Rock stars are rarely controversial for acting like rock stars. A decadent lifestyle of sex, drugs, and alcohol abuse are the expected menu. In our upside-down popular culture, rock stars create controversy only when they advocate an alternative lifestyle – when they wear purity rings and abstain from sex until marriage.
Some dream of being rock stars just for the selfish fantasy of organizing an assembly line of casual sex partners. In the minds of those with no moral brake on their sex drive, rock stars favoring abstinence are wasting a national resource, akin to monks pledging a vow of poverty while living inside a gold mine.
Last September, the Disney-boosted teen rockers known as the Jonas Brothers were a rich target for mockery at the MTV Video Music Awards for their purity rings. The emcee, a British comedian named Russell Brand, sneered that the Jonas Brothers were "a little bit ungrateful because they could have sex with any woman they want. That is like Superman deciding not to fly and go everywhere on a bus." Tee-hee, and all that.
Journalists -- starting with Time's Amy Sullivan, the former Tom Daschle aide -- strenously tried to suggest Barack Obama would not be a politician of the libertine left, and could even make a bold play for Bible-quoting evangelical voters. But as the Obama administration kicks into gear, it's getting obvious that the libertine-left side is winning. Reporters just won't call them that. See two recent AP stories.
Devlin Barrett reported that Attorney General Eric Holder is dialing back attempts to raid marijuana distributors where states have medical-marijuana exceptions to their drug laws. Barrett didn't find or identify anyone or anything with a liberal ideology in the story, and never quoted an opponent of marijuana legalization. Pleased libertines were presented in neutral tones:
Kris Hermes, a spokesman for national medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said he welcomed Holder's perspective. "It signals a new direction and a more reasonable and sensible direction on medical marijuana policy," he said.
Time magazine's Jeff "The pope's a Scrooge" Israely is at it again, lecturing Benedict XVI on his "inflammatory rhetoric."
Israely joins CNN's Jack Cafferty, Washington Post/Newsweek's "On Faith", and PBS's Bonnie Erbe in the bash-Benedict choir's latest oratorio. His March 19 article evaluated the pontiff's recent comments on condoms and HIV/AIDS as "candor over P.R.", lamenting Benedict's word choice and seeming lack of concern about how liberal secular media outlets parse his statements (emphases mine):
Amidst the outrage and consternation lies the question: Why? If we already know the basic tenets of church teaching — not to mention the extent of the AIDS epidemic and disproportionate ignorance about condom use in Africa — why did the Pope say what he said, when and where he said it? What do this and other recent episodes tell us about how the modern papacy operates at that unique nexus where philosophy meets public relations? And why, nearly four years into his reign, does this hyper articulate and well-versed Pope continue to see his attempts at mass communication blow up in his face?
Hell hath no fury like a feminist writer directing a hissy fit at the pope.
Bonnie Erbe -- the US News & World Report contributing editor and PBS "To the Contrary" host who argued that Bristol Palin is more "mature" than her abstinence education-advocating mother -- finds the pope "horrifically ignorant" when it comes to HIV/AIDS.
What exactly did the pontiff say that set Erbe off? Try, "AIDS cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms," hardly a controversial, implausible statement, but one that, to Erbe, showed the pope has "no sympathy" for women in Africa.
He may not have healed the planet and made the oceans recede yet, but Barack Obama has definitely brought sexy back for some fawning lefty writers. Just check out these headlines: “Have the Obamas Spawned a Sex Frenzy?” and “How long has it been since a first couple seemed to want each other?”
The American left – particularly women writers on the American left – have conjured up the idea that the relationship between President Barack Obama and his wife is somehow novel. Stacy Schiff of New York Magazine writes “…only now are we discovering what a functioning marriage between equals actually looks like.”
Seriously? The marriage between Barack and Michelle is the best and most recent example she can come up with? Schiff is obviously smitten, but before she reached for her smelling salts, she did manage a swipe at the Bush administration.
CNN’s Zain Verjee couldn’t seem to find any health care “experts” who agreed with Pope Benedict XVI during a report on Tuesday’s Situation Room about the “political firestorm” the pontiff apparently set off during his first visit to Africa. Verjee not only cited unnamed “experts” who disagreed with the pope’s statement that the distribution of condoms on the continent “increases the problem” of HIV/AIDS instead of helping it, but also found “some priests and nuns working with AIDS victims in Africa question the church’s anti-condom policy.”
Anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced the correspondent’s report, hyping how “Pope Benedict XVI is facing a condom controversy right now. That may be last thing he needs on his first tour of Africa, [which is] struggling to cope with a massive AIDS epidemic.” Verjee continued in this vein: “Pope Benedict XVI set off another political firestorm, even before he landed in Africa, saying condoms could make the HIV/AIDS crisis worse. He told reporters, ‘It’s a tragedy, but you can’t resolve with it the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.’
In a respectful and compassionate manner, Nightline’s March 12 broadcast of the “Faith Matters” series brought to light a group of reformed prostitutes who have turned to religion and who are helping other women leave the destructive life of a Vegas prostitute.
Hookers for Jesus is a group started by former prostitute Annie Lobert who hit rock bottom with a cocaine overdose, and decided to leave the prostitute lifestyle when, as she put it, God changed her life. ABC reporter Neal Karlinsky graciously told her story and the story of other women who have found hope through Lobert’s ministry and the church of Pastor Benny Perez.
“Along with a pair of volunteers from a nearby church, [the women are] on the streets looking for prostitutes with one goal in mind: to save them,” Karlinsky said. “We keep our cameras at a distance as they hand out gift bags filled with bibles.” Karlinsky interviewed Lobert about her former life as a hooker. “But Annie Lobert isn't exactly your average missionary,” he said. “Before she was a so called ‘hooker for Jesus,’ Lobert was to put delicately, a hooker. Starting as a teenager, she sold her body through escort services, websites and on the streets of Las Vegas for 11 years.”
[Update: Erbe appears to be factually inaccurate, to say the least. Reader Tim Lindell passed on an L.A. Times article from last year noting that in a 2006 debate, Palin called herself "pro-contraception" and added that "kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues."]
With the writing style and gravitas worthy of a high school newspaper columnist, PBS "To the Contrary" host and US News & World Report columnist Bonnie Erbe slammed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her March 12 column, pitting her against her daughter Bristol who "displays a lot more personal maturity and decision-making ability than her mother" as evidenced by the breaking off of her engagement with boyfriend Levi Johnston.
Although Erbe is not a relationship expert or couples therapist, she plays one on the Internet (emphases mine):
[T]he youthful pair never looked like a loving couple. They looked like what they were: two sexually active teens who happened to "hook up" but had nothing beyond that in common. Besides, who wants to marry the son of a woman who's brought up on drug charges?
CNN correspondent Randi Kaye gushed over the “dynamic duo” of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, whom she heralded as “a powerful duo -- a duo women want on their side.” The two first ladies had made a joint appearance at President Obama’s announcement of the new White House Council for Women and Girls, and Kaye’s report, which aired on Wednesday’s Anderson Cooper 360, made it seem like it was the best thing since sliced bread. Kaye saved her most laudatory language for the two at the conclusion of her report: “Today was a good day to be a woman.”
Host Anderson Cooper introduced Kaye’s segment by labeling the two first ladies as “two of the most visible champions, perhaps, of women’s rights in the country.” A graphic accompanying Cooper on-screen proclaimed the “dynamic duo” of Obama and Clinton. During the rest of the report, another graphic applauded the “Obama-Clinton power duo.”
Family Guy – talk about a misnomer. The animated Fox television series crossed sexual, moral and religious boundaries on Sunday evening when it aired content inappropriate for its young target audience.
The controversial material was not limited to one subject, or isolated in a single scene. Images of gay men kissing, a baby eating semen, physical abuse, sexual touching and a half naked male were just a few of the disturbing images viewers were treated to in the March 8 episode.
The Parents Television Council has issued a press release regarding the indecent content. Tim Winter, President of the PTC has alerted the Federal Communications Commission to the controversial content aired at 8:00pm CT, during the so-called family hour.
CMI's Matt Philbin discussed Tattoo Barbie in his latest column:
We can be sure she's not the first of her generation to mark her 50th birthday by getting tattoos. After all, the cultivation of youth-obsessed narcissism and bad taste is a Baby Boomer hallmark (see Clinton, Bill). But "Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie" is no less disturbing for being a product of her generation.
Mattel is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the bubbly blonde franchise with an update - tattoos for her and her young owners. Of course, temporary tattoos have been a staple "secret toy surprise" in cereal boxes and candy for decades. But only in the ‘90s did real ink cease to be liberty souvenirs for sailors and become unisex accessories. Tattoos are now a ubiquitous sign of rebellious conformity for men, and often a statement of Tila Tequila aspirations for women.
Be careful when channel surfing; you might get an eyeful of advertisements for pay-per-view porn. But where is the mainstream media's warning to parents and concerned customers?
According to a March 9 article on adage.com, cable and satellite providers such as Comcast and DirecTV, are picking up their effort to boost sales through adult entertainment and the advertisements are expected to appear on more "male-heavy channels such as ESPN and Spike TV." Though the spots may run in the early morning hours of 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., the mainstream media has largely failed to report this news.
ABC and CNN, two reputable news sources, have done their part in promoting a “study” that posits conservatives are the nation’s biggest consumers of online pornography. Problem is, many think the study is full of holes and fuzzy math. ABC and CNN bought it: hook, line and sinker.
“Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers” is a New Scientistarticle by Ewen Callaway that alleges that those who reside in “red” states, typically associated with support of the GOP, purchase more pornography than those in “blue” states. He cites a nationwide study that analyzed credit card receipts from a “popular online adult entertainment provider” in various states.
"Villaraigosa affair may not be one to remember," prophesied the July 7, 2007 headline in the L.A. Times. A year and a half later, the Associated Press danced around the Democratic Los Angeles mayor's adulterous liaison with a Spanish-language reporter assigned to the city hall beat.
From today's story on his March 3 re-election accessed at CBSNews.com (emphases mine), notice how the AP pulls its punches, euphemizing the adulterous affair in the 12th paragraph of the story:
The mayor of Los Angeles easily won re-election after a bumpy first term in the nation's second-largest city, fueling speculation that he will be among contenders next year to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the first Hispanic mayor in more than a century, was rewarded Tuesday with a second, four-year trip to City Hall despite an uneven first term that saw the breakup of his marriage and the defeat of his signature plan to reform city schools.
Just how little is the sanctity of marriage and fidelity revered by the mainstream media?
Consider the following astounding statement made today by "CNN Saturday Morning News" host T. J. Holmes:
Unfortunately, you know, people have to stop cheating in this recession. But given the recession, people are being forced to improvise a little bit more as they're looking for a little variety out there in their lives.
Unfortunately? Mightn't a decline in adultery be a hidden benefit during this economic downtown?
Apparently not (video embedded below the fold with full transcript):
Everyone who enjoys NFL football games knows they’re going to be sitting through an avalanche of those awkward ads for erectile-dysfunction drugs, and ads soaked in sex and violence selling new movies or prime-time TV shows. Despite this barrage, the NFL has managed to show some standards, believe it or not.
They refused a Super Bowl commercial from the website AshleyMadison.com because of its unusual product, a dating service for married people who want to commit adultery – or as they strangely describe it, they enable "married dating." Their slogan is "Life’s short. Have an affair."
But this Home Wreckers Incorporated found a way around the NFL, such as airing local ads during the Super Bowl on NBC-affiliated KPRC in Houston. CEO Noel Biderman boasted in a press release that he ran his new female-targeted commercial because "In Texas, men love their football and women love to cheat!" He also claimed Texas is his company’s fastest growing market with over 200,000 members signed up in the last two years.
"Disparate Gay Bloggers Create a Virtual Village of Many Voices," the headline on the jump page noted:
On the Internet, no group -- however controversial or on the fringe -- is invisible. Everyone is but a Google search away. And the sheer diversity of blogs written by gays, lesbians and transgenders proves that, like all minority groups, the gay community is not monolithic. Though they may blog about the same topic -- say, Prop. 8 -- it doesn't mean they'll arrive at the same conclusion.
Yet nowhere in his 20-paragraph profile does Vargas look into the generally conservative bloggers who maintain GayPatriot.net, a site that describes itself as "the Internet home for the American gay conservative." Indeed, Vargas spent the lion's share of his article focused on Pam Spaulding, a liberal black lesbian blogger from North Carolina. Vargas sums up Spaulding's insights on Prop 8: "religious anti-gay whites" are equally responsible for the passage of the ballot referendum as socially conservative African-American voters.
Wow. Truly insightful.
By contrast, GayPatriot bloggers also opposed Proposition 8 yet take liberal gay activists to task for their shrill invective against proponents of the ballot initiative. Here's one such excerpt from a February 8 post by Daniel Blatt, who blogs as "GayPatriotWest" entitled, "Will Gay Groups Criticize Mean-Spirited Tactics of Angry Prop 8 Opponents?":
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith played a clip of himself talking to left-wing actor Sean Penn following the Oscars Sunday night: "In a night full of first-time winners, Sean Penn took home his second Oscar as best actor for his emotional performance as slain gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk in Milk. I caught up with him and other big winners at the Governor's Ball." During the interview, Smith admitted to Penn: "As I sat watching the film, seems to happen to me more rare these days, but I wept openly during several scenes in the film because it really is a film about a civil rights movement." On December 10, Smith interviewed Penn’s Milk co-star, James Franco, and called the film "a must-see."
Earlier in the broadcast, a clip was played of Penn describing his feeling’s about the Oscar win during a press conference after the award show: "That means a lot to myself and to everybody involved, not only in the movie, but to anybody who believes in equal rights for other human beings." However, no clip was played of Penn’s actual acceptance speech, in which he declared: "I think it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect, and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone."
When Dustin Lance Black won the Original Screenplay Oscar for Milk on Sunday night, he honored what he called the "life-saving" story of Harvey Milk and pledged like a politician that gay marriage was just around the corner:
When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and father move me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk, and it gave me hope. It gave me hope to live my life. It gave he hope that one day I could live openly as who I am, and maybe even that I would fall in love and one day get married. (Applause)
I wanna thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’s want me to say to all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have have told they are "less than" by their churches, by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you, and that I promise you, very soon you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours. (Applause)
The top of Friday’s Metro section of The Washington Post touted the drag queen who became Homecoming Queen at George Mason University. The enthusiastic headline was "Work That Tiara, Boy!" Inside the Metro section, the headline was "Not Everyone Is Celebrating Glittering Moment of Inclusiveness."
The front page subhead noted the election sparked a "campus divide," but Annie Gowen’s story wasn’t really interested in the critics of Ryan Allen (drag queen name: Reann Ballslee). She began: "Spend time with George Mason University senior Ryan Allen and it's clear why he's a Big Man on Campus. He wears size 12 pumps."
Gowen and her Post editors see this issue as a happy tale of more respect for diversity and minorities:
Many see it as an expression of inclusiveness at a place where about one-third of the 30,000 students are minority. But others say it is an embarrassment at an inopportune time when Mason is trying to revamp its image from commuter school to distinguished institution of higher learning.
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seized on a portion of Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol’s Monday interview from FNC’s On the Record with Greta van Susteren to portray the 18-year-old as having expressed a pro-choice view on abortion, even though Bristol Palin did not clearly state her general view on the legality of abortion. During one of the show’s before-commercial plugs, Olbermann trumpeted: "While head-in-the-sand social conservatives are pushing fairy tales [abstinence] over sound policy, life happens. As for a woman`s right to choose, it is implicitly accepted in Bristol Palin`s comments, despite her mother`s anti-choice position."
Before interviewing Laura Flanders of GritTV.org, Olbermann introduced the segment: "There is a whistle blower in the house of hypocrisy that is Governor Sarah Palin: her daughter, Bristol. In our third story on the Countdown, she is now speaking out about being a teenaged mother, and she says that abstinence is not "realistic" (PRONOUNCED WITH EMPHASIS), and that having her baby was her own "choice" (PRONOUNCED WITH EMPHASIS), and that her mother`s view on that, quote, "doesn`t matter" (PRONOUNCED WITH EMPHASIS). At one point, as he posed a question to Flanders, Olbermann referred to "Bristol Palin using that one word, 'choice,' such a, in that word such a profound repudiation of the social engineers on the right."
But in playing clips from the interview, the Countdown host edited out some of Bristol Palin's words which may suggest an alternative meaning to Olbermann’s interpretation.
Bristol Palin's comments about abstinence sparked a lively discussion about sex education on the Feb. 17 broadcast of ABC's "The View" in which Whoopi Goldberg insisted she would be okay if Bozo the Clown gave teens the information they needed about sex.
Palin, a new teenaged mom and daughter of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, stated during her Feb. 16 interview with Fox's Greta van Susteren that sexual abstinence "is not realistic at all."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd defended abstinence as a very good thing to teach teenagers. Hasselbeck stated she didn't "think there's anything wrong with teaching an ideal to your child. It is ideal to be really nice to somebody, it is ideal to not drive drunk, it is ideal to wear your seat belt, it is ideal to not have sex until you're in a committed relationship. Why not?"
Pope Rebukes Pelosi, Tells Her Catholic Legislators Obligated to Protect Life
The Vatican Press Office released a note this morning detailing part of the conversation which Pope Benedict XVI had with Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Vatican insiders inform LifeSiteNews.com that such releases are always phrased in diplomatic language and thus the correction of the Speaker who fancies herself a faithful Catholic despite her abortion advocacy can be taken as a rebuke.
The text of the note reads: "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."
Those interested in learning how the press will minimize the Pope's rebuke have an early example to peruse at Agence France-Presse (AFP). It contains the expected watering-down of the rebuke, and more (AFP link is dynamic; its report as it appeared when this post was drafted is here):
Nearing the ten year anniversary of the controversial “child-porn” underwear advertisements, Calvin Klein has launched another raunchy ad campaign for the spring 2009 collection, featuring an orgy of young men and women.
For the latest ad campaign, Calvin Klein hired Steven Meisel, famous for the photography in Madonna’s pornographic “Sex” book in the early 90s. The ads, which can be seen in women’s fashion magazines such as Lucky and Cosmopolitan and soon to be on billboards, are composed of photographs of three to five twenty-somethings sprawled out half naked on each other in various sexual positions. Viewers can see the multimedia version of the ads in an online video considered too explicit to air in the United States.
Calvin Klein has propagated controversial ads in recent history, the most unforgettable being a 1999 advertisement that conjured up images of child pornography. Due to public outcry, the offending ads, which displayed young models showing their underwear and included creepily suggestive dialogue, were removed from the campaign within 24 hours.
In a bizarre leap of logic, CNN's John Roberts proposed same-sex marriage as "perhaps another path [that] needs to be taken" in response to high divorce rates.
Roberts' comment during the Feb. 16 "American Morning." followed a segment in which entertainment correspondent Lola Ogunnaike promoted daytime television's first lesbian wedding, which is scheduled to air this week on ABC's "All My Children."
Roberts framed the segment as taking "a look at the groundbreaking nuptials and the controversy surrounding them." But Ogunnaike only included one critical comment in the nearly three-minute story about "All My Children's" latest wedding. Glenn Stanton of the conservative Focus on the Family told CNN, "I think it's really important to understand that there are a lot of things that people really don't want to see and don't want coming into their home, and lesbian weddings are certainly one of them."
Daniel Bergner isn’t the devil’s advocate, but he is a pervert’s apologist. This author and contributor to the New York Times Magazine has a new book titled "The Other Side of Desire" which argues it is unfair to judge bizarre, harmful, and disgusting sexual attractions as bizarre, harmful, and disgusting.
Bergner’s book focuses on four real-life fetishists: a husband with a secret foot fetish, a man with an attraction to amputees, a vicious female sadist, and a man who longs for sex with his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Book reviews and interviews suggest he hasn’t written a book to judge the fetishists, but rather to judge the society that would rush to condemn their drives and behaviors.
Bergner tries to define deviancy down by quoting one of his experts, a New York psychiatrist who quips, "perversion can be defined as the sex that you like and I don't."
It's no secret that women's magazines promote liberal agendas but "Glamour" magazine's March issue features a blatant abortion propaganda piece.
Billed as "The Serious Health Discussion Women Aren't Talking About," the article attempted to go beyond the political aspect of the abortion debate and delve into the personal side of the issue. The sub-head stated, "Whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, now is the time for more openness and understanding."
Author Liz Welch wrote, "Every woman who faces that abortion decision deserves a friend's arms around her - as well as factual, unbiased information about what lies ahead. Let the plainspoken stories and advice on these pages open the dialogue."
The stories and advice are clear: abortion is an a-ok option.
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez did a segment highlighting five, "...things you may not know about Honest Abe," including his sexual orientation. The segment featured New York University history professor Jeffrey Sammons, who argued: "One of the very interesting stories about Abraham Lincoln is that he might have been gay. Lincoln actually did sleep in the same bed with a gentleman for a four-year period." Rodriguez concluded: "So the question of Abraham Lincoln's sexuality still remains a mystery."
In addition to spreading revisionist rumors about Lincoln’s sexuality, the segment also focused on his racist attitudes as Rodriguez declared: "Myth number two, he was the great champion of equality." Sammons explained: "Lincoln is known as the great emancipator or the great father of black people, but Lincoln was a man of his times when it came to race. He indicated that he did not believe that blacks were equal to whites, said to have used the n-word in speeches and in letters. So there's no indication that Abraham Lincoln believes in black equality."
Hat-tipping gay blogger Andrew Sullivan, Time's Amy Sullivan (no relation) expressed impatience at the Obama administration for not moving yet on ending the ban on openly gay personnel serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Sullivan is chagrined that a Kansas National Guardsman was reportedly discharged after Army brass discovered her MySpace page in which she declared she is a lesbian.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and his frequent guest, Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman, spoke Saturday at a fundraising gala for the New York chapter of the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest gay-left lobby and a major constituency group of the Democratic Party. All the other major speakers were New York or New Jersey Democrats. Olbermann was given HRC’s "Ally for Equality" Award for his MSNBC commentaries against California’s Proposition 8, which drew a standing ovation at the dinner.
Fineman introduced Olbermann in glowing terms: "He's not a liberal. What Keith is is an anti-establishment character who doesn't want people in power to get away with things." He added, "He rediscovered the role of journalism and that role is deeply informed judgment about people in power and about the morality of our country."