Monday, March 10, 2008

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm...."

QUOTE: "I don't know why [violent] movies like The Brave One (even the title suggests tacit approval) should appeal to me and so many others. I can only hope they serve as a mental gutter through which our worst fears and impulses are channeled safely out of our emotional systems. The Greek word is catharsis, and I have used it many times to justify my own violent creations, but I have never entirely trusted it." —Stephen King [Entertainment Weekly, 10/12/07]

QUOTE: "I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful, lit-up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. ... I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat." —author, actor, economist and speech writer Ben Stein [CBS Sunday Morning Commentary, 12/18/05;]

QUOTE: Among young adults, pornography is losing the social stigma previous generations once attached to it, according to a study by Brigham Young social sciences researcher Jason Carroll (published in the Journal of Adolescent Research). Carroll and his colleagues studied 813 college students from six different schools. The results: 86% of young men reported viewing pornography in the last year, and 20% said they looked at it every day or nearly every day. Among women, 31% indicated they'd viewed porn in the last year, with only 3.2% saying they did so weekly or daily. But nearly half of the young women said that viewing X-rated material was an acceptable expression of one's sexuality. Researchers found that those who used porn regularly were more likely to indulge in other risky behaviors, such as drinking binges and sex with multiple partners. [, 12/12/07]

QUOTE: "[Juno] gives the impression that one can hand a baby off to strangers, have a few tears at the time the baby is born, and then the next day get on with your life as if nothing happened. That is of great, great concern to me. I think that's a terrible, terrible message to get across to teenagers and their families." —Mirah Riben, a board member for Origins-USA, a national organization for mothers who've placed their children up for adoption. Riben, a 63-year-old who gave a baby up for adoption 40 years ago, adds, "These situations take time to really digest and really understand. Juno hasn't done that. She has no idea how this decision is going to impact her for the rest of her life." [, 2/21/08]

"We are all completely inarticulate about how much we hate this movie. We all kind of sputter. ... It's a really painful thing to watch because Juno, just her entire attitude—we can all remember having that attitude that we knew exactly what we were doing. A few people around Juno said, 'You know, you should think harder about this,' and she's like, 'No, no, I don't need to think.' We can all remember being that way and watching your folly play out on the big screen—it's just not pretty." —Kateri McCann, 30, rejecting the idea presented in Juno that the choice to give a baby up for adoption is a short-cut to a happy ending [, 2/21/08]

A 1993 Columbia University study found that six months after giving a baby up for adoption, 38% of birth mothers felt a lot of grief, 46% felt some or a little grief, and 16% felt no grief. Four years after the event, 9% felt a lot of grief, 36% felt some or a little, and 55% didn't have any. According to a 2006 report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, American women voluntarily relinquish about 13,000 to 14,000 infants annually. [, 2/21/08 stats]

QUOTE: "It's definitely not easy being good. When you're the only one trying to do the right thing, it can feel like you're the odd girl out. But stick to your guns—people will respect you for being strong. And eventually, girls who lacked the confidence to do their 'own thing' will follow your lead." —the editors of CosmoGIRL!, encouraging teen readers to follow the example of a new breed of "good girls" such as Miley Cyrus and Carrie Underwood [CosmoGIRL!, 4/08]

QUOTE: Dina Lohan, mother of troubled tabloid diva Lindsay Lohan, will star in an E! channel reality show that will track her efforts to propel her youngest daughter, 14-year-old Ali, to stardom as well. According to an article on E! Online, "The unscripted half-hour series will feature momager Dina as she does her best to strike a balance between family and career, helping her mini-me navigate the waters of budding stardom while doing her best to help the teen avoid some of the all-too-familiar negative trappings celebrity can often bring." [, 3/5/08]

"[Dina] Lohan ... does not appear to have a close personal relationship with reality. 'Lindsay's no different than any other 20-year-old girl who's doing some experimenting,' Dina says to me during our brief phone conversation, which took place several days before Lindsay, fresh out of rehab, got arrested again, this time for DUI and cocaine possession. 'It's just that when we did this kind of thing we didn't have cameras turned on us all the time. What were you doing when you were 20, for goodness' sake?' I didn't have the heart to say, Well, not crashing my Mercedes into a tree!" —Vanity Fair's Judith Newman, in a story titled "Moms Gone Wild" [Vanity Fair, 11/07]

QUOTE: YouTube is facing criticism for allowing the uploading of a violent and sexually explicit video of a young mother being repeatedly raped in front of her children. The three-minute video was recorded with a mobile phone by one of the three teen boys who assaulted the drugged and physically helpless 25-year-old woman. "Putting [the video] on the Internet was an abomination," the victim said. "I was raped on film, and you could hear my daughter and 4-year-old son crying. I cannot understand how any Web site could show such a thing." About 600 people saw the footage before it was taken down. A source close to YouTube said it is impossible for the site to review every video posted because more than 10 hours of content is uploaded every minute. [, 3/5/08 stats]

QUOTE: Citizens of the tiny town of Arlington, Ore., recalled their mayor after she posted risqué photos of herself on her MySpace page. Now-former mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist said before the recall that pictures of her clad in her underwear had "nothing to do with me and my abilities as being mayor." But others disagreed. "I think everyone has to ask in light of what has happened, 'Is this the representation of what we want as a community?'" said Arlington resident Grant Wilkins. It has been suggested that Kontur-Gronquist's narrow recall had more to do with some controversial political decisions she made than the photos themselves. Nevertheless, the pictures became the pretext for the recall—a cautionary warning, perhaps, to anyone who believes what they post on social networking sites won't come back to haunt them. [, 2/27/08]

QUOTE: A love affair between two young men on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns has triggered an angry protest from viewers. But it's not about what you might think. Fans have started a letter-writing campaign and posted an online petition because the daytime soap has only shown the two characters kissing twice—and fans want more. "There are some people who want to see sex between Luke and Noah," said 34-year-old Theresa Webber, who lives north of Boston. "I've been watching soaps long enough to know that they're a teenage couple, so it's not going to happen anyway. But for them not to kiss at all, it's a little extreme." Producers of the show, however, have stated that there's no kissing ban. In fact, Barbara Bloom, CBS senior vice president for daytime programming, said that she would like to see the gay romance continue. "If that means there is a natural progression to the physical relationship, I would be in support of it." [AP, 3/2/08;, 3/3/08]

QUOTE: According to a recent study of almost 400 third graders that was published in The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, about 70% of the group had a television in their bedroom. The data indicated that the children with their own TV scored significantly and consistently lower on math, reading and language-arts tests. In a similar study of 80 children in Buffalo, N.Y., the presence of a television in the bedroom increased average viewing time by nearly nine hours a week, from 21 to 30 hours. [, 3/4/08 stats, c&e]

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