Famous person are always concerned, including the place they live and the experience behind them.
Stratford-on-Avon, as we all know, has only one industry-William Shakespeare-but there are two distinctly separate and increasingly hostile branches. There is the Royal Shakespeare Company （RSC）, which presents superb productions of the plays at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre on the Avon. And there are the townsfolk who largely live off the tourists who come, not to see the plays, but to look at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s birthplace and the other sights.
The worthy residents of Stratford doubt that the theatre adds a penny to their revenue. They frankly dislike the RSC’s actors, them with their long hair and beards and sandals and noisiness. It’s all deliciously ironic when you consider that Shakespeare, who earns their living, was himself an actor （with a beard） and did his share of noise – making.
The tourist streams are not entirely separate. The sightseers who come by bus- and often take in Warwick Castle and Blenheim Palace on the side– don’t usually see the plays, and some of them are even surprised to find a theatre in Stratford. However, the playgoers do manage a little sight – seeing along with their play- going. It is the playgoers, the RSC contends, who bring in much of the town’s revenue because they spend the night （some of them four or five nights） pouring cash into the hotels and restaurants. The sightseers can take in everything and get out of town by nightfall.
The townsfolk don’t see it this way and local council does not contribute directly to the subsidy of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Stratford cries poor traditionally. Nevertheless every hotel in town seems to be adding a new wing or cocktail lounge. Hilton is building its own hotel there， which you may be sure will be decorated with Hamlet Hamburger Bars, the Lear Lounge, the Banquo Banqueting Room, and so forth, and will be very expensive.
Anyway, the townsfolk can’t understand why the Royal Shakespeare Company needs a subsidy. （The theatre has broken attendance records for three years in a row. Last year its 1,431 seats were 94 per cent occupied all year long and this year they’ll do better.） The reason, of course, is that costs have rocketed and ticket prices have stayed low.
It would be a shame to raise prices too much because it would drive away the young people who are Stratford’s most attractive clientele. They come entirely for the plays, not the sights. They all seem to look alike （though they come from all over）–lean, pointed, dedicated faces, wearing jeans and sandals, eating their buns and bedding down for the night on the flagstones outside the theatre to buy the 20 seats and 80 standing-room tickets held for the sleepers and sold to them when the box office opens at 10:30 a.m.
In 1784, five years before he became president of the United States, George Washington, 52, was nearly toothless. So he hired a dentist to transplant nine teeth into his jaw – having extracted them from the mouths of his slaves.
That’s a far different image from the cherry-tree-chopping George most people remember from their history books. But recently, many historians have begun to focus on the roles slavery played in the lives of the founding generation. They have been spurred in part by DNA evidence made available in 1998, which almost certainly proved Thomas Jefferson had fathered at least one child with his slave Sally Hemings. And only over the past 30 years have scholars examined history from the bottom up. Works of several historians reveal the moral compromises made by the nation’s early leaders and the fragile nature of the country’s infancy. More significantly, they argue that many of the Founding Fathers knew slavery was wrong – and yet most did little to fight it.
More than anything, the historians say, the founders were hampered by the culture of their time. While Washington and Jefferson privately expressed distaste for slavery, they also understood that it was part of the political and economic bedrock of the country they helped to create.
For one thing, the South could not afford to part with its slaves. Owning slaves was “like having a large bank account,” says Wiencek, author of An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America. The southern states would not have signed the Constitution without protections for the “peculiar institution,” including a clause that counted a slave as three fifths of a man for purposes of congressional representation.
And the statesmen’s political lives depended on slavery. The three-fifths formula handed Jefferson his narrow victory in the presidential election of 1800 by inflating the votes of the southern states in the Electoral College. Once in office, Jefferson extended slavery with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803; the new land was carved into 13 states, including three slave states.
Still, Jefferson freed Hemings’s children – though not Hemings herself or his approximately 150 other slaves. Washington, who had begun to believe that all men were created equal after observing the bravery of the black soldiers during the Revolutionary War, overcame the strong opposition of his relatives to grant his slaves their freedom in his will. Only a decade earlier, such an act would have required legislative approval in Virginia.
In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Aladuell argues that “social epidemics” are driven in large part by the actions of a tiny minority of special individuals, often called influentials, who are unusually informed, persuasive, or well connected. The idea is intuitively compelling, but it doesn’t explain how ideas actually spread.
The supposed importance of influentials derives from a plausible-sounding but largely untested theory called the “two-step flow of communication”: Information flows from the media to the influentials and from them to everyone else.Marketers have embraced the two-step flow because it suggests that if they can just find and influence the influentials, those select people will do most of the work for them. The theory also seems to explain the sudden and unexpected popularity of certain looks, brands, or neighborhoods. In many such cases, a cursory search for causes finds that some small group of people was wearing, promoting, or developing whatever it is before anyone else paid attention. Anecdotal evidence of this kind fits nicely with the idea that only certain special people can drive trends.
In their recent work, however, some researchers have come up with the finding that influentials have far less impact on social epidemics than is generally supposed. In fact, they don’t seem to be required of all.The researchers’ argument stems from a simple observation about social influence, with the exception of a few celebrities like Oprah Winfrey — whose outsize presence is primarily a function of media, not interpersonal, influence — even the most influential members of a population simply don’t interact with that many others. Yet it is precisely these noncelebrity influentials who, according to the two-step-flow theory, are supposed to drive social epidemics by influencing their friends and colleagues directly.For a social epidemic to occur, however, each person so affected, must then influence his or her own acquaintances, who must in turn influence theirs, and so on; and just how many others pay attention to each of these people has little to do with the initial influential. If people in the network just two degrees removed from the initial influential prove resistant, for example, the cascade of change won’t propagate very far or affect many people.
Building on the basic truth about interpersonal influence, the researchers studied the dynamics of social influence by conducting thousands of computer simulations of populations, manipulating a number of variables relating to people’s ability to influence others and their tendency to be influenced.