Bond is back. Skyfall, the 23rd (official) entry in the 50-year-old superspy film franchise, raked in $88.4 million from North American moviegoers during its weekend debut here—a record for the series. Add international monies, and Skyfall's tally to date is already north of $500 million. In his slate.com retrospective on the history of the film franchise and the books by author Ian Fleming, Isaac Chotiner said of the suave secret agent's timeless—and multicultural—appeal, "It would be easy to say that when Ian Fleming began writing his novels, during Britain's austere postwar years, he was canny enough to realize that an exhausted citizenry would enjoy tales of Savile Row suits, fine food, and luxurious travel. And yet, more than 60 years later, with Bond insanely popular everywhere from India to America, the urge for the same fantasy remains, amid boom times as well as austerity. Bond's MI6 has the pseudonym 'Universal Exports,' and if there are three things that can sell anywhere on the globe, anytime, they are sex, violence, and consumer goods." [eonline.com, 11/10/12; boxofficemojo.com, 11/12/12; slate.com, 11/5/12 stats]
"I've skimmed parts of [Fifty Shades of Grey.] … It's just so raunchy! I mean, obviously, everyone knows that. But when I see people reading it on planes and stuff, I'm genuinely creeped out. Like, you're basically just reading porn right now!"
—Twilight star Kristen Stewart, in an interview with backstage.com [backstage.com, 11/8/12]
"I see, in the ongoing conversation about Bella and Katniss, our culture pondering whether [young adult] novels support the strong daughters we all want to raise. But as we debate ad nauseam whether, for example, Bella Swan is a dangerous role model for young women, we've neglected to ask the corresponding question: what does it tell young men when Edward Cullen and Jacob Black are the role models available to them? Are these barely-contained monsters really the best we can imagine? The contemporary uncertainty towards young men snaps into focus when we compare recent texts to their literary ancestors—nineteenth-century novels for young readers. Hope Leslie, Jo's Boys, Northwood, The Lamplighter: these novels heralded the end of boyhood as a happy ending, the beginning of a triumphant journey into a powerful manhood. But today's YA boys approach their manhood with trepidation. And they should. The adult men who populate YA fictional worlds are often careless, corrupt, incompetent—sometimes even cruel—and only rarely kind. Why is it that in YA literature—a genre generated entirely to describe the transition to adulthood—there is so much fear and ambivalence surrounding manhood? When I read contemporary young adult novels, I see them asking over and over again a fascinating question, a question both for boys and for the stories describing them: are there any good men? And how can a boy become a good man, if he doesn't know what that would mean?"
—Sarah Mesle, a Mellon Fellow in English at UCLA, from her Los Angeles Review of Books article "YA Fiction and the End of Boys" [lareviewofbooks.org, 11/8/12]
"It's like a dream come true. I would rather be here than anywhere in the world."
—Justin Bieber, regarding his participation in CBS' Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on Nov. 8. A day later, various entertainment press outlets reported that Bieber, 18, and his girlfriend, actress/singer Selena Gomez, 20, had broken up. [AP, 11/8/12; eonline.com, 11/9/12]
Singer Lady Gaga: "I was acutely aware of some photos on the internet—my mum called me and was like, 'Did you gain weight?'—everybody was telling me about it, and I didn't really care. But when I heard it was on the news, where they talk about wars, the economy crashing and the election—I just thought, 'This is f‑‑‑ing ridiculous.' I mean, what kind of example is that to a young girl sitting at home? I thought, well I don't really care if they think I'm fat, because, quite honestly, I did gain about 30 pounds. Adele is bigger than me, how come nobody says anything about it? She's so wonderful and I think her confidence is something I have to match. She has set the bar very high for a lot of woman."
Newswoman and talk show host Katie Couric: "I wrestled with bulimia all through college and for two years after that. And I know this rigidity, this feeling that if you eat one thing that's wrong, you're full of self-loathing and then you punish yourself, whether it's one cookie or a stick of gum that isn't sugarless, that I would sometimes beat myself up for that."
Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger: "I did it every day for, like, years. Every time I had a second to be alone, I was doing something to myself. … I just hated myself. I hated myself. I really was so disgusted with myself and so embarrassed. I felt so alone. I was in a group, and I never felt so alone in my life. … My bulimia was my addiction; hurting myself was my addiction." [stylist.co.uk, usmagazine.com, 11/2/12; theclicker.today.com, 9/24/12; eonline.com, 10/5/12]
"I would never do it again and I never recommend it for anyone. I was definitely way in over my head. … I kind of wanted a few enhancements and then it kind of got out of hand. I wasn't told really the repercussions and what would happen, emotionally and psychically and the pain I would be in. I was kind of in shock."
—former reality TV star Heidi Montag, who recently talked with Access Hollywood Live about the 10 plastic surgery procedures she had simultaneously in 2010. She adds, "I just focus now on being healthy, alive and strong. If you're not beautiful inside it really doesn't matter what you look like outside, and I think I kind of lost track of that. … I should have just been reflecting on my heart." [today.com, 10/18/12]
"Many girls [today] are already very unhappy, I have seen how it is perpetuated by the media, so by sharing my workshops with girls, I can help them defend themselves against the media's mission to derail them by brainwashing them into believing their purpose is to be skinny, sexy and shopaholics. I know in my heart that the majority of girls' dreams are not really to be professionally pretty (aka model). That idea was planted in their minds. I want to help girls remember their true dreams."
—model-turned-director Nicole Clark, who recently helmed the documentary Cover Girl Culture, which aims to equip adolescents with discernment tools to identify media's damaging messages to tweens and teens [foxnews.com, 10/19/12]
"Even if the cultures are different, a human being usually sees the same thing and feels a similar type of enjoyment. When you see Niagara Falls, you're going to feel the same thing. It's grand, and it's amazing. So, I think, what's already been proven and tested in Korea, will work here."
—singer PSY, whose massive culture-crossing hit "Gangnam Style" is currently at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has racked up a mind-boggling 711 million views since its YouTube debut on July 15. Based on our periodic observation (which closely aligns with a statistic published by Forbes in September), the video continues to tack on upwards of 15 million views per day. [Billboard, 11/3/12; youtube.com, 11/12/12 stats]