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There's nothing like a good global disaster to bring people together. At least, according to Hollywood. The feel-good disaster flicks which hit big at the box office seem to tap into a never-ending supply of optimistic sappiness: In the face of imminent apocalypse, humankind will find the necessary resilience to join forces and overcome.
Now we may soon see if life can live up to art. As the millennium rapidly approaches, panic about the Y2K problem is snowballing. Some fear this panic alone could lead to bank runs, hoarding, fires and gun violence. The American Red Cross has already recommended that we stock up on food, water, cash and gas. But even if planes don't crash or the stock market doesn't fizzle, the Y2K problem certainly has the makings of a damn good movie.
How would we respond to this civil unrest? Would we unite in the face of common danger or selfishly cowering in our bunkers? Maybe President Clinton would deliver a moving speech to the world from an air force base off the Gulf Coast--with or without a soundtrack
Unfortunately, the Y2K bug itself pales in comparison to disgruntled space aliens or meteors the size of the Lone Star State. After all, the world would be hard-pressed to watch a hastily assembled team of elite MIT techies furiously debugging code. But it won't be long before the Hollywood writers view the Y2K problem as the next great feel-good flick. And for those of us who can't get enough, the sequel is only another thousand years away.
We've seen some surprising unions in the business world over the last few years: Disney and ABC, Mercedes and Chrysler, AT&T and TCI. But yesterday's announcement that the New York Yankees and the New Jersey Nets would merge into a single, $1.4 billion company--YankeeNets--takes the cake.
The resulting juggernaut--all the tradition of the Yankees along with the award-winning jersey design of the Nets--promises to be unstoppable. And now that merger mania has spread to the sports world, we're bracing for the possibility of a round of long-overdue synergistic partnerships modeled on the YankeeNets venture. It's been obvious for years that the Red Sox and Cubs were destined for each other. And the hapless Golden State Warriors would make a natural match with, say, the Minnesota Timberwolves. But it won't be until the Celtics fall victim to a hostile takeover by the Lakers that we'll be sure corporate culture has made the big leagues.
CATCHING THE MOVIE BUG--Richard S. Lee; THE SPORTING CHANCE--Alan E. Wirzbicki
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