Between 1985 and 2012, movie scenes rated PG-13 featuring gun-related imagery more than tripled, according to a new study headed by Daniel Romer of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, in collaboration with researchers at Ohio State University. In 1985, PG-13 movies featured on average less than one scene of gun violence per hour. By 2012, that figure had jumped to nearly three such scenes hourly. Talking with Reuters, Romer expressed concerns related to the increase in onscreen violence seen by many teens, noting that a PG-13 rating doesn't tell parents very much about a film's content. "The problem for parents is they can no longer rely on the PG-13 rating to tell them there isn't a lot of violence in those films," he said. Romer is also concerned about the influence such depictions of violence may have on impressionable or unstable adolescents: "It doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out there are going to be disturbed kids who are going to see this kind of content," he said, adding that past studies indicate a link between witnessing gun violence onscreen and having more aggressive thoughts. [foxnews.com, 11/11/13 stats, c&e]
A new ad encouraging young people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act is getting attention for promoting not only birth control, but casual sex as well. The Colorado-specific ads, created by the advocacy groups Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now, feature an attractive man and woman named, the ad says, Susie and Nate. She's holding birth control pills and giving a thumbs-up sign. The "Got Insurance?" ad (a play on the famous "Got Milk?" campaign) is titled "Let's Get Physical." Beneath that, ad copy says, "OMG, he's hot! Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers.* I got insurance. Now you can too. Thanks Obamacare!" Beneath the ad in smaller print is the asterisked warning, "*The pill does not protect you from STDs, condoms and common sense do that." [slate.com, 11/15/13]
"[Sexualization is] just kind of a part of this world. It's a part of the entertainment industry that sells. Sex sells and for some disgusting reason, young sex sells even more."
—Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, when asked by the BBC why entertainers such as Miley Cyrus feel compelled to push the envelope so much [huffingtonpost.com, 11/12/13]
Actress Julia Roberts: "It's kind of like cotton candy. It looks so appealing and you just can't resist getting in there, and then you just end up with sticky fingers and it lasted an instant."
Actor George Clooney: "If you're famous, I don't—for the life of me—I don't understand why any famous person would ever be on Twitter. Why on God's green earth would you be on Twitter? Because first of all, the worst thing you can do is make yourself more available, right? Because you're going to be available to everybody. But also Twitter. So one drunken night, you come home and you've had two too many drinks and you're watching TV and somebody p‑‑‑es you off, and you go 'Ehhhhh' and fight back. And you go to sleep, and you wake up in the morning and your career is over. Or you're an a‑‑hole. Or all the things you might think in the quiet of your drunken evening are suddenly blasted around the entire world before you wake up." [Marie Claire, 12/13; huffingtonpost.com, 11/11/13; Esquire, 12/13; usatoday.com, 11/11/13]
Singer, actress and X Factor judge Demi Lovato has signed a contract to write a tell-all memoir chronicling her dramatic journey through fame's heights and depths. She recently told TV Guide, "I'm battling with internal thoughts on how honest I should be. Yes, I've been very honest, but if people really knew how dark and deep my struggles got—not just with my eating disorder but with drugs and alcohol—they'd be really shocked. But I'll most likely end up saying everything. Maybe it'll help other people in the industry who are headed down the wrong path." She also admitted that for a time she rejected the notion that she was a role model—and the responsibility that comes with that position—before coming to the realization that she does indeed have influence on her followers, for better or worse. "I used to say that too," she said, referencing her reluctance to take on the role-model mantle. "That was my excuse to do whatever the f‑‑‑ I wanted and not give a s‑‑‑ about what other people thought. Then I ended up going through some stuff. I realized I'm never going to escape the fact that I'm in the public eye, so I might as well do the best I can." [foxnews.com, 11/15/13]
The organization Family Ministries has cancelled an appearance by Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson at an upcoming benefit. Robertson's famously faithful family recently launched a new business venture called Duck Commander Wines, and the Christian ministry accordingly felt Robertson was no longer a good fit for the fundraiser. "Our greatest responsibility is to the young people we serve," said Derek Bell, Family Ministries' director of development. "Therefore, we feel that in light of the recent news, to continue with this event would send mixed messages to the young people who go through our Adolescent Drug and Alcohol program. Our message must be consistent. The lives of those children may well hang in the balance." [foxnews.com, 11/13/13]
Dozens of gatherings dubbed "atheist mega-churches" have sprung up in Los Angeles, San Diego, Nashville, New York and other U.S. cities. Hundreds of atheists, for instance, recently packed into a Hollywood auditorium for a service filled with live music, moments of reflection, an "inspirational talk" about forgotten inventors and scientists, as well as some stand-up comedy. "I think the image that we have put forward in a lot of ways has been a scary, mean, we want to tear down the walls, we want to do destructive things kind of image," said attendee Elijah Senn. "I'm really excited to be able to come together and show that it's not about destruction. It's about making things and making things better." [AP, 11/10/13]
"There is a viewership out there that wants to see comedy, and warmth, and love, and surprise, and cleverness, without going into the party attitude. … They would like to see a married couple that acts like they love each other, warts and all, children who respect the parenting, and the comedy of people who make mistakes. Warmth and forgiveness." ―Bill Cosby, who is currently pitching new sitcom ideas to TV networks, on what's lacking in television comedies today [yahoo.com, 11/8/13]
"Modern television was born on the day John F. Kennedy died. The current outpouring of specials, documentaries and dramas [on the death of JFK] is as much a commemoration of the medium as it is of the man. Accordingly, the flashback to 1963 is prompting a generational power play: The mandarins of television are grabbing the remote to assert, perhaps for the last time, their pig-in-python prerogative. Unfortunately, they rely on the one resource their successors are not in awe of and barely notice. … They barely remember what television viewing used to be like. They don't need their television sets any more than they need land lines. They download selectively and can easily and even unthinkingly slalom around whatever CBS, PBS or HBO is trying so hard to get them to see."
—New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley [nytimes.com, 11/15/13]