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 18th century got under way, a few thoughtful and acquisitive people began fooling around with the notions of electricity and steam, and with ways in which the production (mainly in England) of textiles - cloth - could be made more profitable. Little did such dabblers know that these apparently minor pastimes would result in the complete transformation of the planet during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Much that was politically earthshaking - the War of American Independence and the French Revolution - awaited the last quarter of the century. Until then, the European powers busied themselves with continuing religious, territorial and dynastic conflicts that resulted in the redrawing of European maps as well as the reconfiguration of each country's American holdings.

It was called the Age of Enlightenment, a fitting name for several reasons. Even supreme rulers like Frederick II of Prussia and Peter the Great of Russia saw their people's destiny in the future, not the past. Around 1740, Frederick, like the British earlier in the century, abolished torture in his country and launched a concerted effort to administer justice even-handedly, at that time a somewhat novel concept. Peter, after bludgeoning the mighty Swedes into second-class citizenship in the commonwealth of nations, moved his vast, resource-heavy and half-civilized country in the direction of the West with a series of political and social reforms.

Indeed, the whole world moved toward the West, not always wholeheartedly. The Japanese and Chinese viewed Europe with intense suspicion and maintained policies to keep their ancient cultures isolated from it, but the latest technological ideas and the latest philosophical and political principles were imported by way of Jesuit priests, traveling scholars and far-voyaging commercial ships.

And finally East met West in a very literal sense as Russian ships sent to survey the Siberian coastline were blown off course, resulting in the discovery of the Bering Strait. Later expeditions put Russia in possession of Alaska and gave Russian fur traders a line of beachheads on America's Pacific Coast, all the way down through Northern California. Meanwhile, explorations by Britain's Captain Cook opened up the island paradise of the South Pacific, bringing the inhabitants of the archipelagoes the gifts of clothing, and disease.

Britain, after losing most of its American possessions, began late in the century to send its criminals and outcasts to Australia, leaving, in effect, the entire length and breadth of the Pacific Ocean open for business.

During the course of the century, disease - which had victimized humans at will since the dawn of time - received one defensive check after another. As early as 1717 a keen observer deduced the connection between mosquitoes and malaria. Others later saw that a person inoculated with a microscopic bit of smallpox became proof against the full-blown disease, and by the end of the century British sailors were eating limes during voyages to stave off the ravages of scurvy.

It was also the Age of Enlightenment insofar as the foundations of our modern, rational sciences were laid. A whole gang of French scholars spent decades laboriously and disputatiously compiling the Encyclopedia, a first attempt at creating a global compendium of knowledge. Samuel Johnson put that immense, fluid creature, the English language, in a bottle with his first modern English dictionary, and the British went up against the French at their own game with the publication of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The discovery, In 1748, and subsequent excavation (still continuing today) of Pompeii - a city of antiquity whose population had been destroyed by a volcano which, at the same time, preserved its streets and buildings in ash - gave modern people their first dramatic look at how their counterparts had actually lived in previous millennia.

The discovery at the century's very end of the Rosetta stone, bearing equivalent inscriptions in multiple extinct languages, eventually was to unlock the door to the wisdom of the distant past.

Yet in the midst of all this enlightenment the African slave trade reached its peak, with more than 6 million black men, women and children sold into servitude and transported across the Atlantic to the New World. More than draining off Africa's humanity in massive numbers, the penetration of the continent by Europeans made an instant end to its ancient cultures as indigenous societies scrambled to reorganize themselves to better to deal with the West.

The War of American independence was, to be sure, a sufficiently bloody exercise. Yet the military transaction by which Britain's North American colonists separated themselves politically from British rule was a disagreement between propertied gentlemen compared with the French Revolution, which erupted in Paris not long after the Americans created their Constitution and which occasioned a massive shedding of blood whose ramifications are still being felt today.

While, in the American conflict, Royalists were shunned, pilloried, inveighed against, and subjected to social and economic reprisals, in France the revolutionaries took the king and his aristocrats and summarily beheaded them in a long and bitter orgy of blood. It was all in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity, and as the forces of reaction gathered steam a military leader named Napoleon managed to save the day for the regicides. It looked like a new order was dawning in France and, by extension, in the Western world, an order without kings and fat cats, dedicated to the principles of law. Unfortunately, Napoleon wasn't quite what he seemed.

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

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