Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Selena Gomez, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Thirty Seconds to Mars and One Direction all walked away with their hands full of statuettes at this year's MTV Video Music Awards. But TV audiences walked away with an eyeful thanks to Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. Here are a few excerpts from today.com contributor Anna Chan's description: "It was Miley Cyrus who turned things embarrassingly raunchy. Crotch grabbing … stripping and gyrations worthy of a strip club … prancing around in flesh-toned latex bra and panties. … [And] things got even dirtier when Robin Thicke joined her on stage." It's saying something that not even Lady Gaga's typical titillation came close. [cbsnews.com, 8/25/13; thegrio.com, 8/26/13]
"I liked it right away. It's an earworm, that bass and those vocal licks stick with you right off the bat. I was as impressed with the track as I was with the video."
—Growing Pains patriarch Alan Thicke, complimenting his son Robin's "Blurred Lines" song, the video for which boasts lengthy scenes focused on topless women, while the lyrics of which have prompted pundits to call its themes "rapey" [digitalspy.com, 8/22/13]
Two weeks after the 2013 Teen Choice Awards, pundits are still talking about the unexpectedly down-to-earth advice Ashton Kutcher offered up during his acceptance speech for his Ultimate Choice Award. "I believe that opportunity looks a lot like work," he said. "When I was 13 I had my first job with Dad carrying shingles to the roof, and then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant, and then I got a job in a grocery store deli, and then I got a job in a factory sweeping Cheerios dust off the ground. And I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job, and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work." [washingtonpost.com 8/19/13; teenchoiceawards.com]
"If one person had used something I had written as the justification for killing somebody, I'd say, 'God, people are crazy.' But if three people used something I had written as justification, I would be very, very troubled by it."
—playwright John Guare, in the trailer for the upcoming documentary Salinger, which examines the life and work of the late reclusive author J.D. Salinger. Salinger's classic novel The Catcher in the Rye, which delves into themes of teenage heartache and alienation, became a favorite book of three men with murder on their minds: Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon in 1980, then read Catcher at the scene until police arrived; the book also was found in John Hinkley Jr.'s hotel room after he tried to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981; and Robert John Bardo was carrying a copy when he murdered actress Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989. [youtube.com]
The fourth season premiere of A&E's Duck Dynasty drew 11.8 million viewers on Aug. 14—the most ever for a reality cable show and the highest numbers for any show on TV (cable or broadcast) that week. With numbers like that, it could go on to trump even AMC's heavyweight The Walking Dead as the most popular show of any kind on cable. Los Angeles Times contributor Mary McNamara observes, "The miracle of the show, and the [Robertson] family, is that they are at once quite sincere about who they are and very much in on their own joke. … Too often these days, we are told we must choose between the simple truths and sophistication. 'Duck Dynasty' proves you can have both." [today.com, 8/21/13; latimes.com, 8/22/13]
Just days after 16-year-old Hannah Anderson was rescued from abductor James Lee DiMaggio (who killed her mother and 8-year-old brother), she was answering questions online—a move that many found strange. Why open up on the Internet, of all places, so soon after such a traumatic event? Her response: "I connect to [my friends] through Facebook and Instagram—it just helps me grieve, like, post pictures and to show how I'm feeling. And I'm a teenager. I'm gonna go on it." [AP, 8/21/13]
"Nothing says 'I've resigned myself to all the dreary bits of adulthood; never again will I gurgle with childish joy at some delightful sight in nature; there is no such thing as magic' quite as clearly as the decision to make oneself a LinkedIn. … Now, the [professional-networking site has] taken a step to limit the tender glimmer of childhood even more: they're opening LinkedIn to 14-year-olds in America and 13-year-olds in the rest of the world. … While it's nice to equip young children with the proper tools for forging their own futures—and tweens are very good at Internet-stalking, so this is pretty user-friendly—the idea of a 14-year-old networking with a variety of adults who have followed 'diverse professional paths' makes me want to set up a shrine to the lost Spirit of Youth. Upon it, I will place a lanyard, a Frisbee, and like 12 troll dolls. RIP adolescence."
—jezebel.com contributor Callie Beusman [jezebel.com, 8/19/13]
According to the U.S. Postal Service, greeting card mailings dropped by 24% between 2002 and 2010, and they're still declining. Market research firm IBISWorld reported that the sale of traditional cards fell by 60% over the last decade. And American Greetings, the No. 2 paper card maker in the country, reports that its stock is worth 65% less than it was in 1998. The company told The Wall Street Journal that it still had millions of American customers, but "the average customer is in their 40s." [nytimes, 8/21/13 stats]
"The heavily guarded truth was that I exercised a minimum of two hours a day, seven days a week. … My big diet staple was four to six cups of black coffee per day, avoiding even a splash of skim milk since I was terrified of extra calories. My teeth gradually yellowed from all the coffee, nicotine and worn enamel caused by bile (from stomach acidity due to all the starvation and even vomiting). … One morning, I was sent to the emergency room with heart palpitations and an irregular heartbeat—a culmination of 20 years of starvation. Turns out I'd created three holes in my heart and I needed an emergency ablation surgery. In your letter you said you'd 'die to look like [me].' Well that's almost what I did." ―former supermodel Carré Otis, in an essay published in Australia's Herald Sun. She was responding to a young woman's question about how to achieve the '80s model's "signature style." [foxnews.com, 8/21/13]
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reports that, "As television has become increasingly inclusive―including a record high percentage of LGBT characters in the 2012-2013 broadcast season―the film industry is lagging behind." The group's "2013 Studio Responsibility Index" finds that of the 101 films from the six major studios in 2012, only 14 included characters who were clearly identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual; none were transgendered. [nytimes.com, 8/21/13]