In the most recent episode of “Downton Abbey” to air in America, the lady’s maid Anna Bates — whose story through four seasons has almost exclusively focused on her romance with her husband — is raped by a visiting valet. It is not the first example of sexual misconduct on the show. But it is the most sexually violent act to occur to any character. Not surprisingly, the incident has been hugely controversial.
When it first aired in the UK, viewers complained about sexual violence on an otherwise fairly frothy PBS program. (I say “fairly frothy” in a nod to the deaths of Sybil and Matthew.) The UK’s media regulatory agency declined to investigate the over 400 complaints made to both the agency and ITV, the channel on which “Downton” airs, saying that it provided a proper warning before the show about the content. But now that it has aired on PBS here in America, a large share of the criticism is coming from feminist bloggers who take issue with how the rape was handled on the show. Keep reading »
Yesterday I posted a video from non-profit Invisible Children aimed at bringing Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony to justice. Titled “KONY 2012,” the 30-minute spot has become an unstoppable viral sensation this week. Seemingly out of nowhere, the video’s popped up everywhere, on tons of friends Facebook pages, on Twitter and on countless blogs. That’s the stated goal of Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell, who made the film as a way to bring attention to the actions of Joseph Kony and hopefully help arrest and bring him to justice.
Admittedly, I posted the video yesterday without knowing much about Uganda, Kony or Invisible Children — and though I watched the video in its entirety, I can’t say I was a huge fan of it. Still, I thought, this is probably worth sharing. It’s 30 minutes out of people’s lives, and it’s worth it to spread the word about the plight of child soldiers in Uganda and the unjust, unnecessary war of terror Kony has been waging there.
But that was yesterday. Keep reading »
Conservative lady-splainer Caitlin Flanagan is handwringing over the teen girls again. No, not only in her new book, Girl Land, which frets about “eighth-grade girls who know how to roll on condoms because they’ve learned that in school.” She’s also fretting in last weekend’s New York Times op-ed page regarding the teen girls in LeRoy, New York, who came down with Tourette’s-like symptoms like tics and barking. Flanagan, who writes for The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, tied it to other cases of female mass hysteria — emphasis on the word female here — including “the Salem witch trials” and “poltergeist hauntings.”
Her diagnosis of this hysterical outbreak? Teen girls “deserve more protection.” Keep reading »
Saturday June 18 will be a creepy evening in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: it’s Daddy-Daughter Date Night at Chick-Fil-A. Dads and daughters can RSVP for tables at participating restaurants on DaddyDaughterDate.com, a site so festooned with red hearts, filigree and curlicue script that it wouldn’t look out of place on Valentine’s Day. Even though June 18 is the day before Father’s Day.
Anyone else got a case of the icks yet? Keep reading »