Robin Thicke's explicit, nudity-filled video for his No. 1 hit "Blurred Lines" earned a quick YouTube ban when it debuted recently. And it looked as if Justin Timberlake would receive the same treatment for his similarly explicit video for the song "Tunnel Vision," which features uncensored topless models throughout. In a surprise move, however, YouTube greenlighted the video, with a spokesperson telling ABC News, "While our guidelines generally prohibit nudity, we make exceptions when it is presented in an educational, documentary or artistic context, and take care to add appropriate warnings and age-restrictions." [huffingtonpost.com, 7/7/13]
Discovery's new reality show Naked and Afraid is generating lots of media buzz due to its seemingly racy premise: plunking a man and woman down in the wilderness, naked, to survive for 21 days. The show's executive producer Denise Contis insists that it's not intended to be titillating. "We didn't develop the show to be exploitative, ever." Some reviewers seem to agree that the show ultimately isn't as sexy as its suggestive title hints. Salon's Willa Paskin writes, "Naked and Afraid is not, however, some Playboy bunny version of Castaway. … On-screen nudity has rarely been less sexual, but it's also rarely been used as brazenly to sell a show. Anyone coming to Naked and Afraid for titillation—or camp or absurdity or over-the-topness, all things suggested by the title and premise—will find, instead, a focus on the difficulty and spirituality of the experience." Others, though, have observed that the show's near-constant nudity (genitals and breasts are pixelated while bare rears aren't) is impossible to ignore. "The contestants stop worrying about their nakedness so quickly because there are a h‑‑‑ of a lot of other things to fear. Like dying. All the time. The same can't be said for the viewer, however. You'd think that after 42 minutes of it, you'd become desensitized to seeing the butts. But you don't. You just don't," said The Daily Beast's Kevin Fallon. [salon.com, 6/21-23/13; thedailybeast.com, 7/2/13]
An upcoming episode of the live-action Disney Channel series Good Luck Charlie will reportedly feature a same-sex couple, a first for the children's network. TV Guide reports that the recently filmed episode is set to air in early 2014. It will revolve around Charlie (a preschooler) having a playdate with a friend who has two mothers. A Disney Channel spokesman said of the episode's potentially controversial content, "This particular storyline was developed under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisors. Like all Disney Channel programming, it was developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness." [tvguide.com, 6/20/13]
A New York City eatery that was often featured on HBO's Sex and the City is now indulging its carnal appetites with another explicit cable series, Dexter. The Magnolia Bakery is paying homage to the gruesome Showtime hit with a $4 red velvet cupcake festooned with caramel "blood" and sugar shaped like broken glass. [time.com, 6/25/13]
"Relient K is having an identity crisis. Every Christian kid has one. Gone are the power chords of their early work, the chamber flourishes of their late-career albums, and, perhaps most conspicuously, all but one reference to their Christian faith. Matt Thiessen and company, long beloved for their wide-eyed innocence and mischievous sense of humor, are barely recognizable on Collapsible Lung, a record frontloaded with generic dance-pop tracks co-penned by associates of Lady Gaga, Cee Lo Green, and Bruno Mars. Call it Switchfoot Syndrome: as commercial viability rises, references to faith are obfuscated, then excised completely. The men of Relient K have not completely forsaken their Savior on Collapsible Lung, but they've traded their trademark songs about faith's joys and struggles for synth-heavy tracks about casual sex and barhopping."
—consequenceofsound.net music reviewer Randall Colburn, in his review of Relient K's new album Collapsible Lung [consequenceofsound.net, 7/2/13]
"When people say 'Good teacher,' 'Prophet,' 'Really nice guy,' … this is not how Jesus thought of Himself. So you're left with a challenge in that, which is either Jesus was who He said He was or a complete and utter nut case. And I believe that Jesus was, you know, the Son of God. … [But] if I could be so bold, [we] need to be really, really respectful to people who find that ridiculous."
—U2 frontman Bono, in an interview with Focus on the Family president Jim Daly [religionnews.com, 6/21/13]
"It's not that I didn't know God or didn't have a relationship or an understanding of God. I knew the Lord, I just hated Him. There was a feud and a grudge match because I felt He broke a promise we had and broke my trust. I would choose to ignore Him. [In my football days] 'The Boz' was born, my pride became more than my agreement with God. That was me telling Him I didn't need Him anymore, and being boastful of all the gifts I had. You have to be humble and ask Him for courage and wisdom, but I put me first and God last. I allowed people to guide me and my arrogance. [I used] my ignorance to play through the pain and getting a call that my career was over started my feud with God."
—former NFL linebacker Brian Bosworth, who says he was finally "saved" while promoting Revelation Road, a faith-based apocalyptic film in which he stars. The movie was released earlier this year, and Revelation Road 2 will be released next month. [foxnews.com, 7/2/13]
"You have to sort of let them make some of their own decisions. Me, personally, I would love to be with him all the time and to be able to ground him and deal with his problems and do all of that stuff, but at some point the parenting style changes. I hope to still be a respected voice in his ear."
—Pattie Mallette, speaking about the recently alleged bad behavior of her famous son, Justin Bieber [AP, 7/3/13]
"I went to Jimmy Gandolfini's funeral, and when I was there I realized Jimmy Gandolfini didn't have Twitter. Jimmy Gandolfini was so beloved as a person, and he was so admired as an actor, and he didn't give a f‑‑‑ about social media. I really learned a lesson at the funeral. I said to myself, 'This is all a waste of time.' Meaning it's fun sometimes, but less and less and less. It's just another chink in your armor for people to come and kill you. I stopped and said to myself, 'I'm going to try where I just don't do this anymore.'"
—actor Alec Baldwin, who recently went on a profanity-laced Twitter rant after a reporter said that his wife, Hilaria, had been tweeting during Gandolfini's funeral [today.com, 6/28/13-7/3/13]
Studies show that patients seeking help for harming themselves by way of cutting have doubled in the last three years, and some wonder whether increased exposure in the media is making it worse. Clips of people committing acts of self-harm can easily be found on YouTube, and celebrities like Demi Lovato and Angelina Jolie have talked publicly about their struggles with cutting. Often, these stars go public to help people. But "when people start talking about triggers and wanting to self-harm or wanting to die, it can become contagious," says Nancy Gordan, a therapist who specializes in these issues. A self-professed cutter named Mary adds, "Subconsciously, every time you look at something, it's a trigger that makes you want to do it more and more." [abcactionnews.com, 7/1/13]
Eminem has admitted he nearly died of a prescription drug overdose back in 2005. In a segment of the new documentary How to Make Money Stealing Drugs, the rapper said of his descent into addiction, "I don't know at what point exactly it started to be a problem. I just remember liking it more and more." At first, he said, "I literally thought I could control [my drug problem]." But his addiction to prescription drugs such as Vicodin, Valium and Xanax spiraled out of control, to the point at which he says he was near death when he overdosed. "Had I got to the hospital about two hours later, I would have died. My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything. They were gonna have to put me on dialysis, they didn't think I was gonna make it. My bottom was gonna be death." [today.com, 6/28/13; rollingstone.com, 6/29/13]