TV’s “25 Days of Christmas” has arrived! And while many a family may be excited to share familiar Christmas classics such as The Santa Clause, Home Alone and Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish on Freeform, there’s also an entirely new lineup of movies coming to cable and streaming platforms. If you count up all the fare on Lifetime, Hallmark Channel, Netflix and several other networks, there are 105 new Christmas movies to watch this year. According to Entertainment Weekly, it would take nine full days to watch them all—and that’s if you watched them back to back without pausing for sleep or bathroom breaks.
Dictionary.com named “existential” its Word of the Year for 2019. According to the site, the word has two definitions: “Of or relating to existence” and “concerned with the nature of human existence as determined by the individual’s freely made choices.” But its decision to choose the word was not nearly so esoteric. The choice was inspired by the existential crisis that the character Forky goes through in Toy Story 4. Forky “exercises agency over his life when he chooses to be there for his child, rejecting that he is just a disposable piece of plastic and embracing his worth as a toy.” But mostly, Dictionary.com hopes that Forky’s journey will help others to turn their existential threats into existential choices.
Misinformation (Dictionary.com’s Word of the Year for 2018) is being spread on YouTube as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prepares to review COPPA—the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal statute that aims to put parents in control of their kids’ data. Although COPPA wasn’t slated to be reviewed until 2023, technology has changed so much and so fast, that the FTC deemed it necessary to start the process early.
This is largely due to the $170 million settlement that Google paid earlier this year for allegedly collecting children’s personal information through YouTube without their parents’ consent. Slate reports that many YouTubers have taken up arms against COPPA under the false belief that the privacy law will force them to “ban certain types of content, such as videos about the popular game Roblox.” Others are worried that YouTube will disable all personalized advertising on their videos “just because a child may watch it.” And while these YouTubers have reason to be concerned and frustrated by the sudden shift in YouTube’s policies, Slate also reminds us that these policy changes should have happened a long time ago.
COPPA isn’t new. The law has been around longer than YouTube, and the fact that the company is just now starting to comply with it is no one’s fault but YouTube’s… Despite nearly two decades of industry claiming that these rules would destroy the online market for children’s content—just as the content creators are doing now—plenty of companies comply with COPPA by allowing kids under 13 to create accounts and treating their data differently.
Peloton stock dropped 10 percent on Tuesday after releasing a video ad for its latest stationary bike and virtual fitness program. The ad depicts a woman who is gifted the exercise equipment for Christmas and spends a year documenting her journey using it. While the company insists that the holiday spot “was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey,” viewers have compared it to episodes of Black Mirror, calling it “bonkers,” and “clearly ripe for parody,” says Time Magazine.
A new study published by JAMA Network says that “Increasing accurate portrayals of sexual assault in the media, coupled with increased awareness of organizations similar to RAINN [Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network], may positively affect public health.” The study was conducted after an episode of Grey’s Anatomy titled “Silent All These Years” brought awareness to sexual assault back in March. Using data provided by RAINN, the study revealed that internet searches regarding RAINN increased 41% and calls to RAINN increased 43% in the 48 hours after the episode aired. It concluded that “Hollywood may be poised to help put the public back into public health.”
Willie Nelson reportedly stopped smoking marijuana “due to ongoing health and breathing issues,” reports CBS. The 86-year-old musician, who has his own line of marijuana products, cancelled six shows on his concert tour this past summer. And while his publicist confirmed to USA Today that he still uses other cannabis products, the singer stated, “I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past… I don’t smoke anymore. I take better care of myself today.”
Fans of the Star Wars franchise collectively lost their minds last week when director J.J. Abrams told Good Morning America that a copy of the script for “The Rise of Skywalker” had been lost, found and put up for sale on eBay. While the finder clearly had no idea what the value of the script was (they allegedly only asked for 65 pounds—roughly $85), it was returned to the creators before it could be sold. Actor John Boyega later admitted that it was he who lost the script: “I was moving apartments and I left the script under my bed. I was just like, ‘you know what, I’ll leave it under my bed. When I wake up in the morning, I’ll take it and move.’” The following morning, rather than follow his plan, he got caught up with friends and the script “just stayed there.”
Abrams stated that security surrounding the movie’s secrets was “insane” and even Boyega said that he wasn’t sure how it ends yet since they shot multiple finales. So while audiences will still have to wait until December 20 to find out how the saga ends, they can compensate with Funko Pop’s latest Star Wars merchandise—Baby Yoda.