"I have to say that I'm disturbed and dismayed by the recent spate of overtly sexualised performances and videos. You know the ones I'm talking about. It seems obvious that certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment. As if the tidal wave of sexualised imagery wasn't already bombarding impressionable young girls enough. I believe in freedom of speech and expression, but the market forces don't give a toss about the notion of boundaries. As long as there's booty to make money out of, it will be bought and sold. It's depressing to see how these performers are so eager to push this new level of low. Their assumption seems to be that misogyny—utilised and displayed through oneself is totally fine, as long as you are the one creating it. As if it's all justified by how many millions of dollars and U tube hits you get from behaving like pimp and prostitute at the same time. It's a glorified and monetized form of self harm."
—British singer Annie Lennox, perhaps best known as half of the '80s New Wave group Eurythmics, writing on Facebook about the recent spate of bare-more videos from performers such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. The next day she added, "Is it appropriate for seven year olds to be thrusting their pelvises like pole dancers? I really don't think so. Boundaries need to be put in place so that young kids aren't barraged by market forces exploiting the 'normalisation' of explicit sex in under age entertainment." [facebook.com/annielennox, 10/5-6/13]
"Too many current movies for this fall are tinged, or rather stained, by too many studios releasing meaningless, empty stories that seem to be more porn-like than film-like. Making movies that glorify porn addicts, child molesters, necrophiliacs who kill in order to have sex later only contributes to the decay of the moral compass of society. Too many people in our society have become desensitized."
—media observer and contributor Nicole Clark, director of the documentary Cover Girl Culture [foxnews.com, 10/9/13]
British mega-singer Adele: "I no longer buy papers or tabloids or magazines or read blogs. I used to. But it was just filling up my day with hatred."
Star of the hit TV show New Girl Zooey Deschanel: "The Internet's like one big bathroom wall with a lot of people who anonymously can say really mean things." [blogs.villagevoice.com,10/8/13]
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles school district decided to spend $1 billion to give each of its students an iPad—650,000 in all. The devices were programmed to access educational sites only, but as early-adopter schools started handing them out, students immediately began cracking the district's security measures and spending much of their class time perusing Facebook and playing games. "They kind of should have known this would happen," said one student, Maria Aguilera. "We're high school students after all. I mean, come on." [yahoo.com, 10/7/13]
Makers of the Android advertising app Locket have compiled data on phone users' activities. Between peak hours of 5 and 8 p.m., when more than 75% of folks are the most active, an average phone owner checks his or her phone at least nine times an hour. And even during low-frequency hours (3 to 5 a.m.) the average only drops to four times an hour. That suggests that the average phone user checks his phone up to 110 times per day, with Locket reporting some individual tallies somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 times in a single day. [buzzfeed.com, 10/8/13 stats]
"That night my friend, Susie, made an interesting point. She confirmed that just like my daughters, hers was totally consumed with [an iPhone] update for several hours—first downloading the new software, then excitedly talking about it, sharing screen shots, and finally, we supposed, tweeting about it. 'It concerns me that their world seems to be all about 'what's new and improved,' Susie lamented. I nodded in agreement, but wasn't troubled until she said, 'I'm worried that our kids have lost the ability to remain enthusiastic about anything for any length of time—specifically their future spouses.' She paused. 'I feel like they're being raised in a world where it's common—no, expected—to continually 'trade up.'"
—Katie D. Anderson, writing for Parade magazine [parade.com, 10/7/13]
"We're reminding Americans what this country was founded on, Bible-toting, God-fearing men and women." Duck Dynasty star Si Robertson [foxnews.com, 9/24/13, 10/3/13]
On Oct. 10, Glee aired its first in-show acknowledgment of the death of Cory Monteith, the actor who had played Finn in the program and died July 13 from an overdose of heroin and alcohol. The episode takes place three weeks after Finn's fictional funeral and talks a lot about grief while sidestepping the issue of addiction. "There is no hint of how Finn's life ended," writes Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times. "There are no elliptical references to the dangers of substance abuse—not even an Amy Winehouse song." And Finn's stepbrother, Kurt, says during the show, "Everyone wants to talk about how he died, too, but who cares? One moment in his whole life; I care more about how he lived."
The decision to avoid Monteith's drug abuse was called "bold and respectful" by Stanley. But some drug experts feel it was an opportunity wasted. Writes David Sheff for Time, "Hollywood isn't obliged to portray reality—indeed, authenticity is anathema to feel-good shows like Glee—but by whitewashing addiction, the producers are failing its audience of young people, the group most vulnerable to overdose. A tribute replete with sad songs will make the audience cry, but it could also wind up romanticizing the star's death. So while the episode may help Monteith's fans grieve the loss of their idol, it won't help them to understand why they would never want to be like him. This is a disease that needs to be shown with such ugliness that even a face as beautiful as Monteith's will make the millions of young people who watch the show recoil in horror." [nytimes.com, 10/10/13; time.com, 10/7/13]
The Grand Theft Auto game series is on target to become the most profitable entertainment franchise of all time. The recently released Grand Theft Auto V has already grossed more than $1.5 billion, and the full series of games has drawn in an estimated $5.45 billion. That easily surpasses the combined worldwide take of two of the highest-grossing movies of all time, Avatar ($2.8 billion) and Titanic ($2.2 billion), as well as the entire Lord of the Rings film franchise ($2.9 billion). The Harry Potter franchise has grossed about $7.7 billion from all of its books and movies combined, and GTA is fast gaining on even that high-water mark. [newsweek.com, 10/4/13 stats]
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently compared language used in social network posts and found that they could often determine a writer's gender simply by what words he or she used. According to Time's Charlotte Alter, "They found that words like 'mommy,' 'boyfriend,' and 'best friend' were more commonly used by women, while men tended to post words like 'Xbox,' 'World Cup,' and 'Chuck Norris.' Women said 'sooo,' 'yummy,' and 'super excited,' while guys said 'ftw,' 'epic,' and every possible variation of the F-word. … Girls used the word 'dress' about as much as boys said 'engineering.' Who used more smiley emoticons? Take a guess." [time.com, 10/2/13]