Did Abraham Lincoln spout the s-word? Did his colleagues use the f-word? Steven Spielberg's film places those foul words (and others) into the mouths of its historical characters. But James McPherson, a Lincoln biographer and consultant on the movie, says, "The profanity actually bothered me, especially Lincoln's use of it. It struck me as completely unlikely—a modern injection into Lincoln's rhetoric." The Hollywood Reporter reports that McPherson says he emailed his objections to the screenwriter after reading an early draft, "but I see that that language made it in the movie anyhow." David Barton, who has appeared as a history expert on Fox News, CNN and other outlets, furthers McPherson's point by saying, "There are records of [Lincoln] confronting military generals if he heard about them cursing. Furthermore, the f-word used by [W.N.] Bilbo was virtually nonexistent in that day and it definitely would not have been used around Lincoln. If Lincoln had heard it, it is certain that he would instantly have delivered a severe rebuke." [hollywoodreporter.com, 12/5/12]
"[The label] made me change a couple of things on [my last album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans] and I felt disgusted about that. I didn't do that on this album. If I can't be me doing it, I'm not going to have any fun. If I'm changing things around because people might think it's a hard pill to swallow—like, 'Wait a minute, this isn't the Bruno we know'—then I'm going to feel like a circus clown onstage, selling something fake."
—singer Bruno Mars, on what Billboard magazine characterizes as 'darker, edgier lyrical themes' on his forthcoming album Unorthodox Jukebox (which arrives in stores this week) [Billboard, 10/6/12]
Actress Vanessa Hudgens recently told the Canadian magazine Glow that her participation in a three-way sex scene in a swimming pool with co-stars James Franco and Ashley Benson in the forthcoming film Spring Breakers was "very nerve-racking for me. I told my agent that I never want to do it ever again."
Meanwhile, Glee star Lea Michele is more than happy to continue exploiting her body for fame. After doing scantily clad photo shoots for the likes of GQ, she talked about her breasts in the current issue of Marie Claire: "These babies are great. They are my prizewinners. … So I'm going to continue to give them more opportunities." [dailymail.co.uk, 11/15/12; foxnews.com, 12/10/12]
Singer Katy Perry has ignited a firestorm with comments she made during her acceptance speech for Billboard magazine's Woman of the Year Award. She said, "I'm not a feminist, but I do believe in the power of women."
Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams responded in an article, "Let me just point out that if you believe in the strength of women, Ms. Perry, or their equality, you're soaking in feminism." Jezebel.com's Madeleine Davies added, "The ignorance and ridiculousness of Perry's comments—especially in the context of accepting the Woman of the Year award—is enough to set the teeth of any feminist on edge." Atlantic contributor Noah Berlatsky, in contrast, believes Perry's stated aversion to feminism has less to do with being 'ignorant' and more to do with avoiding a label that might hinder sales: "One reason Perry and other public figures may forswear feminism, of course, is because feminism is controversial; embracing it may irritate fans."
Noted feminist Camille Paglia blasted not just Perry, but also Taylor Swift. "Despite the passage of time since second-wave feminism erupted in the late 1960s, we've somehow been thrown back to the demure girly-girl days of the white-bread 1950s," she says. She then acknowledges one big difference: "Most striking about Perry, however, is the yawning chasm between her fresh, flawless 1950s girliness, bedecked in cartoonish floral colors, and the overt raunch of her lyrics, with their dissipated party scenes. Perry's enormous commercial success actually reflects the tensions and anxieties that are afflicting her base audience. … As a glance at any suburban high school prom these days will show, there has been a vast increase in sexually revealing, super-adult clothing among middle-class girls. Yet most seem curiously unaware of the erotic charge of their racy regalia, which has become as standard issue as army fatigues. Sex is already routine in a hooking-up culture. Whatever sex represents to this generation of affluent white girls, it doesn't mean rebellion or leaving the protective umbrella of hovering parents." [theatlantic.com, 12/12; hollywoodreporter.com, 12/6/12]
"Last month voters approved the Washington [marijuana legalization] initiative and a similar one in Colorado by surprisingly healthy margins of about 10 points in both states, in contrast with a California legalization measure that lost by seven points two years ago," writes Jacob Sullum in his Daily Beast article "With Pot as With Gay Marriage, Familiarity Breeds Tolerance." "The change in opinion about marijuana in some ways resembles the trend in attitudes toward gay marriage, which also scored landmark victories in last month's elections, winning approval from voters in three states. … A CBS News poll conducted a few weeks ago found that 72% of 18-to-29-year-olds supported gay marriage, compared to 53% of 30-to-44-year-olds, 44% of 45-to-64-year-olds, and 33% of respondents who were 65 or older. Support for legalizing marijuana, which was 47% overall (another record), was 54%, 53%, 46%, and 30%, respectively, in those four age groups. While these patterns could be read to mean that people become more conservative on these issues as they become older, the upward trends in overall support show something else is going on: Familiarity is breeding tolerance. Just as an individual's attitude toward gay people depends to a large extent on how many he knows (or, more to the point, realizes he knows), his attitude toward pot smokers (in particular, his opinion about whether they should be treated like criminals) is apt to be influenced by his firsthand experience with them." [thedailybeast.com, 12/6/12]
How much do university students use their mobile phones these days? According to new research from Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, most students interact with their phones about seven hours daily, including sending an average of 109.5 texts, receiving 113 texts and checking their phones 60 times. James Roberts, Baylor professor and author of the book Materialism 2.0, says of the findings, "At first glance, one might have the tendency to dismiss [this level of] mobile phone use as merely youthful nonsense—a passing fad. But an emerging body of literature has given increased credence to cell phone addiction and similar behavioral addictions." [dailymail.co.uk, 12/1/12 stats]
Among social network users of all ages, the average female user spends 18 hours and 20 minutes monthly on such sites, compared to about 13 hours for males. Among 18- to 24-year-olds of both genders, those numbers rise to 21 hours monthly, with 25- to 34-year-olds close behind at 20 hours. [Nielsen/NM Incite; usatoday.com, 12/3/12; AP, 12/3/12 stats]
About 41% of tablet owners and 38% of smartphone owners tweet at least once a day while sitting in front of the television. And the channels they're watching may soon know exactly when they're doing it—or anything else in the family room. Verizon has patented a new DVR that monitors what you're doing while watching TV and sends you targeted ads that, presumably, fit your immediate activities. And the phone company is not even the first to create and patent this sort of device. Comcast has patented similar technology, and Google TV has proposed another patent for something that would use audio and video recorders to monitor how many people are watching a given show. [usatoday.com, 12/3/12; AP, 12/3/12; arstechnica.com, 12/3/12]