retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Sometimes, as the late Robert B. Parker used to say, the world really is filled with possibility.

It has been a pretty good few weeks.

I've had two trips to the Pacific Northwest, with extended visits to Portland and a quick sojourn to Seattle. Both, as you know, feed my soul.

I've discovered that I am now formally a member of the adjunct faculty at Portland State University's Center for Retail Leadership, which I find to be enormously gratifying. Also pretty good in the soul-feeding department.

I had the opportunity to meet and interview Ace Atkins, the novelist who has taken over the Spenser novels after the death of Robert B. Parker, and who also is an accomplished novelist in his own right.

But I won't be writing about my conversation with Atkins here on MNB. You see, the other cool thing is that I've started writing a column/blog for Forbes Media, on the subject of "where business meets culture." And probably other stuff that occurs to me. My column will be appearing roughly once a week, and sometimes more frequently than that ... and will probably cast a somewhat broader net than I'm able to cast here on MNB. (Then again, maybe not ... since I pretty much write about anything I want here.) The first piece can be found here, and the Atkins piece will probably run in a week or so. I'll let you know as these things appear...

Tomorrow: Star Trek Into Darkness. I can't wait, and I'll have my review for you next Friday.

By the way, regarding summer movies...

There is a story in the Wall Street Journal this morning about how several summer movies are "taking antibusiness sentiment to a new level, depicting not just corporate malfeasance but characters who exact comeuppance for business treachery in imaginative new ways." Among them are The East, about "an underground activist collective, whose creative attacks allow corporate bosses to 'experience the terror of their crimes'"; Paranoia, starring Harrison Ford, described as "a more traditional corporate thriller about highly successful bosses whose secrets include 'extortion, blackmail and murder'"; and Now You See Me, about magicians who use their skills to take revenge on major corporations that have exploited the defenseless.

Now, there will be some who suggest that these movies represent a typical Hollywood anti-business liberalism.

But I would take issue with that point. Hollywood may have more liberals per capita than some other places, but if there is one thing that show business executives - themselves part of a very, very, very big business - like more than politics, it is money. They spend a lot of it, and they want their movies to make a lot of it.

What these movies - and others - actually represent is a celebration of the individual, which is a highly American sentiment that goes back to the earliest days of Hollywood. The enemy can be a corporation, or a government, or some sort of massive conspiracy, but many of the best Hollywood movies are about how the individual (from John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart to Robert Redford and Steve McQueen to, more recently, George Clooney and Matt Damon and Julia Roberts) can succeed in the face of major odds and opposition.

I care less about whether these movies are anti-business than I do about whether they are any good.

My wine of the week: the 2008 Proprietor's Reserve Cabernet Franc, from Washington State's Maryhill Winery in the Columbia Valley ... which is utterly delicious.

And, a beer to recommend as well ... the Ol’ Factory Pils, from the Two Roads Brewing Co. of Stratford, Connecticut, which is crisp and refreshing as the weather warms up.

That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

KC's View: