I realize we’re in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I just didn’t expect for a woman to bare her breasts 6” from my face on an airplane. This isn’t an April Fools gag; it’s October after all. I’m telling you the naked truth. The encounter happened on DELTA Flight #16 last Saturday.

One minute this thirty-something blonde was fully clothed. The next moment she stripped off her top revealing what Solomon poetically describes as “two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle” (7:3 NIV). These “fawns” were au naturel, as in “naked as a jaybird.”

A wardrobe malfunction? Nope. This was a deliberate full frontal exposure.

Not to quibble with the wisest man who ever lived, but Solomon was mistaken when he quipped, “There is nothing new under the sun.” After all, I’ve traveled more than 511,000 miles on DELTA and that has never happened to me before. Read the rest of this entry »

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I never met New York magazine columnist Jonathan Chait. If I have the opportunity to meet him one day, I’ll be sure to buy him lunch. After all, finding an honest liberal commentator on pop culture these days is about as rare as sighting an albino crow.

In a recent piece, The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy Is on Your Screen, Chait finally admits what conservatives used to argue, namely, that TV programming is a vast wasteland of liberal indoctrination.

Regarding Hollywood’s impact, he notes that “A trio of communications professors found that watching Will & Grace made audiences more receptive to gay rights.” Furthermore, “When Joe Biden endorsed gay marriage in May, he cited Will & Grace as the single-most important driving force in transforming public opinion on the subject.” Although I’d suggest Glee makes Will & Grace look like a couple of lightweights by comparison.

If conceding that a connection exists between extreme liberal values on TV screen and a values shift in the culture wasn’t brave enough, this self-proclaimed “liberal hawk” does something I can’t say I’ve ever witnessed any liberal journalist do—he invites his reader to empathize with conservatives:

“…think of it from the conservative point of view, if you don’t happen to be one. Imagine that large chunks of your entertainment mocked your values and even transformed once-uncontroversial beliefs of yours into a kind of bigotry that might be greeted with revulsion. You’d probably be angry, too.”

However, he rightly points out that conservatives have largely stopped publicly holding Hollywood accountable for the daily dose of excrement they shovel into our living rooms via TV. Which begs a question: Why do millions of people in fly-over country wear a muzzle when Follywood producers mock, trample upon, and vilify their core beliefs?

Chait confessions “The more uncomfortable reality is that the culture war is an ongoing liberal rout. Hollywood is as liberal as ever, and conservatives have simply despaired of changing it.” Some might argue that we shouldn’t impose our values on others. Ah, yes, but clearly Hollywood doesn’t have that issue, do they?

That said, it’s 20 years after the fact—but hats off to this brave soul for having the hutzpah to say we conservatives are right about Hollywood’s role in corrupting our culture. I wonder if he saw the light because he got married and had two children . . . funny how that works.

Curtis Jackson is a rapper who goes by the name “50 Cent” . . . I’m told that 2 out of 3 gangsters surveyed prefer to pronounce his stage name as “Fitty Cent.” So, Fitty, or if you prefer, Mr. Cent has made a pretty penny shooting his mouth off about how bad he is. Considering that his latest album Street King Immortal is slated for next month, I thought a quick recap of his rap was in order.

His 2003 debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, sold more than 12 million non-biodegradable CDs. Which is too bad—the compost pile is where that disc belongs with its graphic tales of cold blooded murder, gun slinging, point-blank gang-banging, and whacked-out-on-drugs hoodlum pabulum.

If trashing up both the airwaves AND the environment wasn’t enough, Fitty envisioned taking his twisted reality and dumping it into theaters across the country.

In 2005, Get Rich or Die Tryin’—the movie—debuted. From a sheer artistic endeavor, this flick was so bad (as in lousy) that it’s not even a worthy 99-cent rental. Let’s set aside the 200+ f-words that pulverize movie goers . . . or the full frontal nudity and pursuit of all things oral . . . or the slow-motioned, drive-by rampages . . . or the knife stabbings, gold teeth being yanked from a man’s mouth, suffocations, and close-ups of blood streaming from wounds . . . underneath all of the posing and brooding for the camera, 50/Fitty displays a sheer delight in the thug life.

The plot thickened, however, when Read the rest of this entry »

Maddonna is back in the news with her 2012 MDNA tour—in which she bares her bum and tosses in a nipple flash. No “wardrobe malfunction” here. It’s all part of the family entertainment.

Upon reading a concert review, I recalled how several years back the Blonde One lectured the world about “sin” and warned that people “are going to go to hell, if they don’t turn from their wicked behavior.” That fiery judgment came on the heels of her blasting television as an evil influence. She said, “TV is trash . . . my kids don’t watch TV.” The Naked One added, “We don’t have magazines or newspapers in the house either.”

Let’s set aside the irony of a woman who made millions leveraging her overexposure on TV now calling that medium the devil. That’s like the pot calling the kettle black, or, more to the point, like Victoria Secrets calling Ambercrombie & Fitch kinky . . . Still, she’s entitled to have a change of heart.

We were told that Maddonna’s inspiration for “holiness” came from her study of Kabbalah. That presents a problem. Not long after her alignment with Kabbalah, the queen of S&M and all things perverse hit the road in 2006 for a series of concerts. What did fans see?

Would Maddonna lecture the audience about the evils of TV? Would she offer a weepy confessional for the twenty years of sticking her cleavage in our face? Perhaps an apology for her humping and grinding every time she got in front of an MTV camera?

No. Maddy decided to mock the Christian faith by appearing crucified on a cross. I’m not entirely surprised. This is the same person who once spouted, “Crucifixes are sexy because there’s a naked man on them” (SPIN, 5/1985).

Fast forward to her MDNA Tour. This time out the 53-year-old boob crossed the lines of decency by, among other things, baring her moo-moos in Istanbul to a largely Muslim audience. Nice. Still, her shock and awe flesh-flashing schtick—”cheap thrills” as Janis Joplin would say—pales by comparison to her mixing of the crucifixes and satanic symbols (as she did in Tel Aviv).

One concert reviewer reports: “The show turns into a big Black Mass insulting Christianity. Madonna’s Black Mass included monks turning into male strippers along with guts, guns and satanic symbols being flashed on the walls.”

While various organizations have called for a boycott of her concerts, I’d take a different route. It seems to me that when someone has lost their mind so as to spit in the face of God by mocking the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, probably the best course of action is to stand back—way back—and let God handle the matter.

 

My first encounter with “Space Invaders” was at a pizza shop in 1978. Although lame by today’s HI DEF standards, that B&W video game had me dreaming of zapping aliens in my sleep. Who would have imagined Space Invaders would go on to spark an international craze of video games, with US sales pegged at $17 billion in 2011.

In a prophetic sort-of way, back in 1982 when I wrote the satirical tune “Video Veggie,” I envisioned a nation of “vidiots” glued to their screens. Turns out I was right on the money. But I digress.

Just for fun, I recorded “Video Veggie” at Morning Star Studios in Spring House, PA and pressed a thousand 45s. I mailed a copy to Dr. Demento who, demonstrating his good taste, placed it into his rotation. Within weeks it hit the coveted Dr. Demento Funny Five at #5, just behind Weird Al’s “My Bologna.”

The B-side of “Video Veggie” was another satirical tune I’d written back in college during the disco craze called, “Disco Twinky.” I mailed a copy of that novelty song to KZ106/Chattanooga who was participating in the Big America Music Contest. Low and behold, “Disco Twinky” made the album.

And while I still have a small box of 45s with these two classic underground hits somewhere in my garage gathering dust, precious few have or even know what a turntable is. As an act of grand benevolence on my part, I plan on posting “Video Veggie” for the world to enjoy in perpetuity—just as soon as I figure out how to add audio to this blog. [;o)

Meanwhile, you can hear the song in YouTube Land by clicking here . . . and don’t forget to let me know what you think.

Long before I was married with children, George Gallup, Jr., of the Gallup Poll fame, said something about parenting that has stuck with me to this day. His observation is part of my 1,000 Reasons Why We Don’t Own a TV and have no plans to get one:

“If more Americans could be persuaded to carve out of their 3 or 4 hours of television viewing each day a period of 5 minutes at bedtime and use this time to ask their child a simple question — ‘How did things go today?’ — and listen, the result in terms of individual families and society as a whole could, I believe, be highly salutary.”[1]

In the almost 30 years since making that observation, I wonder how many households embraced the message. For me, I have a tendency to take things to the max. In this case, I took George’s challenge to spend 5 minutes with the kids at bedtime and expanded it to a half hour.

Our nightly routine typically includes reading to the kids for about 30 minutes from one of the classics, followed by tucking each one in bed, asking them “What was your favorite part today?”, praying a short prayer over them, and then giving them the blessing.

No, I’m not looking for a pat on the back or a reward for these attempts to be an engaged parent. Believe me, their impromptu hugs and kisses when we’re together are gratifying enough.


[1] George Gallup, Jr., Testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Family and Human Services, 22 March 1983.

“You ain’t heard nothing yet.” The year, 1927. The film, The Jazz Singer. And, with those words, singer/actor Al Johnson ushered in the era of the “talkies”—talking motion pictures. His statement has proven to be prophetic.

It’s hard to believe what we’re hearing—and seeing—in popular films and on television today. Someone once said, “It took 50 years for films to go from silent to unspeakable.” I couldn’t agree more.

Just how far has Hollywood—and, in turn, we consumers—drifted from their original standards of decency?

Introduced in 1930, the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America defined basic standards of “good taste” and a list of do’s and don’t’s that previously governed the production of all films released by Hollywood.

By July 1, 1934, strict adherence to the code’s provisions were enforced. Few producers wanted to risk the wrath of the MPPDA and forfeit the Production Code Seal of approval—a sure bet your movie would never be shown on television, too.

One of the overriding principles of the original production code stated:

“No picture shall be produced which will lower the standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.”

Yes, the original code used the “S”-word. Or how about this doozy:

“Excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embracing, suggestive postures and gestures, are not to be shown.”

I bet the following 10 additional provisions in the code would send our modern crop of “Follywood” producers into cardiac arrest: Read the rest of this entry »