Times, They Are a-Changing

Bob Dylan is more than an iconic folk artist. He's a world-class poet. At least, it would seem so from the Nobel Prize for Literature that Dylan won last week. It marks the first time in the Swedish Academy's history that it has honored a musician. Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Academy, told The Guardian that the decision was not "difficult," comparing his work to that of Homer and Sappho. "He's a great poet in the great English tradition, stretching from Milton and Blake onwards," she said. It's the first time an American has won the Nobel Prize for Literature since 1993, when author Toni Morrison was so honored. [theguardian.com, 10/13/16]

Disney's Polished Princess Principles

Disney's princesses have been sometimes criticized for fostering unhealthy body image problems among young fans. But now the Mouse House is offering some different messages with a new poster, listing the character qualities that all would-be "princesses" should strive for: "Care for others. Live healthily. Don't judge a book by its cover. Be honest. Be a friend you can trust. Believe in yourself. Right wrongs. Try your best. Be loyal. Never give up." [time.com, 10/12/16]

CoverGirl Introduces Its First CoverBoy

CoverGirl has traditionally partnered with popular female celebrities to promote its products. Now the beauty and cosmetics icon has recently introduced its first CoverBoy, 17-year-old high school student James Charles. He will appear in ads with Katy Perry and by himself wearing the company's makeup products. [usatoday.com, 10/12/16]

Miley, Kristen & Bella Talk About Their Sexuality

Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart and Bella Thorne have all been talking about their sexual identities lately. In an interview with Variety, former Disney star and current Voice judge Cyrus said, "My mom … loves being a girl. I never felt that way. I know some girls that love getting their nails done. I f---ing hated it. … I never related to loving being a girl. And then, being a boy didn't sound fun to me. I think the LGBTQ alphabet could continue forever. But there's a 'P' that should happen, for 'pansexual.'" Cyrus unpacked that label further by adding, "Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more. I was like, 'Oh—that's why I don't feel straight and I don't feel gay. It's because I'm not.'"

Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Café Society, Personal Shopper), has been increasingly open about her relationships with other women. "I'm not ashamed, and I'm not confused," she said in Elle magazine's Women of the Year issue. "Things have changed. And not just with me—we're really allowed to encourage this new acceptance to develop and be awesome."

However, another Disney alum, Bella Thorne (Shake It Up, Scream, Boo! A Madea Halloween) isn't quite as upbeat as Stewart regarding how Hollywood decision-makers view female stars who come out as bisexual, as she recently has. She told Maxim magazine, "I've had studios tell me my image is too 'out there,' hinting at [my bisexuality] but not really saying it." [variety.com, 10/11/16; usatoday.com, 10/12/16; nydailynews.com, 10/10/16; foxnews.com, 10/14/16]

U.S.: Not So Great For Girls

A new report compiled by Save the Children suggests that the United States is not a great place to be a girl. The report identified Sweden as the best place for young females to live. Niger finished at the bottom. The U.S. ranked 32nd on the 144-country list behind countries such as Algeria and Kazakhstan. The U.S. score was hurt by relatively high rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality compared to other countries with similar income levels. [nbcnews.com, 10/11/16]

The Superest Superhero of Them All?

Is Wonder Woman is the most culturally influential superhero in the world? Entertainment Weekly thinks so. The entertainment magazine ranked the "50 Most Powerful Superheroes Ever," rating each comic book titan by nine criteria: bankability, design, modern relevance, mythology, nemeses, originality, personality, powers and cultural impact—with the last category carrying double points. "The result, we believe," the magazine said, "is the most precise and comprehensive superhero ranking ever created." The Amazonian heroine, EW says, "represents something that's bigger than Spider-Man or Batman. She's an inspiration for every little girl who would like to imagine herself saving the world."

Spider-Man and Batman finished second and third, respectively, on EW's list, followed by Superman, Wolverine, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Panther and, at No. 10, the Flash. [ew.com, 10/13/16]

A Real-Life Do-Gooder

Chris Pratt, who played superhero Peter Quill/Starlord in 2014's hit movie Guardians of the Galaxy, recently spent some time at the Seattle Children's Hospital. Pratt visited patients and posted some of their stories online. In addition, he tweeted this: "My heart is full. Proverbs 3:27 Don't withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it." [relevantmagazine.com, 10/13/16]

The (Almost Literal) 15 Minutes of Fame of Ken Bone

On Oct. 9, Ken Bone asked this year's two primary presidential contenders if there was anything each liked about the other. By Oct. 10, Bone was an Internet celebrity. The red IZOD sweater Bone wore to the debate sold out within 24 hours on Amazon. His Twitter following went from seven to 240,000. Soon, he was selling his own "Bonezone T-shirts" and shilling for Uber. But then, during an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, old comments he'd made about Trayvon Martin and Jennifer Lawrence came to light, leading the cyberverse to turn on the man as quickly as it had embraced him. Such is the cycle of celebrity in the 21st century. [relevantmagazine.com, 10/13/2016; thewrap.com, 10/14/16]

Are the NFL's Rating Woes a Harbinger of Doom for Broadcast TV?

"Football, America's biggest prime-time powerhouse, has been thrust into a crisis this fall, with dwindling ratings sparking questions over whether it can remain a gold mine for television in an age when more Americans are abandoning traditional TV. Network executives have long used the National Football League's live games as a last line of defense against the rapid growth of 'cord-cutting' and on-demand viewing upending the industry. But now, the NFL is seeing its ratings tumble in the same way that the Olympics, awards shows and other live events have, falling more than 10 percent for the first five weeks of the season compared with the first five weeks of last season. A continued slide, executives say, could pose an even bigger danger: If football can't survive the new age of TV, what can?"

Washington Post business writer Drew Harwell, on how the NFL's declining ratings may be an ominous sign for the future of broadcast television [washingtonpost.com, 10/14/16]

Gone But Still Earning

So which gone-but-not-forgotten celeb is king of the hill when it comes to posthumous earning power? Turns out that it's still Michael Jackson, the King of Pop himself, seven years after his 2009 death. According to Forbes, Jackson's estate earned $825 million in 2016, followed by that of Charles Schulz with $48 million. Arnold Palmer ($40 million), Elvis ($27 million) and Prince ($25 million) rounded out the top five deceased money makers. [variety.com, 10/12/16]

'The Simpsons' Turns 600

Move over, Lassie. Watch out, Gunsmoke. Homer, Bart and Co. are gunning for you. Fox's iconic animated hit The Simpsons just notched its 600th episode. The series recently passed Lassie, which broadcast 591 episodes over 19 seasons. The Simpsons already owns the record for the longest-running prime time series in American TV history at 28 seasons. It now trails only Gunsmoke—which aired a whopping 635 episodes during its 20-season run on CBS from 1955 to 1975—in terms of the most episodes.

As big as those numbers are, however, they positively pale in comparison to CBS's daytime soap opera Guiding Light, which (according to Wikipedia) aired a staggering 18,262 episodes over the course of 57 seasons from 1952 to 2009. [deadline.com, 10/16/16; wikipedia.com]