- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2003

Boys forever

“Psychologists have told us for decades that girls mature faster than boys, and our analysis of their television preference confirms that. Seven in 10 girls ages 13 to 16 (71 percent), for instance, watch what we called in this survey ‘adult dramas’ — shows such as ‘CSI’ and ‘Law and Order’ — compared with just 57 percent of boys in that age group. … [F]emales, regardless of age, are consistently more interested in serious, complex shows than are their male counterparts. …

“Boys, on the other hand, will be boys … well into their 20s. The vast majority (85 percent) of males ages 13 to 16 say they watch ‘youth comedies,’ such as ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ and ‘8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.’ This makes sense, given that young teens are the primary target of these shows. But 84 percent of men ages 21 to 25 also watch youth comedies. … Young men are also more likely than females, at every age, to enjoy ‘youth reality shows’ such as ‘Fear Factor’ and ‘The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.’”

Rebecca Gardyn, writing on “Almost Adults,” in the September issue of American Demographics

Progress, bad

“It has long been a touchstone of ‘progress’ that place, and attachment to it, is an anachronism. Our communities are no longer geographical but communities of interest. Barriers are broken down by the mass media, technology and trade laws. Rootless, we gain freedom. Placeless, we belong everywhere.

“Yet placelessness and rootlessness create not contentment but despair. Ask an unwilling refugee; ask an alienated 20-something working in a bank in any of the world’s megacities; ask a postmodern novelist. …

“But the citizens of nowhere ultimately inhabit an empty world. They can sample the food of every nation, but they will never know how it is grown. … They drink the finest bottled water from their minibars, but they have never drunk from a mountain stream. Never staying in one place long enough to understand it, they take the best of everything but never truly care about any of it. Disconnected from reality, they can make decisions that destroy real places, to which people are connected, at the stroke of a pen.

“Like the Victorians who shouldered the white man’s burden, the citizens of nowhere are utterly unable to grasp why anybody would not want to be like them.”

—Paul Kingsnorth, writing on “The citizens of nowhere,” in the Sept. 1 issue of New Statesman

Monumental fight

“Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is famously perturbed that the Ten Commandments have been banned from public display at his state’s judicial complex. He and his cohorts, who saw the tablets moved a week ago today, warn that the refusal to ‘acknowledge God’ will eventually have dire consequences, such as the destruction of America. Brother Roy is trying to save us and he gets nothing but trouble in return. …

“A little empathy might be in order for Roy and his allies. These people suddenly find themselves strangers in a very strange land.

“Many of them, after all, grew up at a time when the school day started with prayer. Invocations at public events were routine, whether local government functions or football games, and God embellished state mottos and public buildings across the country. …

“Parents are perhaps most sensitive to these changes. We remember when kids were required to memorize poetry, speeches, and — yikes! — Bible passages. These days our kids couldn’t recite a psalm or the Gettysburg Address if the Terminator put a bazooka to their head. Instead of contemplating the transcendent mysteries, etc., their brains echo with inane pop lyrics and advertising jingles. The little dears seem almost supernaturally superficial.”

Dave Shiflett, writing on “Thunder Rolls?” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.org

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