"The famous quote by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late senator from New York—'You're entitled to your own opinions. You're not entitled to your own facts'—has been cited so many times this election season, it's close to becoming the official slogan of the campaign trail. … But Moynihan's line is out of date. The truth is, we now get to have our own opinions and our own facts. Moynihan came from an age before the TV market fractured into thousands of channels and the Internet created millions of new voices. … The newest phenomenon [is] competing sets of 'scientific' opinion polls. … Polls, loathsome as they are, were until recently a last bastion of objective reality. Now, thanks to America's increasingly massive complex of dueling partisan think tanks, no matter where you are on the political spectrum, the informational infrastructure exists for you to build a completely tailored media universe where you won't ever hear anything—not even a poll—that contradicts your point of view. … America is becoming like an untreatable paranoic narcissist—you can't tell us anything, because we only hear the parts we like."
—Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi, from his article "The End of Reality" [Rolling Stone, 11/8/12]
Star Wars creator George Lucas surprised many in the entertainment industry with the Oct. 30 announcement that he's selling his privately owned company, Lucasfilm, to Disney for $4.05 billion—a bit more than the Mouse House paid for Marvel Comics in 2009 and about half of what it paid for Pixar in 2006. Lucas said of the decision, "For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. … Having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come." Lucas intends to donate the majority of the money from the deal to "his philanthropic endeavors" (according to a Lucasfilm statement), which include two education-focused foundations. Disney indicates that a new Star Wars theatrical release, Episode VII, will hit theaters in 2015. [ew.com, 10/30-31/12; foxnews.com, 11/2/12]
"The reboot is slated for a late-2013 release … provided, of course, that the world doesn't end first."
—Entertainment Weekly contributor Grady Smith, relaying news that Stoney Lake Entertainment is rebooting the Left Behind franchise for another go in theaters, starting next year. Nicolas Cage's name has been floated for the starring role. [Entertainment Weekly, 11/2/12]
Ten-year-old Jason Hall, who shot and killed his father in Riverside, Calif., in May 2011, has admitted he got the idea after watching an episode of Criminal Minds that paralleled his situation. In a videotaped interview with detectives that was shown at his trial, Hall said, "A bad father did something to his kids, and the kid did the exact same thing I did—he shot him. … He told the truth and wasn't arrested and the cops believed him. He wasn't in trouble or anything. I thought maybe the exact same thing would happen to me." [AP, 11/1/12; c&e]
Two men accused of plowing into pedestrians with a stolen car have reportedly compared the experience to the popular video game Grand Theft Auto. The men, 19-year-old Vincent Anderson and 27-year-old Marcus Jones, allegedly drove a stolen car into a group of joggers, hitting three of them. Videos from the suspects' phones indicate that Jones and Anderson thought the experience was "fun," just like the game. None of the joggers were seriously hurt. [foxnews.com, 10/29/12]
"When [Kurt Cobain] died and left that note, it struck a deep chord inside of me. It f‑‑‑ed with me."
—rock icon Neil Young, writing in his newly published autobiography Waging Heavy Peace, on feeling devastated after learning that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain had included Young's famous line "It's better to burn out than to fade away" in his 1994 suicide note [Rolling Stone, 10/11/12]
"The first job of the movie is to entertain," says Don Cheadle, who is currently starring in Flight. "If a movie is perceived as being a 'message movie,' then a lot of times people shy away from it." Still, screenwriter John Gatins says he hopes the movie's messages about the destructive power of alcoholism might nevertheless influence audiences as well entertain them. "Some people will probably think it's some dogmatic, proselytizing movie," he says. "That was not the intention. I hope you laugh, I hope you enjoy it. And if some people come away thinking, 'Wow, I need to hold up the mirror,' then what a great offshoot of that." [Entertainment Weekly, 11/2/12]
Nick Jr. has introduced a segment of television shows catering not to toddlers and tykes, as is the channel's propensity, but to their mothers. It's called "NickMom," and the Parents Television Council says it "comprises [among other things] the raunchy 'comedy' Parental Discretion and What Was Carol Brady Thinking?, a Brady Bunch rerun which inserts insipid 'thought bubbles' above Carol Brady's head." The shows flaunt profanity and, oddly, anti-kid jokes.
But, of course, parents aren't the only ones watching. Littler eyes are glued too. And it doesn't help that the 10 p.m. Eastern Time programming block starts at 7 p.m. on the West Coast. When a set of irate parents from Arizona contacted Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, host of Parental Discretion, she responded, "For some reason they [Nick] decided to not have two separate feeds (like most late night shows). I don't understand that decision at all and would probably be upset if my child was watching this type of show. The only thing I can suggest is to supervise your son while he's watching TV." [azfamily.com, 10/15/12; parentstv.org, 10/12/12]
Is the computer company Apple more religion than retail? Anthropologist Kirsten Bell of the University of British Columbia answers by examining the organization's "sacred symbols" (specifically, the trademark apple), the fact that it was started by a charismatic, revered leader, and that becoming an Apple adherent involves some "coercive persuasion of thought reform." She points to the heavily covered Apple launches as an example. "Like many Sacred Ceremonies, the Apple Product Launch cannot be broadcast live," she writes. "The Scribes [and] tech journalists act as Witness, testifying to the wonders they behold via live blog feeds." Bell also suggests that Apple engages in another (what she calls) religious practice, which is "economic, sexual and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the rulers." [zdnet.com, 10/25/12]
Last week we relayed predictions that Taylor Swift's new album Red would sell more than 1 million copies in its first week. Here are the final numbers: 1.21 million units. That's the biggest musical sales week since Eminem's The Eminem Show sold 1.3 million copies in its 2002 debut. Huge sales notwithstanding, however, Swift walked away empty-handed at the 2012 Country Music Association Awards on Nov. 1. Instead, country power couple Blake Shelton (who's recently gotten a big visibility bump as one of the judges on NBC's The Voice) and wife Miranda Lambert were named Male and Female Vocalists of the year. Shelton also got the nod for the night's biggest award, Entertainer of the Year. Other winners included Little Big Town, Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Thompson Square, Mac McAnally and Hunter Hayes. [billboard.com, 10/30/12; cbsnews.com, 11/1/12]