"As a member of the Hollywood community, I have been part of an industry that has unwittingly and yes, even wittingly, caused much damage to America and to the world, and I am well aware of the blight that has too often been the result of such actions. … Throughout my years in Hollywood, I tried to live my life differently and be a part of projects that I would be proud to have my grandchildren watch. It hasn't been easy, but I've at least tried to stand against the tide of depravity that has too often flourished there."
—Oscar-winning producer Gerald Molen, who's worked on films such as Schindler's List and Jurassic Park, in a letter he reportedly sent to 866 Christian and conservative leaders in Hollywood, as well as Republican leaders. Molen's latest production credit is Dinesh D'Souza's forthcoming documentary America. [hollywoodreporter.com, 6/13/14]
"Yes, the [University of California, Santa Barbara] tragedy [in which six students were killed and more than a dozen injured] is a story about misogyny and violence. But it's also a story about the narrow way we still define what it means to be a man. … Elliot Rodger had never kissed a girl. In a culture of casual sex, he was a virgin—at 22. He was lonely, angry, humiliated, depressed, and also likely struggling with mental illness. … In the days since the killings, his mad crusade has launched a vigorous conversation about misogyny and the kind of culture from which a man like Elliot Rodger, so-called 'Virgin Killer,' could emerge. … It's a complicated tale—about culture and privilege, guns and mental health. But it's also about sex, pornography, and the increased pressure on young men to live up to some mythical 'player' status—now amplified in a thousand social updates and dating apps. … Rodger perceived his inability to lose his virginity as his greatest failure, and a failure on the aspect of life on which many men judge themselves most harshly. As he put it: 'No one respects a man who is unable to get a woman.' … Most men do not resort to killing sprees, of course. And yet there is something in this terrible story that reveals how anger is frequently the only way that men know to express their depression or frustration. From film to music, we often see images of young men reclaiming lost manhood through spectacular violence. Combine that with a mentally unstable mind, access to guns and a campus culture that revolves around sex, and the result was tragic."
—Time contributor Jessica Bennett, in her article "The Shame of the Male Virgin" [time.com, 5/27/14]
Google recently sent an email to advertisers announcing its new policy banning advertisements for pornography: "Beginning in the coming weeks, we'll no longer accept ads that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts." [venturebeat.com, 6/6/14]
The fifth and climactic game of the NBA Finals at the AT&T Center in San Antonio was a big deal, so the fact that it triggered more than 394,000 social media posts (Facebook updates, tweets, etc.) might not seem so surprising—maybe even seem a little low. But what if we told you that those 394,000 posts were all generated only by the people watching the game at the AT&T Center? That's right: The 19,500 fans in attendance logged nearly 400,000 posts while in the arena—consuming more than 182 gigabytes of bandwidth. That equals nearly 20 posts for every man, woman and child in attendance. [kwhn.com, 6/17/14 stats]
As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis, who has been convicted of attempting to hire a hit man to murder his estranged wife, recently admitted that he had begun lying about being a Christian in order to sell music. In fact, the lead singer revealed in an interview with Alternative Press that he "wasn't the first guy in the group to stop being a Christian" as two of his bandmates had "dropped" their faith before he did. "In the process of trying to defend my faith, I started thinking the other point of view was the stronger one," Lambesis said, adding that he began using atheism as a justification for his sins. "The first time I cheated on my wife, my interpretation of morality was now convenient for me," the singer said. "I felt less guilty if I decided, 'Well, marriage isn't a real thing, because Christianity isn't real. God isn't real.'" [independent.co.uk, 6/20/14]
"I am comfortable with myself, and my life is amazing in that respect. I'm very comfortable and happy with everything. I just wanted to talk about him and have it out there. It's about a guy and that's what I wanted people to know—I want to be clear that that's what it's about. I've been treated as normal as anyone in my life; I've had no issues. I do know that some people have issues in life, but I haven't, and it's as normal as my right arm. I want to make it a normality because this is a non-issue. People wouldn't ask a straight person these questions. I've tried to be clever with this album, because it's also important to me that my music reaches everybody. I've made my music so that it could be about anything and everybody—whether it's a guy, a female or a goat—and everybody can relate to that."
—22-year-old British singer Sam Smith, whose debut album, The Lonely Hour, is on track for a strong first week debut with projected sales of more than 150,000 units in the U.S. [eonline.com, 5/28/14]
After going through its database of 555,000 baby names, babycenter.com found that the names Elsa and Anna are heating up in the wake of Frozen's success. "Elsa in particular has seen a huge surge, rising 34% from 2013 to 2014," ABC News reported. BabyCenter also noted other recent movies and TV shows that have started naming trends, namely The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Grey and Duck Dynasty. [abcnews.com, 6/18/14 stats]
The Season 4 finale of HBO's Game of Thrones drew a record numbers of viewers, with Nielsen reporting that 7.1 million households tuned in. It also set the online piracy record for a TV show: According to filesharing tracker TorrentFreak, during the first 12 hours after broadcast, roughly 1.5 million people shared a pirated copy of the episode. [cbsnews.com, 6/18/14 stats]
Reality star Alana Thompson, better known as the titular firecracker in Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon recently. And while she was predictably precocious on the edited telecast, according to Salon's Christy O'Shoney watching her live was a different experience. Unedited, O'Shoney says that Thompson was a "tiny, dimpled monster." She tells of Alana smacking her mother, Mama June. "Up until this point, Fallon had been doing a great job of navigating Alana's weird behavior, but it was at this moment when he became positively awesome," O'Shoney writes. "'NEVER hit your mother!' he exclaimed, in a voice that was serious with just a hint of a joke, and the studio audience erupted in applause. Finally, we thought, someone is addressing this child's attitude. But really, it's television, so instead of getting a timeout for hitting her mom, Alana was handed pompoms and asked to lead the audience in a cheer."
O'Shoney went on to wonder how much reality television is impacting Alana's upbringing: "When I watched the episode that night and I saw how much had been cut out, it made me wonder how much of Alana's life is itself left on the cutting-room floor. Where do the producers of Toddlers & Tiaras or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo have to draw the line? There must come a point where they say: This is not good TV, it's just sad. Let's cut it." [salon.com, 6/19/14]