Tag Archives: celebrities

Hip-Hop and rap represent destructive life choices: How low can this genre sink?

1 May

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: The question must be asked, who is responsible for MY or YOUR life choices? Let’s get real, certain Asian cultures kick the collective butts of the rest of Americans. Why? It’s not rocket science. These cultures embrace success traits of hard work, respect for education, strong families, and a reverence for success and successful people. Contrast the culture of success with the norms of hip-hop and rap oppositional culture. See, Hip-hop’s Dangerous Values http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1107107/posts

The latest high-profile example of the value set of hip-hop occurred with the report that rapper Danny Brown performed oral sex on stage. Radio.com reported in the article, Rapper Danny Brown’s Onstage Antics Spark Oral Sex Controversy about an alleged oral sex incident.

Alternative rapper Danny Brown is used to performing for crowded clubs, like his sold-out Minneapolis show on Friday (April 26), but he’s answering to a much larger audience in the wake the allegedly X-rated performance.

Music fans have taken to social media, demanding answers from the rapper and posting personal accounts of the concert, where the rapper reportedly engaged in oral sex with a fan in the front of the crowd.

A Redditor who claims to have been at the show described the incident in detail, saying that Brown had been getting close to “random girls” in the front of the crowd throughout his performance, including the woman involved in the incident at hand.

Then I’m behind her and I start getting pushed against her by the crowd shifting,” the Redditor wrote. “It [was] horrible and I hope you guys will be donating to my future therapy sessions, but also I came back with a story. He rapped the entire time during [it] too.”

Brown’s Twitter followers are using the site as a platform to ask questions and voice their opinions, with fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar even chiming in.

Brown reportedly confirmed that the allegations are true, however his response has since been deleted, according to Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages.

Meanwhile, some people are outraged at the inappropriate act, while Brown takes their comments in stride by retweeting some of them, presumably to capture some ironic humor in the midst of controversy.

Brown did respond to one question, only saying that the incident is a “rumor” without officially confirming or denying it. http://news.radio.com/2013/05/01/danny-brown-x-rated-show/

The death cult of hip-hop has been on a lot of people’s radar for the past few years. Because of artistic freedom and the romanticizing  of some hip-hop and rap stars, those sounding the alarm about this death cult have been labeled as prudes, nervous ninnies, and anti-free speech. A 2005 Nightline story by Jake Tapper and Marie Nelson looked at the links between corporate America and hip-hop

The blueprint now is an image that promotes all of the worst aspects of violent and anti-social behavior,” said Source editor Mays. “It takes those real issues of violent life that occur in our inner cities, it takes them out of context.”

Attorney Londell McMillan, who represents Lil’ Kim and many other hip-hop performers, says the record labels and radio stations push the artists toward a more violent image. “They all seek to do things that are extraordinary,” he said, “unfortunately it’s been extraordinarily in the pain of a people. They are often encouraged to take a certain kind of approach to the art form.”

Added NYPD Commissioner Kelly, “Whereas some of the other violence was sort of attendant to the business itself, now I think they’re trying to exploit it and make money off of it.”

But C-Murder says if he projected a more benign image his career would be over. “I wouldn’t sell a record because my fans would know that’s not me,” he said. “They don’t expect me to just sit in that booth and write about stuff that the news or the media want to hear about.”

Record executive Dash adds there is a double standard between predominantly black and predominantly white music. “I remember Woodstock Part II was a mess,” Dash said, referring to the 1999 rock ‘n’ roll concert festival that exploded in a mass of riots and rapes. But, Dash said, “nothing more about it than that” transpired. “There wasn’t any new laws, there wasn’t any investigations. It just was.” 

Lest you think I am anti-capitalism, the real kind, not the corporate welfare of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, you are wrong. Most inner city neighborhoods and poor regions like Appalachia and Mississippi desperately need investment and capital to encourage entrepreneurs.  As the motto of Homeboy Industries states, the best defense against violence is a job.

Moi has been railing against the hip hop culture for years because it is destructive, produces violence, but just as important it stereotypes Blacks whether they participate in hip hop culture or not.

Does Hip-Hop Culture Affect Student Behavior?

Gosa and Young’s case study about the oppositional culture of hip-hop is a good description of the possible impact of a certain genre of music on the educational values of the young listeners.

Given the prominent, yet controversial theory of oppositional culture used to explain the poor academic achievement of black youth and recent concerns that hip-hop is leading black youth to adopt anti-school attitudes, we examine the construction of oppositional culture in hip-hop music. Through a qualitative case of song lyrics (n=250) from two of hip-hop’s most influential artists – “conscious” rapper Kanye West and “gangster” rapper Tupac Skakur, we find oppositional culture in both artist’s lyrics. However, our analysis reveals important differences in how the two artists describe the role of schooling in adult success, relationships with teachers and schools, and how education is related to authentic black male identity. Our findings suggest a need for reexamining the notion that oppositional culture means school resistance. 

The study gives a good description of oppositional culture, but it is overly optimistic about the role of the market place in promoting the basest values for a buck.

Lest one think that hip-hop culture is simply the province of thugs and low- income urban youth. Think again, there are many attempts to market a stylized version of the culture. A 1996 American Demographics article, Marketing Street Culture
Bringing Hip-Hop Style to the Mainstream, describes the marketing used to cross-over hip-hop culture into the mainstream.

Many of the hottest trends in teenage music, language, and fashion start in America’s inner cities, then quickly spread to suburbs. Targeting urban teens has put some companies on the map with the larger mainstream market. But companies need an education in hip-hop culture to avoid costly mistakes.

The Scene: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a bastion of the white East Coast establishment. A teenaged boy saunters down the street, his gait and attitude embodying adolescent rebellion. Baggy jeans sag atop over-designed sneakers, gold hoops adorn both ears, and a baseball cap shields his eyes. On his chest, a Tommy Hilfiger shirt sports the designer’s distinctive pairing of blue, red, and white rectangles.

Four years ago, this outfit would have been unimaginable to this cool teen; only his clean-cut, country-club peers sported Hilfiger clothes. What linked the previously preppy Hilfiger to jeans so low-slung they seem to defy gravity? To a large extent, the answer lies 200 miles southwest, in the oversized personage of Brooklyn’s Biggie Smalls, an admitted ex-drug dealer turned rapper.

Over the past few years, Smalls and other hip-hop stars have become a crucial part of Hilfiger’s open attempt to tap into the urban youth market. In exchange for giving artists free wardrobes, Hilfiger found its name mentioned in both the rhyming verses of rap songs and their “shout-out” lyrics, in which rap artists chant out thanks to friends and sponsors for their support.

For Tommy Hilfiger and other brands, the result is de facto product placement. The September 1996 issue of Rolling Stone magazine featured the rap group The Fugees, with the men prominently sporting the Tommy Hilfiger logo. In February 1996, Hilfiger even used a pair of rap stars as runway models: horror-core rapper Method Man and muscular bad-boy Treach of Naughty by Nature.

Suburban normed or middle class youth may dabble in hip-hop culture, but they have a “recovery period.” The “recovery period” for suburban youth means moving from deviant norms, which preclude success into mainstream norms, which often promote success. Suburban children often have parental and peer social pressure to move them to the mainstream. Robert Downey, Jr., the once troubled actor is not necessarily an example of hip-hop culture, but he is an example of the process of “recovery” moving an individual back into the mainstream. Children of color and low-income children often do not get the chance to “recover” and move into mainstream norms. The next movement for them after a suspension or expulsion is often the criminal justice system.

The data is shouting load and clear. Hip-hop and rap culture more often than not is a destructive life choice.

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Do ‘grown-ups’ have to be reminded to keep their clothes on in public? Apparently so

9 Feb

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi had to look twice at this notice from CBS to those attending the GRAMMY show, Breasts, buttocks banned by CBS from Grammys:

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS is asking stars not to bare too much skin at the Grammy Awards on Sunday.

The network requests that “buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered” for the televised award show. The memo sent out Wednesday also warned against “see-through clothing,” exposure of “the genital region” and said that “thong type costumes are problematic.”

Representatives for CBS and the Recording Academy declined to comment on Thursday. Deadline Hollywood first reported the memo.

CBS broadcast the infamous 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that included Janet Jackson‘s “wardrobe malfunction.” The network was initially fined by the Federal Communications Commission, though the fine was later overturned. http://www.seattlepi.com/entertainment/article/Breasts-buttocks-banned-by-CBS-from-Grammys-4260323.php?cmpid=emailarticle&cmpid=emailarticle

See, Was Beyoncé’s racy Super Bowl outfit too much? Parents’ backlash over ‘trampy’ stage costume http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2273282/Was-Beyonc-s-racy-Super-Bowl-outfit-Parents-backlash-trampy-stage-costume.html?ito=feeds-newsxml#axzz2KQqoELyE

One of the hallmarks of a generation or a cohort are attitudes which were formed by the period of time in which the generation or cohort existed. Perhaps, the best capsule to explain the attitude differences between the early days of the women’s movement and the sex is one way to climb the ladder of success ethos of the Sex in the City crowd is in the Dolly Parton movie, 9 to 5 which was released in 1980. It is interesting to read the NOW 1966 Statement of Purpose which states principles such as:

WE BELIEVE that it is as essential for every girl to be educated to her full potential of human ability as it is for every boy — with the knowledge that such education is the key to effective participation in today’s economy and that, for a girl as for a boy, education can only be serious where there is expectation that it will be used in society. We believe that American educators are capable of devising means of imparting such expectations to girl students. Moreover, we consider the decline in the proportion of women receiving higher and professional education to be evidence of discrimination. This discrimination may take the form of quotas against the admission of women to colleges, and professional schools; lack of encouragement by parents, counselors and educators; denial of loans or fellowships; or the traditional or arbitrary procedures in graduate and professional training geared in terms of men, which inadvertently discriminate against women. We believe that the same serious attention must be given to high school dropouts who are girls as to boys.

The naive little idea which NOW was enunciating at the time that was that women should get educated and gain experience so that they would be qualified on their merits for promotion. Women’s ENews has an article about the casting couch syndrome which the movie 9 to 5 highlighted and the early women’s movement fought so hard to overcome. In the article Sexual Harassment  Sandra Kobrin correctly takes the likes of Polanski and Letterman to task.

Marc D. Hauser writes in the Education Week commentary, Don’t Run Away From Teaching Pop Culture:

Check out the music children listen to, and you will hear rap and hip-hop songs about sex, violence, women as objects, and domination. Sometimes the questionable language is explicit and sometimes it’s implicit, veiled in metaphors. Ask children if the content is appropriate or what the song is about, and you will get one of four answers:

“I don’t know. I just like the music.”

“I don’t know, but it’s OK because it doesn’t have any swears in it.”

“I know it has cursing in it so I listen to the ‘clean’ version.”

“I know it’s about sex and violence, but I like the beat.”

When children think that music is inappropriate, most often they believe that the moral infraction lies with the use of profanity. If you clean up the words, you cleanse the moral space and thus are free to listen, they believe. In fact, YouTube is littered with tunes that are designated “clean” because censors have “bleeped out” the swearing in them. But that really isn’t good enough.

There are two problems with editing out profanity and acting as if a song is subsequently appropriate for all listeners. First, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what words have been papered over and then mentally fill them in as the song goes by. Second, I think it is fair to assume that most parents and educators are far more worried about the larger meaning of a song—its message—than we are about a few bad words….

The bottom line is that educators (and parents) can’t run away from these issues, and we certainly can’t keep the material from children unless we believe that a life without radio and the Internet is possible; similar issues arise with books and movies, including many of the topics covered within the Twilight and Hunger Games series….

Although these issues are critical for parents, I’m going to focus here on what educators can, and I believe should, do to address this matter.

“Teachers should actively engage their students in discussions about the controversial material bombarding them.”

First, we must recognize that our students are surrounded by material that is, in many ways, not only age-inappropriate, but in some cases, morally inappropriate. Although what counts as morally inappropriate is certainly debatable, I would hope that most educators might agree on some topics, such as the barrage of rap songs that demean women or seem to promote violence as cool and exciting.

Second, we cannot sit back and let our students passively digest this material. No, instead, teachers should actively engage their students in discussions about the controversial material bombarding them.

More concretely, it should be a priority of all schools to develop classes around the lyrics in present-day music and to fully engage with the fiction that many of our children seek out. Literature classes provide a natural home for these topics; after all, great literature addresses moral challenges. Think Anna Karenina, Adam Bede, David Copperfield. So why not do the same for the song lyrics and for many of the most popular works of fiction on the market now? Or, if high school English teachers are too busy with other tasks, why not create electives centered around the moral issues that modern songs and books raise? http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/06/20hauser.h32.html?tkn=RYCFHYHX7zZNkAI6qv8hs9lOI5U7ENQ%2BQ9Wo&cmp=clp-sb-ascd&intc=es

The American Psychological Association has written a report Sexualization of Girls and the Executive Summary contains the following definition:

There are several components to sexualization, and these set it apart from healthy sexuality. Sexualization occurs when

  • a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;
  • a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;
  • a person is sexually objectified—that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or
  • sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person.

All four conditions need not be present; any one is an indication of sexualization. The fourth condition (the inappropriate imposition of sexuality) is especially relevant to children. Anyone (girls, boys, men, women) can be sexualized. But when children are imbued with adult sexuality, it is often imposed upon them rather than chosen by them. Self-motivated sexual exploration, on the other hand, is not sexualization by our definition, nor is age-appropriate exposure to information about sexuality.        http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx

This society is setting up women and girls to make some personally destructive choices which have nothing to do with a liberating and healthy sexuality. Much of the culture is simply aimed at demeaning and trivializing women. Children of both sexes need to be urged toward education, training, and life experiences which grow them as responsible and caring people. They should be urged to make choices which benefit them and the society in which they live. Unfortunately, there are some who enter the world of whoredom because they are forced. There is a lot of information about human trafficking No one in their right mind would honestly advocate that someone they care about was “in the life” or “on the game.” But if young women are going to voluntarily take the road of whoredom, then you need to sell yourselves for Goldman Sachs type $$$$$$$$$$. That is what Miley, Britney, Janet and the other pop tarts have done. Short of that, you might as well be walking the streets looking for a really nice car that isn’t leased so that you can become the next “Pretty Woman.”

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These people are flippin crazy: Hoarders ‘Octomom’ and those Kansas sperm donor folks

4 Jan

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: There are hoarders of all types. The Mayo Clinic defines hoarding:

Hoarding is the excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them. Hoarding often creates such cramped living conditions that homes may be filled to capacity, with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter. Some people also collect animals, keeping dozens or hundreds of pets often in unsanitary conditions.

Hoarding, also called compulsive hoarding and compulsive hoarding syndrome, may be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). But many people who hoard don’t have other OCD-related symptoms.

People who hoard often don’t see it as a problem, making treatment challenging. But intensive treatment can help people who hoard understand their compulsions and live safer, more enjoyable lives.                                                     http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hoarding/DS00966

Mayo describes the symptoms of hoarders. Society has allowed hoarders to go from collecting menageries of animals to collecting children. Two examples, ‘Octomom’ and those Kansas ‘sperm donor’ folks.

Jessica Wakeman of the blog, The Frisky lists, 15 Freaky Facts About Octomom:

But she isn’t the only person we should be upset with; so many others are enabling what Octomom is doing with her kids. From the doctors who put the in-vitro eggs into Suleman to the film crew to the people who buy gossip mags about her kids — they are all contributing to this insane fetishism. The poor kids are the ones who’re suffering!

After the jump, 15 things I learned from the Times article on Octomom so you, too, can lose hope for our culture if this is what constitutes “parenting” these days.

  1. The Times reportedly visited while a film crew from the British division of Eyeworks, a TV company in the Netherlands, was on hand to film “Octomom: Me And My 14 Kids.” Suleman says she hates having TV cameras around. “It’s a Catch-22,” Suleman told the reporter. “I’m damned if I do what I need to do with the media to support my kids, and I’m damned if I don’t. If I don’t, I can’t take care of them…I made these choices out of the midst of being in survivor mode. I think 99 percent of people would have made the same decision.” (No, actually 99 percent of people wouldn’t have gotten impregnated with eight babies after they already had six children and then carried all eight babies to term. But that’s just my opinion.)
  2. Daysun Perkins, Vice President of Development for the film company making the Octomom documentary, has similarly wackadoo rationalizations for what his film crew is doing in the Suleman home. “When I started to look at the possibilities here, and spent some time with Nadya and the family, it started to feel really … important,” Perkins told the Times. Important for whom?
  3. Past work by the director filming the Octomom documentary include classics such as “Half-Ton Mum,” “Half-Ton Dad,” and “Half-Ton Son.”
  4. A member of the film crew told the Times that when the crew first began to come to their house, the kids would stand at the windows and yell “Go away! Go away!” apparently because they thought they were paparazzi. But lately, he proudly told the reporter, the kids don’t say anything about the film crew at all.
  5. The crew filmed some kind of photo montage of each child on a board that’s slanted at a 70-degree angle, which involved strapping each baby on with a piece of Velcro.
  6. Octomom says she became impregnated with the octuplets because she had all these leftover embryos which she didn’t want her doctor to throw away. “I just decided to take the chance because I didn’t want to destroy the embryos,” she said. “That was the main focus — not like: ‘Oh, gosh! I really want eight!’ People were thinking, ‘Oh, she wanted so, so many.’ No!”
  7. The children’s welfare representative from the state of California, who’s supposed to keep the Suleman kids in compliance with child labor laws, thinks everything is A-OK in the house.
  8. Suleman doesn’t believe her plastic surgery at all resembles Angelina Jolie.
  9. The film crew members call the loud, snorting way Suleman chuckles her “manic depressive laugh.”
  10. A lot of the Suleman kids have these New Age-y parenting names, like Makai, Mayliah, Amerah and Calyssa. That’s not child abuse, but it is pretty stupid.
  11. Four-year-old son Aiden has autism. I’m sure he gets lots of attention for that, considering he has 13 siblings.
  12. Octomom received $169,000 in disability payments between 2000 and 2008 and has spent a lot of her adult life living with her parents.
  13. She thinks getting herself a job would be “ludicrous” and “absurd.” What, so she’s just going to exploit her kids for the rest of their lives?
  14. This quote from Octomom is priceless: “One of the funniest things I’ve ever heard was a Denny’s joke. It said there was a new thing on the menu, that you could get eight eggs, no sausage and the person in the next seat gets to pay the bill. I thought that was absolutely hilarious!” Ha ha.
  15. Actually, no, this quote from Octomom is priceless: “[The small children are] able to conceptualize that, O.K., we don’t necessarily want this. But it’s controlled.”

[The New York Times]

http://www.thefrisky.com/2009-11-13/scary-things-about-octo-mom-and-her-14-kids/

Jessica, you go girl! Tell it like it is!

Just when you thought the idiot of the century title was firmly attached to Ms. Suleman’s noggin, comes a story out of Kansas which gives “Octomon” competition. Gossip on This is reporting in the post, Kansas Sperm Donor Sued for Child Support After Lesbian Couple Files for Medicaid:

Donating sperm is supposed to be one of two things: 1) A great way to raise some extra cash or 2) A kind gesture to help a couple achieve their parenting dreams.

One thing it’s not supposed to lead to: A lawsuit for owed child support.

The arrangement between sperm donors and couples seeking fertility treatment usually means that the donor relinquishes parental rights and financial responsibility for any of the children produced by his seed.

That’s the impression William Marotta (pictured above) of Topeka, Kansas had when he responded to a Craigslist ad put out by a lesbian couple seeking a sperm donor, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

But now that one of the women involved in his transaction has fallen on hard times and applied for Medicaid for the daughter who was created with Marotta’s sperm, the state of Kansas is now SUING him for child support.

Here are the important details from the Capital-Journal:

Marotta recalled Monday how he donated sperm in March 2009 to a Topeka lesbian couple after responding to an ad they had placed on Craigslist. Marotta and the women, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, signed an agreement relinquishing all parental rights and responsibilities regarding the child, a daughter Schreiner bore after being artificially inseminated.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families is now trying to have Marotta declared the 3-year-old girl’s father and forced to pay child support. The state contends the agreement is moot because those involved failed to meet the requirement of Kansas statute 23-2208(f) that Schreiner have a licensed physician perform the artificial insemination.

At the time Marotta made the sperm donation, Bauer and Schreiner had been together for eight years and already had adopted several other children. Schreiner stayed home with the children while Bauer worked. The couple split in December 2010, but continue to co-parent their eight children, who range in age from 3 months to 25 years.

Bauer was diagnosed this past March with what she only would describe as “a significant illness” that prevents her from working. Schreiner then went to the state to obtain health insurance for their daughter. The DCF demanded Schreiner provide the sperm donor’s name, claiming if she didn’t it would deny any health benefits because she was withholding information.Hold up. So this lesbian couple had adopted SEVERAL other children with one working parent and decided to go ahead and create an artificially inseminated child ON TOP OF THAT? And then, the ladies went ahead and split up after 8 years and 8 babies?

You know, there’s something SERIOUSLY wrong here. These ladies should’ve never been allowed to rack up this many kids by adoption agencies.

This is Nadya Suleman all over again.
http://gossiponthis.com/2013/01/03/william-marotta-kansas-sperm-donor-sued-child-support-after-lesbian-couple-files-medicaid/

People who are unprepared, emotionally, financially, and who do not have sufficient resources should not be allowed to procreate multiple children. It definitely isn’t fair to the children and society ends up with the tab. Hoarding children should not be allowed. ‘Octomom’ and the Kansas chicks are flippin crazy, were flippin crazy, and society is crazy for enabling them.

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Vapid velcroed to vapid: Kim and Kanye and the losers are the poor kids who idolize these morons

1 Jan

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: One would have to be safely ensconced under a rock to miss the announcement of vapid singer Kanye West when he proudly announced that vapid reality star Kim Kardashian was going to be his baby mama  One can only hope for their child’s sake that two negatives equal a positive.

Tierney Sneed writes in the US News article, The Winners and Losers of the Kim Kardashian-Kanye West Pregnancy:

Losers

Midori Liquor- For years Kim Kardashian didn’t drink, but she began treating herself to a cocktail or two after her 30th birthday. Coincidentally, around this time, she also signed a deal to be the face of Midori, a green liqueur, appearing in ads and hosting Midori-sponsored bashes. Kim will have to put the Midori sour down while she’s preggers. Perhaps she can find some baby formula to peddle instead.

Khloe KardashianKhloe has already tweeted her joy about her sister’s pregnancy, and there is no reason to doubt her support. But Khloe and basketball player husband Lamar Odom have had their own, well-televised issues with getting pregnant. Kim’s news, in addition to sister Kourtney’s growing brood, will increase the pressure Khloe is feeling with her fertility struggles.

Kris Humphries– Since his 72-day marriage to Kim fell apart last year—all in front of E!’s television cameras—their divorce has dragged on. That Kanye impregnated Kim without even putting an engagement ring on her finger is a slap to Humphries’ oversized face, and the announcement comes days after Humphries was sidelined a couple of games for the Brooklyn Nets due to an abdominal injury.

Winners

E!-The station that brought you Kourtney Kardashian pulling her baby out of her own womb will most likely present the Kimye pregnancy and birth in a similarly outrageous fashion. And unlike the reported $15 million deal to broadcast Kim’s wedding to Kris Humphries, babies cannot be undone.

Kris Jenner– The ultimate stage mom has much to gain if she can line up various marketing deals and endorsements for her pregnant daughter. Our guesses? A Dash maternity line, a Quick Trim lose-the-baby-weight program, Skechers baby shoes, and Kim Kardashian Perfume baby wipes. Kanye can jump on the money train by releasing his own rap nursery rhyme.

Blue Ivy– Playdates are in order for the Kimye kid and Blue Ivy, the nearly one-year-old daughter of Beyonce Knowles and Jay Z, Kanye’s recording buddy. Blue Ivy has two ways she can play this: she can embrace the Kanye and Kim’s child with open arms, and the two can be the next Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. Or Blue can give them the Beyonce cold shoulder, and the two could become the ultimate rap royalty progeny rivals, a la Paris and Nicole post-friendship break up. Either way will sell a lot of tabloids. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/12/31/the-winners-and-losers-of-the-kim-kardashian-kanye-west-pregnancy

Let moi add another group to the list of losers, the impressionable youngsters who won’t have a phalanx of nannies to relieve them of parental duties and who will often find that there is more month left than pay check or welfare check.

The first question readers might ask is, can anyone married to Ozzy Osborne and having their own reality show spout the truth? The answer on the cult of celebrity, yes. Sharon Osborne is right that the cult of celebrity detracts from honoring true heroes and destroys any attempt to instill positive values in children. We have a whole generation of young women who are intelligent and could have wonderful careers and families who now aspire to be nothing more than highly paid sluts and whores. In Sharon Osbourne: The dark side of fame…and why the cult of celebrity is destroying today’s children Sharon says:

How depressing that the loftiest ambition a child of 14 can summon up is to have breasts the size of barrage balloons. It was bad enough that she regarded ‘being famous’ as a worthy goal – not ‘being talented’, you note.

When Ozzy was starting out as a musician in Black Sabbath, for him and his contemporaries fame was simply a by-product of doing something they loved, not an end in itself. Of course, they wanted to be successful and to make money, but they certainly didn’t expect it and that wasn’t the reason they were in a band.

Today, though, young people regard fame as a birthright. They have a sense of entitlement the size of one of my houses.

I recently heard about the work of an American psychologist who discovered that in the Fifties only 12 per cent of youngsters agreed with the statement, ‘I am an important person’. By the end of the Eighties, that figure had risen to 80 per cent. I think we can all guess what it is now.

Children leaving school today no longer want to be doctors or lawyers or architects. All I ever hear is ‘I wanna be famous’, or ‘ I wanna be a celeb’.

There is an epidemic of fame-obsessed youngsters – aged between ten and 25 – who wrongly believe celebrity is a shortcut to wealth and happiness, and who are convinced it will bring them everything they want. An entire generation that doesn’t understand that nothing worth having comes easily.

I’m not a politician – and that’s politics’ loss – but it seems obvious to me that many teenagers part company with the schools system with little or no actual education.

And because the traditional family unit has more or less collapsed, these children probably haven’t been brought up with any real values. We used to call them latch-key kids. How many people do you honestly know who sit down together and have a family dinner every night?

You preach, sister!

Survival values are positive values. Those not blessed with the economic wherewithal of West and Kardashian have to survive in the world of working folk and those who don’t exist in the Disneyland of multimillionaires. Denise Witmer’s  Teaching Positive Values and Morals – Why It is Important? describes some positive values:

Values are the desirable principles in someone’s character that society considers worthwhile. Friendliness and courage are values. Morals work with the judgment of values as they emerge in actions. ..

  • are successful in their relationships with other people. They know how to treat another person with respect and know how to earn respect from other people. They are the type of people who you find you want to be friends with.

  • contribute positively to society by reaching beyond themselves out into their community. They get involved and help where they can.

  • take responsibility for their actions. They try to fix any mistakes they make. They are capable of feeling a sense of accomplishment when they finish a task. People who do not have base values aren’t even able to feel good about doing something right.

  • are capable of learning and growing both socially and emotionally.

  • are generally happier. They grab on to the best of what life has to offer them. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel when life gets tough.
    Success in life is picked up in bits and pieces along our journey.

As a society, we are either not transmitting good values and/or not rewarding those who display good values and really are the heroes who make this world a better place to live. Probably the answer is yes on both counts. West, Kardashian and their ilk are not heroes, they are whores and the only question these bimbos ask is Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover? Too bad some of these morons don’t discover some good values.

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Suicide of the duchess’ nurse: Should people be accorded dignity because they are human?

8 Dec

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi is pondering the meaning of the human condition and has the question what is human and humane when dealing with a fellow traveler on life’s road. This rumination was prompted by the suicide of one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s nurses after the woman was “punked” by two Australian DJs. Most likely there were also other underlying issues which may have contributed to the nurse being vulnerable to the loss of dignity and potentially a loss of employment due to the prank. Here is the story as told by Ellie Krupnick and Jessica Misener in the Huffington Post article, Kate Middleton’s Hospital Nurse Found Dead In London Days After Being Duped By Prank Callers:

The hospital nurse who put through a prank call to Kate Middleton’s private nurse earlier this week has been found dead in a suspected suicide, the Daily Mail reports.

Jacintha Saldanha was found unconscious on Friday morning nearby King Edward VII Hospital in London, where she worked. A Scotland Yard spokesman said that the police were called and an ambulance arrived, but the woman was declared dead at the scene.

The Daily Mail speculates that “one source indicated that the woman appeared to have killed herself.” A rep for Scotland Yard only stated, “The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage.”

“It is with deep sadness as I can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha,” said John Lofthouse, chief executive of the hospital, said in a statement. “Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for over four years. She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues. We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her through this very difficult time. Jacintha was a first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family and her friends. Thank you.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/07/kate-middleton-nurse-found-dead-prank-callers_n_2257231.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

One can only speculate that whatever advantage the DJs received was probably a temporary bump in ratings and that there will have to be other stunts more and more outrageous to sustain any ratings advantage. The question is at what cost to the person or person(s) who are “punked” next time?

This is the RCN’s definition of dignity:

Dignity is concerned with how people feel, think and behave in relation to the worth or value of themselves and others. To treat someone with dignity is to treat them as being of worth, in a way that is respectful of them as valued individuals.    http://www.rcn.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/191730/003298.pdf

Moi is probably on safe territory stating the concept of dignity of the human person was probably not uppermost in the minds of the Australian DJs.

Good Character.Com has a curriculum for K-12 students, many adults would be enriched by reviewing the lessons. Given the current society, many adults probably think the character lessons are for wusses or other losers, but here they are:

HOW TO TREAT OTHERS WITH RESPECT

Treating people with respect makes your world a nicer place to live in, whether it’s at home, at school, or out in your community. And it’s easy – all you have to do is treat people the way you like to have them treat you. Here are a few ideas.

Don’t insult people or make fun of them.
• Listen to others when they speak.
• Value other people’s opinions.
• Be considerate of people’s likes and dislikes.
• Don’t mock or tease people.
• Don’t talk about people behind their backs.
• Be sensitive to other people’s feelings.
• Don’t pressure someone to do something he or she doesn’t want to do.

We live in a diverse nation made up of many different cultures, languages, races, and backgrounds. That kind of variety can make all our lives a lot more fun and interesting, but only if we get along with each other. And to do that we have to respect each other. In addition to the list above, here are some ways we can respect people who are different from us.

Try to learn something from the other person.
• Never stereotype people.
• Show interest and appreciation for other people’s cultures and backgrounds.
• Don’t go along with prejudices and racist attitudes. http://www.goodcharacter.com/BCBC/RespectingOthers.html

Not only would the world be a better and more livable place if our fellow humans treated others more humanely, but one poor nurse might have lived long enough to deal with her other demons.

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Twisting ourselves into another’s distorted view of what we should be

3 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: What do an anchor in Wisconsin and a young woman who looks like a kewpie doll have in common? They are responding to a twisted worldview. Sarah B. Weir wrote the Shine article, Real-life Anime Girl: Anastasiya Shpagina’s Bizarre Make-up Tutorial, which got moi thinking.

It takes Shpagina about an hour to achieve her doe-eyed look—don’t worry, the video is only six minutes long. Photographs on her Facebook fan page show a dangerously waifish young woman with deep crimson hair. She says she would like to one day have surgery to reshape her eyes and nip in her waist even more drastically. Shpagina is reported to weigh only about 90 pounds. Her VK page is posted with images that inspire her such as dragonflies, flowers, butterflies, tiny deer, and other woodland creatures, but her true muse is Valerie Lukyanova, the 21-year-old who sparked controversy in the spring by using plastic surgery and photo retouching to become a real-life Barbie. http://shine.yahoo.com/beauty/real-life-anime-girl-anastasiya-shpagina-8217-bizarre-172400323.html

Now contrast Ms. Shpagina’s story with Emily Bazelon’s Slate report, Check Out Jennifer Livingston’s Awesome Retort to Fat Shaming:

Go Jennifer Livingston! That’s the verdict since the Wisconsin news anchor went on air to stand up for herself against a fat-shaming email from a viewer. Here’s the mean message:

Subject: Community Responsibility

Hi Jennifer,

It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years.

Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

And here’s Livington’s heartfelt response. She delivers it with exactly the right amount of outrage and sensitivity. A video is part of the article, so one can view Ms. Livingston’s comments in their entirety.

Bazelon excerpts the following remarks:

My favorite parts: “The truth is I am overwieght. You can call me fat. Even obsese on a doctor’s chart. Do you think I don’t know that? You’re not a friend of mine. You’re not part of my family. … You know nothing about me that you don’t see on the outside. I am much more than a number on a scale.” Building to: “This behavior is learned. It is passed down. If you’re at home and you’re talking about the fat news lady, guess what, your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.”

Livingston ends by reminding adults to teach by example, and exhorting children who feel lost—because of weight or color or sexual preference or acne—”Do not let your self worth be defined by bullies.” She points out that it’s Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and she has crafted an excellent message for the occasion. http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/10/03/wisconsin_news_anchor_jennifer_livingston_stands_up_to_fat_shaming_watch_the_video_.html

The culture seems to be sexualizing children at an ever younger age and it becomes more difficult for parents and guardians to allow children to just remain, well children, for a bit longer. Still, parents and guardians must do their part to make sure children are in safe and secure environments. A pole dancing fourth grader is simply unacceptable.

A recent example of the culture sexualizing women involves starlet, Dakota Fanning. Sean Poulter is reporting in the Daily Mail article, Dakota Fanning’s ‘Lolita’ perfume ad for Marc Jacobs is banned for ‘sexualising children’

A perfume advertisement featuring teen actress Dakota Fanning has been banned on the basis it appeared to ‘sexualise a child’.

The actress is 17, but she looked younger in the magazine ad for ‘Oh Lola!’, where she was sitting on the floor with the perfume bottle between her thighs.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2059097/Dakota-Fannings-sexually-provocative-perfume-ad-banned.html#ixzz1dImHgIQP

Moi loves fashion and adores seeing adult looks on adults. Many 20 and 30 somethings prefer what I would charitably call the “slut chiclook. This look is questionable fashion taste, in my opinion, but at least the look involves questionable taste on the part of adults as to how they present themselves to the public. http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/children-too-sexy-for-their-years/

The Girl Scouts of America has some great suggestions for dealing with a reality television world. Here are suggestions from Girls Scouts Research about how parents can talk to their children about reality television Unfortunately, this sexualization of the culture has lead to a blurring of the lines between reality show life and real life and many are unable to distinguish between the two.

Dr. Wilda has been just saying for quite a while.

Resources

  1. Popwatch’s Miley Cyrus Pole Dance Video

  2. Baby Center Blog Comments About Miley Cyrus Pole Dance

  3. The Sexualization of Children

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The Whitney Kropp story: What’s wrong with teaching kids the ‘Golden Rule’????

30 Sep

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: At the core of bullying is a basic lack of respect for the individual who is being bullied, no matter the pretext for the bullying. The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World At the core of all bullying is a failure to recognize another’s humanity and a basic lack of respect for life. At the core of the demand for personal expression and failure to tolerate opinions which are not like one’s own is a self-centeredness which can destroy the very society it claims to want to protect.

 

The Daily Mail has written an excellent synopsis of the bullying incident involving Whitney Kropp in the article, You shall go to the prom! Bullied teen who was saved by kindness of town after cruel prank shows off her new hair ahead of big night:

Whitney Kropp, 16, elected to homecoming court earlier this month – only to find out it had been a prank by popular students

  • Facebook page set up in support of sophomore, and donations pour in for her hair, make-up and a dress for the homecoming dance tonight
  • More than 1,000 showed up at homecoming game last night to support her
  • ‘The kids that are bullying you, do not let them bring you down,’ Whitney said after ceremony…

But her triumph turned to humiliation when she found out from other students that her nomination was nothing but a prank by the popular kids at the school – and she was told that the male student who was elected with her had withdrawn.

She said the prank hit hard and she even considered suicide.

But in an impressive show of support, her community rallied around her.

Local businesses offered to pay for her homecoming dress and shoes, for her to get her hair done, and even to buy her homecoming dance dinner.

A Support Whitney Facebook page has received more than 100,000 likes, after her heartbreaking tale of bullying resonated with hundreds of thousands around the country.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2210429/Whitney-Kropp-Bullied-teen-saved-kindness-town-cruel-prank-shows-new-hair-ahead-big-night.html#ixzz27yVwUzw0

A natural question is whether “values education” in schools would affect the number of instances of bullying? For a really good description of the goal of “values education,” see Teaching Values in School: An Interview with Steve Johnson http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v13n1/interview.html

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World

At its simplest, it’s really just “being kind.” Caring about other people. That means putting that kindness into action and treating people with compassion. It means trying to understand people’s beliefs and needs. It means not harming others and actively working to eliminate harm….
What concrete steps can people take to start to put the Rule into practice?

Practically, there are steps that institutions and individuals can take to make a difference.

Institutionally, there are anti-discrimination and accommodation policies you can put into place to ensure that employees aren’t unduly thwarted in their ability to practice their religions. Educational institutions can make sure that teachers are properly trained to create inclusive, multi-cultural and multi-religious classrooms. And hospitals can work proactively with patients who may not want treatment that conflicts with their religion.

There are also things we can all do on the individual level. We can notice people who are not from our own group – people who have different practices or beliefs – and be interested in them. We can be curious about who they are and what their lives are like, without applying stereotypes. We can ask questions with curiosity and respect and truly listen to and digest the answers. And we can be willing to share about ourselves, our own beliefs and our own experiences.

Finally, we can work together, whether in workplaces, schools, community groups or governments to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints are
involved in decision-making. By making all voices heard – and really listening to each of those voices – we can solve many of the problems we face together.

And when we do that, we’ll get to the gold.

Some form of the “Golden Rule” is found in most religious traditions.

Misunderstandings Which Could Divide Religious Conservatives and Secularists

There are probably as many chances for understanding and misunderstanding as there are people. For many secularists, they probably wince when they hear some person like this blogger state that they believe The Bible is the inspired word of God. The question inevitably turns to what does that mean for me and how I will be treated? The honest answer is, it will probably vary depending on the individual. Still, although there are certain individual passages of The Bible other religious texts which can be harsh, the admonition is to look at the entire book, as in the case of Christianity. Christians are clearly mandated to love their neighbor.

On the other hand, many Christians and others of faith assume that because they take a strong stance for their belief, many of those who are secularists will automatically dismiss them and their beliefs. Again, this may or may not be an individual perception. If there is anything good which can come out of these tragic instances of bullying, perhaps it will be to spur people on to greater understanding with the intention of being tolerant of people who are not like us.

Anthony B. Robinson, President of Congregational Leadership Northwest has an excellent post at Crosscut, which although written specifically about religious tolerance, is really a good piece about tolerance in general. In Why Religious People Can Be More tolerant Than Secularists? Robinson writes talking about Rabbi Jonathan Sacks thoughts:

The secularist may argue for tolerance. Tolerance is a hallmark virtue of modernity, and certainly a necessary one. But is it sufficient?

At least sometimes, tolerance masks indifference. The person who breezily declares that, “Well, all religions are really just the same, only different paths up the same mountain,” may not be that helpful or persuasive to those whose faith is at the core of their life and culture. People who dismiss religious faith often end up dismissing people of faith. They lack the vocabulary and points of reference to enter into some of the most important conversations….

We need people who have mined their own religious traditions deeply. We need people who are used to carrying diamonds and so know something of the value of rubies. We need people and communities of faith that are both deeply rooted in their own tradition and radically open to people of other faiths and traditions.

Sometimes in modern and Western cultures we imagine that the person best equipped to be truly tolerant is the person without any deep or particular religious or world-view commitments of his or her own and who, as such, is assumed to be open to all. It is the myth of detached objectivity.

Sacks argues for a different option, something more and something deeper than tolerance: a radical openness and respect for the faith and traditions of others, because one is so deeply rooted in one’s own.

Religious people need to mine their own religious traditions which will lead them back to the “Golden Rule.” Secularists need to examine the practicality of the “Golden Rule.” The “Golden Rule” is the beginning of tolerance.

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