Sports bars are typically filled with cheering fans on most Sundays during the NFL regular season. So you'd think that on Super Bowl Sunday, these same establishments would be packed to the rafters. Think again. According to national research agency Nielsen, only 1.5% of those surveyed planned to watch the event in a sports bar or restaurant. "The Super Bowl is in some ways an American holiday," says James Russo, senior vice president of global consumer insight at Nielsen. "It's gathering the friends and family around the at-home experience and all the other components that tie into that."
Not all of the "other components" are positive, of course, especially if you count the content that's beamed into your home. In 2004 it was Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction." Last year it was M.I.A. flashing a middle finger to the camera. This year's uncensored moment at the Super Bowl came courtesy of the winning team's quarterback. While hugging teammate Marshal Yanda after the game, Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco enthusiastically blurted, "This is f‑‑‑ing awesome!" CBS aired that obscenity live in front of an audience that will likely top 111 million viewers once final numbers are in. Indeed, preliminary estimates from the network suggest Super Bowl XLVII will be the most-watched live broadcast in history, topping last year's record Super Bowl audience of 111.3 million viewers. [time.com, 1/31/13; ew.com, 2/4/13; Reuters, 2/4/13 stats]
Families aren't just watching TV on Super Bowl Sunday. About 78% of us watch television every day. And when we do, we tend to watch a lot of it. People who flip on the TV end up watching about 3.5 hours of it, according to a survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. [theatlantic.com, 1/31/13 stats]
It's become much less expensive to own a television, with sets costing 91% less in real money than they did in 1998. But it's often far more expensive to actually use those fancy new flat screens, with cable and satellite services up 61% during that same time span. Want to drop cable and stream everything online? The average American spends between $300 and $350 per year for Internet access now—550% more than was typically spent in 1999. So those looking for an entertainment bargain might want to turn to the printed page: When factoring in inflation, the cost of books has remained steady since the late 1990s. (All this according to a survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.) [theatlantic.com, 1/31/13 stats]
Gilberto Valle—a New York City police officer who was arrested last October for plotting to kidnap, rape and cook women—was deeply impacted by the 1994 movie The Mask, according to his defense attorney. Valle saw the movie when he was 10 years old. Attorney Julia Gatto writes that Valle's disturbing fantasy life "appears to have originated with a scene in the move [sic] … in which [star] Cameron Diaz pretends to be abducted and bound." The letter continued, saying that "Mr. Valle reported that since early adolescence, he has experienced erotic arousal when imagining naked women or when imagining women abducted and bound by others." In college, Valle spent time viewing porn, eventually leading him into murkier corners of the Internet that proved to be a "gateway into cannibalism pornography." [nydailynews.com, 1/31/13 c&e]
In his written confession after killing his mother and sister (on Oct. 3, 2012), 17-year-old Jake Evans stated, "I started watching Rob Zombie's Halloween. In the movie a 12-year-old boy murders his stepfather, sister, and his sister's boyfriend. It was the third time this week that I watched it. … I was amazed at how at ease the boy was during the murders and how little remorse he had afterward. I was thinking to myself, it would be the same for me when I kill someone. … After I watched the movie I put it back in the case and threw it in the trashcan so that people wouldn't think that it influenced me in any way." [nydailynews.com, 1/26/13 c&e]
"I know that I have a younger following and I so appreciate that and I'm so thankful for that. But I did warn them in my best ability as I could. When I see the parents I'm like, Maybe [your children] don't go and see this one.'"
—Selena Gomez, discussing her upcoming R-rated movie Spring Breakers (also starring fellow former Disney starlet Vanessa Hudgens) at the Sundance Film Festival. She believes her older fans—those about the same age as she is (Gomez is 20)—will relate and take the film on its merits. "It's an art piece and it's real, it's so raw, and I think they're going to understand why I did it. I mean for the younger fans, maybe they'll wait a little bit, but I don't know. I think it was a good thing for me, and my fans were super supportive." [mtv.com, 1/31/13]
"I was newly 18, so yeah, it was, it's kind of a sensitive thing, but it's a part of life."
—Dakota Fanning, talking about Very Good Girls, which features her first nude movie scene. The movie documents the exploits of two girls (the other played by Elizabeth Olsen) in their quest to lose their virginity. [mtv.com, 1/31/13]
"There were just three girls in the family. LaVerne had a very low voice. Maxene's was kind of high, and I was in between. It was like God had given us voices to fit our parts."
—Patty Andrews, a member of the famous Andrews Sisters. Patty, the last living sister, died Jan. 29 at the age of 94. The Andrews Sisters, one of America's most popular singing acts for more than a decade, recorded more than 400 songs and sold more than 80 million records. The trio hit its apogee during World War II, entertaining American troops overseas, appearing in a number of movies and scoring its biggest hit, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." The sisters suffered an acrimonious split in 1952, then regrouped and re-split several times thereafter. But their legacy lives on through new generations discovering their music on iTunes … or Christina Aguilera paying homage to them in her sexed-up video for "Candyman." [foxnews.com, 1/30/13]
"For the most part, network television has avoided abortion. In the past 40 years 55 million babies have died in abortions, but only 16 television plots dealt with the subject. In more than half of those cases, the mother either ultimately chose to keep her baby or suffered a miscarriage before she could abort. And we know Hollywood doesn't avoid abortion because they're queasy about all controversial topics—single motherhood, teen sex, violence, and homosexuality have been plot staples for those same 40 years. You can joke openly about any of those topics—but not abortion. Television reflects the conflicted attitude of the American public. Abortion may be problematic, perhaps even tragic, but we aren't willing to make a moral judgment. Of course, the lack of judgment is judgment; the unwillingness to decide, a decision."
—Hannah R. Anderson, writing for thegospelcoalition.org after the airing of a recent episode of NBC's Parenthood in which a teen girl aborted her baby. About that episode, Anderson said, "Setting up the choice to abort as difficult and morally layered, as the Parenthood episode did, positions the woman—not the child—as the primary victim." [thegospelcoalition.org, 1/29/13]
"I'm successful because I'm pretty. It's easy to tell that story. Because it's honest and it's obvious."
—model Cameron Russell, on the uncomfortable role that privilege (the advantages we've been given, not earned) plays in her and other people's success. Russell, a Victoria's Secret model, appeared in a TEDx video that went viral, telling the world she's merely lucky so many men find tall, slender women attractive. [christianitytoday.com, 1/29/13]
"Women I admired growing up—Debra Winger, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep—were all beautiful and thin, but not too thin. There are a lot of actresses who are unhealthy-skinny—much, much too skinny. You can't Pilates to that. I'm a very small person, and if I lost 15 pounds, I'd look like them; it's scary. For young girls, what does that say? You need to look this way to be successful? That's not true. You do not need to look or be anorexic to be successful in Hollywood. The range of what's acceptable is larger than what people believe."
—actress Zooey Deschanel (New Girl, Your Highness, Elf), in an interview with Glamour magazine [Glamour, 2/13; foxnews.com, 1/3/13]