- NEWS ITEM: The Southern Baptist Convention votes to boycott Walt Disney Co.
I admire all those Baptist parents. Not necessarily because of their politics or moral code, but because they're willing to take on an impossible task: filling the gap in their children's lives where Disney used to be.Now, instead of handing their kids the "Little Mermaid" video, planning vacations to Disneyland and buying Mickey Mouse trinkets at Christmas, parents will have to think of something better.
And parents with the imagination to go one-on-one with Disney are few and far between.
"Mommy, I'm bored," will now be the rallying cry of kids throughout the Bible Belt.
I remember the day my wife made the noble move to keep tiny Felicia completely away from our television set. Suddenly Carol had a new job: scriptwriter. She was the song-and-dance woman forced to fill in for all those groovy folks on "Home Improvement."
It was a daunting task.
The whole business of boycotting, in fact, reminds me of one of my golfing buddies. He says he golfs too much and thinks he should give the game up on principle. But then he realizes he'll have to replace it with something he finds just as invigorating and challenging.
He says he isn't up to the task. He'll keep golf.
Boycotters often shoot themselves in the foot.
So my heart goes out to those Baptist moms and dads.
Better put those thinking caps on. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" will open in theaters within weeks.
- NEWS ITEM: Marge Schott forced to back away from the Cincinnati Reds baseball team because of her remarks.
Much of what Marge Schott says is indefensible. Her comments about race and Hitler are not only unfair, they're wrong-headed and mean. She earns the ridicule she gets.
But let's be drop-dead honest. By shuttling her aside, baseball owners have said that keeping their business running smoothly is more important than the principle of free speech. That making money is more important than rights.
That "image" - as the tennis shoe commercial says - is everything.
- LATE-BLOOMING BOOMERS: Book publishers are a wily breed. Since they have their heads in the clouds they sometimes miss marketing chances that no self-respecting Fuller Brush man would miss.
On the other hand, book folks have a nose for news and an eye for trends. They can spot fads from clear across the country.
And the latest fad in publishing is "the tiny book of substance."
We went through the "tiny book of fluff" faze. Now publishers are pumping those cuddly little volumes full of grit.
Here are two new releases to consider:
"Late Bloomers" (Artisan; $14.95) has the small dimensions of a wedding invitation, but inside Brendan Gill of The New Yorker packs 75 stories of world-famous late bloomers. The pieces squish together like a can of kipper snacks: profiles of Mother Teresa, Pope John XXII - running all the way to Charles Darwin and Boris Karloff. The book's geared for aging Baby Boomers - people - like me - who feel they've never quite lived up to their potential and want to feel there's still time.
The second little loaf is Jacob Needleman's "A Little Book of Love." No hearts and flowers here. Needleman, a prominent philosopher, delves into "trust," "time" and "ethics," then eyes the poetry of Rilke and Rumi.
The books are sweet and small. But not for sissies.