener: The misery continues

 New movie genre: Reclusive authors anonymous

"West Wing," "Ally," et al.: Words, words, words

When TV shows outstay their welcome

Film critics dig their own graves with "Angels" review

Great Robert Altman films you never
heard of

Famous folk, next week in the arts, show business briefs

"Time regained": Proust in the multiplex

Glitterati is dead, long live Popfocus

Carl Barks: The man who put the ducks in Duckburg

"Almost Famous": Lester Bangs rises from the dead

Liz Hurley wins in war of words with Jane mag

Douglas poses with Zeta-Jones, and baby-makes three

Weddings that aren't: Douglas, Zeta-Jones, Madonna, Ritchie

The Emmy War: A half-century of coast-to-coast feuding

Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the Iglesias odds

It's raining books by and about Trumps

What's in a mane? Blond woman in the news

Liz Hurley denies dissing ex-beau

Rock Hall of Infamy: Anti-heroes from Elvis to Eminem

Barbra tix bankrupt fans

Laurels for Kathie Lee to rest on

Hillary "In bed" with De Niro, Cruise, Kidman

How "Sopranos," "West Wing" will divvy up awards

This just in: Donald Trump is not a dope

Walter Matthau: A rumpled old dog in the heart of the city

Sampras to take a stroke at wedding bells

Who wants to host "Monday Night Football"?

Queen rewards Tina Brown for demoralizing American readers

How the Korean War cane to TV land 20 years late

Ivanka Trump: From catwalk to commencement line

Lester Bangs: The troublesome punk who wouldn't die

Rags clash over Ted Turner "romance"

With straight face, Trump deems Marla's move "tacky"

"Friends" re-up for another season of top ratings, top money

Madonna in denial, and rightly so

"Suburbia": The continental subdivide

Howard Stern, Sly Stallone in bizarre, apocryphal triangle

Easter video viewing: "Spartacus" to "Harvey"

Billy’s in the news: Bob, Joel in love but not with other

"Charles's Angels" movie: Dispiriting news for old-time fans

Innovative career move for 'NYPD Blue' co-star

Top model: Why I gave oldish rocker husband the heave-ho

Unpleasantville: The awful truth about old-time TV families

Tina Brown held captive in desert by demanding children

Anybody's Oscar: Unusually suspenseful awards show looms

Oscar telecast: Looking for a few good hosts

"Lambs," "Beauty": Oscar's love affair with unacceptable behavior

Brad Pitt, Oscar to be in same room at same time

Letterman bites guest-host bullet: Andrew "Dice" Clay, call your agent

Seinfeld eyes East Hampton manse: Where's the welcome wagon?

"Mod Squad" Immortal dishes couple du jour

Brad Pitt's second thoughts about Oscar

Mike McCurry praises "West Wing": It's not entirely demeaning,,,"

Memo to "Hannibal" producers: Get Najimy while the getting's good

Don't Invite Gwyneth and Oscar to the same party

True or false: Douglas, Zeta-Jones don't even know each other

Ex-Clinton honcho linked to ex-"Cheers" costar

Third party cited in Trump-Knauss breakup

 Gossip queen goes to bat for Talk mag

20th century's No. 1 hit: "Satisfaction" hits the spot

Statement: Spice girl's marital problems insoluble

Charlie Brown, Pogo and me

From Howdy to Charlie Brown, we hate to say goodbye

The Beatle George: While his guitar gently weeps

Jodie Foster's people in mild tiff with CBS

A Peanuts trivia Q&A

Publicist: Boyle still joined at hip

There's video in your future and future in your video

"The future is now": Hit rewind

Whitney Houston presides over confluence of talent

Jim Carrey's flack earns A "D," Cher's A "B-minus"

Geraldo: bye-bye, doghouse

Michael Douglas does nothing much, reporters go wild

Ricky Martin on Menudo: Look back in anger

How to outsmart Halloween crowds at the video store

Tom Cruise puts himself in harm's way, only not really

1800-1900: Steaming towards revolution

1700-1800: Liberty, equality and bloodshed

1600-1700: The earth moves; North America is settled

Trump mulls travel plans, from altar to White House

"Faces of Impressionism" Time machine made of canvas, paint

Major quakes aren't personal unless they happen to you

Brad Pitt gracious about character assassination

Director insists Harrison Ford is not a brainless hulk

Costner, Willis, Douglas. Branagh, Sting_ in that order

Streisand: Color her ready to plug her new album

Julia and Benjamin's rings devoid of significance, flack says

Literary mud wrestling, featuring Geri and The Spice Girls

Urgent news: Ford to replace Gibson on "GMA" eventually

She married a monster from outer space

Never mind Godzilla VS. Mothra, Here's Trump VS. Cronkite

Spurned by Pitt, Redford pays court to Damon

Celebrity coyness is bustin' out all over

"Detroit Rock City": Kiss of death

Talk is cheap? Not with Tina Brown at the helm

The Beats: Remembered, Lionized and Unread

Real estate beat, starring Woody Allen and Donald Trump

Mood Music, or how we learned to stop worrying

Sex in the cinema: From "Last Tango" to "Eyes Wide Shut"

Two easy steps to looking exactly like Ricky Martin

Close encounters of the Muppet kind

Upcoming Brad Pitt movie not garbage, insiders say

Kathie Lee's eyewear excites Islanders' ire

Back to the future, continued

"Wild Wild West": Buck Rogers in the 19th century

Sculptures by Roy Lichtenstein: Fun, Fun, Fun

An expert's verdict:" Austin Powers" is pretty neat

Click here for pointless celebrity gossip

P. Dempsey Tabler of the jungle: The many faces of Tarzan

Kirk Douglas' Ex tells all about Errol Flynn fling

New twist in TV programming: Ax profitable shows

Private jet fees spell the end for another celebrity union

Killer serials: "Flash," "Buck" and a boy named George Lucas

Top nonfiction books: A message from two old men

Celebrity Dream dreams: Monica, Donald, Barbara, Georgette

Two divas, publicist form bizarre show-biz triangle

Johnny Cash tribute: Ring of fire, ring of friends

Streisand employee really upset about rumors

Grande Dame Eyes MGM Grand Gig

Secretive celebs? Not by a long shot

NBC honcho bristles at notion that Brokaw is not a saint

Barbara Walters not keen on daily dose of Monica

"Seen, Heard, Said"

David Letterman, Donald Trump, Eddie Murphy, Elton John

Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Prince Charles, Maj, Ronald Ferguson, Fergie, Miranda Richardson, Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, Axl Rose, Stephanie Seymour

October 21, 1999


By ROGER ANDERSON Scripps Howard News Service

As the 17th century dawned, the New World adventures of Southern European countries (Spain and Portugal) were already headed toward failure, but the glory days of Northern European (British, French, and Dutch) expansion into North America were just beginning - a development that would change the face of human society.

Prophetically, back in England, William Shakespeare closed his career in 1611 by writing a play titled The Tempest," a fantasy about wizards, lovers and monsters in a "brave new world." In 1605 his Spanish contemporary, Miguel Cervantes, had given the reading public Don Quixote, who, along with Shakespeare's Hamlet, set the type of the modern personality: conflicted, delusional, noble, doomed.

Increasingly, trade knit the expanding world together - Europe with America, Asia with Europe, Africa with Europe and Asia, West with East, South with North. Since prehistory, trade had brought peoples and cultures together across regions and localities; now, for the first time, advancing marine technology and navigation science created a global commercial network that served as the lifeblood of nations everywhere.

There were still a few holes in the expanding picture, however. In India, a kind of parallel universe was unfolding, with the Mogul dynasty reigning powerfully but precariously over a vast population comprising many ethnicities and, most significantly, two antagonistic religions, Islam and Hinduism. As for the African continent, it was still mainly something to be gotten around en route to India and China or back again. Its tangled physical interior with its tangled skein of aboriginal cultures so far was proof against penetration by Europeans, who contented themselves with slave raids along the coasts. The Middle East slumbered as the traumatic memories of the Crusades faded into history.

But growing international trade ate at those undigested bulks like a slow-working chemical, with caravans and ships in constant motion bearing goods, money, and people from region to region.

Commercial ambition short-circuited the Spanish and Portuguese project in what is now known as Latin America. After rapidly establishing mines, haciendas and plantations during the previous century to exploit resources like gold, sugar, and slaves, the Southern Europeans were running the continent and its people into the ground, leaving their own governments on the verge of bankruptcy, even as the first English Pilgrims were traveling to Plymouth on the Mayflower In 1620.

Instead of avariciously committing royal and state capital to intensive exploitation of the continent's resources, as the Southern nations had done the English, French and Dutch subsidized the efforts of merchants to establish colonies largely composed of religious dissidents, criminals, and other social outcasts whose presence at home was obnoxious.

Of course, men and women had known that the Earth was round since at least Columbus' time. But as the 17th century began they still didn't know that the Earth travels around the sun. Two things were lacking: a tradition of precise observation, and telescopes. Johannes Kepler gave the world the first, and Galileo the second. By 1639 Galileo was being condemned by the Church for suggesting that the Earth moves, although educated religious people everywhere reckoned he was probably correct.

Humanity's picture of the cosmos continued to crystallize as Isaac Newton embarked on a series of scientific breakthroughs, including the theory of universal gravity and thus the mechanism by which Earth and the other planets move through space. In 1675, a Dutch thinker named Anton van Leeuwenhoek turned Galileo's brainstorm upside down to create the microscope, for the first time demonstrating the existence of a realm too minute to be seen by the naked eye. Macrospace and microspace were now permanent adjuncts of the human world.

The Northern European expedient of sending religious dissidents to North America achieved very mixed results. It did not save the old-order, divine-right-based governments from violent overthrow. No matter how many Puritans held Thanksgiving feasts with Indians near Massachusetts Bay, there were enough Puritans back in England to produce a leader named Oliver Cromwell, who led a civil army against King Charles I, ultimately charging him with treason and causing his head to be chopped off in 1648.

The ghost of Martin Luther and his Protestant reformation loomed heavily over the West in the 17th century. Charles' beheading came at the end of a Thirty Years' War, in which the nations of Europe worked out their religious animosities on (mostly German) battlefields over a full generation. Even after the British monarchy was restored, the end result was an environment far less congenial to absolute monarchy, with the stage set for the rule of law.

Yet as late as 1692 the American colony of Massachusetts was torn apart by widespread accusations of witchcraft, for which citizens - most of them defenseless women - were executed. The Age of Enlightenment was just around the corner, and the stars and the cells had been opened to view, but many still lived in a universe charged with supernatural fear and horror.

Roger Anderson is arts and entertainment editor at Scripps Howard News Service.

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