Every Halloween, ABC airs the 1966 classic It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. And Buzz Bishop isn't exactly happy about that. He writes for the website dad-camp.com, "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was [once] a slice of Americana. … [But] the show is riddled with the kids calling each other stupid, dumb, and blockheads. There is continuous teasing and bullying. Charlie Brown is supposed to be the hero, instead he is kicked and demeaned at every turn. … Time marches on, opinions and attitudes evolve and change. Some things are better left in the past, it's time for new classics. New themes and specials for a modern holiday. When It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is on tv this week or next, skip it." [blogs.babble.com, 10/20/12; dad-camp.com, 10/20/12; moms.today.com, 10/24/12]
Kirk Hammett, lead guitarist for Metallica, is also a horror memorabilia connoisseur. So much so that he's recently written a book titled Too Much Horror Business—The Kirk Hammett Collection. In an interview with Guitar World, the Metallica ax-slinger said, "For a while I was collecting Satan and devil stuff—you know, anything that had to do with old Beelzebub or Lucifer. But I had to put the brakes on it, because there's a lot of stuff out there, and the collection was just growing too quickly." [Guitar World, 12/12]
A new official presidential campaign ad featuring actress Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO's sexually graphic show Girls, suggestively compares voting to losing one's virginity. Among other things in the ad, Dunham says, "Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy. … Someone who really cares about and understands women; a guy who cares whether you get health insurance and specifically whether you get birth control. The consequences are huge." As the ad closes, she coyly concludes, "My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. Before, I was a girl. Now, I was a woman. I went to the polling station, I pulled back the curtain, I voted." [dailymail.co.uk, 10/26/12; huffingtonpost.com, 10/26/12]
The government of Lebanon isn't pleased with the way its capital city, Beirut, is depicted in a recent episode of Showtime's Emmy-winning series Homeland. In fact, government representatives are considering legal action. The episode in question, "Beirut Is Back," features armed gunmen terrifying bystanders in a shabby urban area that is supposed to represent downtown Beirut. In reality the country has spent more than 20 years trying to reestablish its once-envied image as "the Paris of the Middle East" following the devastating civil war there from 1975 to 1990. Thus, Lebanon officials state that the dirty, dangerous streets Homeland shows don't accurately reflect the thoroughly modern vibe of the city, which even includes Western-style shopping districts. [telegraph.co.uk, 10/18/12; cbsnews.com, 10/22/12 c&e]
"For Christians, I think [Trade of Innocents] will wake people up to realize that slavery isn't dead and gone, and that its most unseen, unheard and vulnerable victims are little children, who were always close to Christ's heart. … There is a great deal more that we Americans can do to stop it than we are doing right now."
—Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, talking with Christianity Today about her latest film, Trade of Innocents, which tackles the subject of sex trafficking [christiaintytoday.com, 10/3/12]
Seventy-one-year-old folk troubadour Bob Dylan recently released his 35th studio album, Tempest, and sat down to talk about it in a wide-ranging interview with Rolling Stone magazine. When Mikal Gilmore observed, "Clearly, the language of the Bible still provides imagery in your songs," Dylan replied, "Of course, what else could there be? I believe in the book of Revelation." Then he added, "There's truth in all books. In some kind of way. Confucius, Sun Tzu, Marcus Aurelius, the Koran, the Torah, the New Testament, the Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Egyptian Book of the Dead. You can't go through life without reading some kind of book." When asked, "Has your sense of faith changed?" Dylan replied, "Certainly it has, O ye of little faith. Who's to say that I even have any faith or what kind? I see God's hand in everything. Every person, place and thing, every situation. I mean, we can have faith in just about anything. … You can tell whether other people have faith or no faith by the way they behave, by the s‑‑‑ that comes out of their mouths. A little faith can go a long ways. It's the right thing for people to have. When we have little else, that will do. But it takes a while to acquire it. You just got to keep looking." [Rolling Stone, 9/27/12]
"I'm calling [my new album] Jesus Piece 'cause last year in August I got baptized and so I've been going to church, but I still been kinda doing me out here. I still love the strip club, and I still smoke and drink. I'm faithful to my family, so I wanted to make an album where you could love God and be of God but still get it poppin' in your life."
—rapper Jayceon Taylor (aka Game). In a separate interview with Vibe, he added, "I'm a Christian but I'm not 'holier than thou.' Jesus Piece gives me an opportunity to speak about situations that people like me who love God but are still street and still wanna remain themselves without going the Pastor Mase route. It gives the opportunity to know that it's somebody out there that feels them. … You can still have swag and be a Christian. … You can still have your Ciroc in the club, it's just a faith thing and making sure you try to do right. I'm still a father, I still smoke, I still rep Compton, I still might shoot dice or have a fight if I have to defend myself." [sohh.com, 10/21/12; vibe.com, 8/27/12]
A Gallup poll released Oct. 18 indicates that 3.4% of people in America identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. That information is based on 121,290 interviews conducted between June and September of this year. Gallup pollsters asked respondents, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?" Among other responses, 92.2% said no, while 4.4% said they didn't know or refused to answer the question. Women, younger people and nonwhites were more likely than men, older people or whites to identify themselves as LGBT. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 6.4% answered the question affirmatively. Gallup describes this research as "the largest single study of the distribution of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population in the U.S. on record." [gallup.com, 10/18/12 stats]
The first-week tally is not yet final for Taylor Swift's fourth studio album, Red, but projections based on first-day sales (which tend to be fairly accurate) show that Red is likely to sell between 1.1 and 1.2 million units. That means Swift will join a very short list of artists who have had consecutive albums sell 1 million or more first-week units. Only 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys and Eminem have accomplished that feat since the Nielsen SoundScan era began in 1991. [hitsdailydouble.com, 10/24/12 stats]
Cloud Atlas, an ambitious film from the creators of The Matrix, has been described as the most expensive independent film ever made, with an estimated price tag of $100 million. But the nearly three-hour film spanning five centuries and six separate-but-reincarnation-linked stories has joined John Carter and Battleship on 2012's ever-growing list of big-budget flops, making just $9.4 million in its opening weekend and finishing third behind Argo and Hotel Transylvania. It's star Tom Hanks' lowest big-screen bow since 1996's That Thing You Do! [boxofficemojo.com, 10/28/12 stats]