Mass Media May Prompt Kids to Try Sex

On April 3, 2006, Reuters reported on study which appears in the April, 2006 issue of the journal, Pediatrics, that found, (are you ready?) that kids who watch a lot of sexy movies, sexy TV, listen to sexy music, and look at sexy magazines have intercourse at an earlier age than kids that don't. I know, you're shocked. You probably didn't realize before that sensory stimulation leads to getting horney, and getting horney leads to having sex.

Exposure to sexual content not only in movies and TV but also in music and magazines speeds up the sexual activity of white teens, increasing their chances of early intercourse, a new study contends.

The link between sex-filled media and early intercourse was not as apparent for black teens, who were found to be more influenced by parents and peers, said Jane D. Brown, the lead author of the study, which appears in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.

"The unique part of this study is, we're finding this effect not only for television but for all four media content -- TV, movies, music and magazines," said Brown, the James L. Knight professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

So much for the abstinence based crap that the President is peddling when the media is full of sexual stimulation. Is it a wonder that the kids want to screw?

White teens in the top fifth of the "sexual media" diet when 12 to 14 years of age were more than twice as likely to have had intercourse by age 14 to 16, compared to those ranking in the lowest fifth.

The same finding did not hold true black teens. Brown's team found other factors were more likely to predict whether they would have early intercourse, such as parental disapproval of teen sex.

By age 16, according to the study, 55 percent of the white teens who had the most exposure to sexual content had started having sexual intercourse, compared to 6 percent of those in the lowest segment.

I remember working with a child psychiatrist back in the 80s, Dr. David Miller. Dr. Miller had a saying which he referred to as "Miller's maxim" which is the best advice I have ever heard on this topic. Miller's maxim is "If you don't want to gratify, don't stimulate." Of course, I heard the same lecture in 6th grade from Sister Mary Margaret who chastised us boys about indulging in our "impure thoughts" and the need to avoid the "near occasion of sin". Although, many of us laugh about the pruitanical Catholic upbringing we endured in the 50s, there is something to be said for it, and perhaps there is a wisdom in it that we would do well to recognize and utilize.

Link: MedlinePlus: Mass Media May Prompt Kids to Try Sex: Study.

Walk the Line, the film

Johnny_cash I tried to like this movie, I really did. I love Johnny Cash and June Carter, always have.

I put off seeing this movie because I was afraid of being disappointed. You know how they say that your fantasies and imagination are better some times than reality so why spoil your fantasies? The critics though said this movie was great so I went to see it.

I don't care what the critics say, Joaquin Phoenix is not Johnny Cash. It's not his fault. He tried hard, but it looked like a high school play where the kids give it their heart but aren't quite mature enough to pull the parts off. Reese Witherspoon was good and maybe will even get an academy award but she has spent her career playing cutsey ditsey blondes, and, in my mind, she couldn't quite pull it off either.

Like so many movie biographies, if you know anything about the people's lives, it is always disappointing because of what was skipped over or not mentioned, what was taken out of context and skewed for dramatic effect, and what was depicted in ways that were inaccuate even if there was a kernal of truth to it.

I am in the minority to say that I didn't like this movie and was disappointed. Of course, I expected to be, so I didn't watch it in the best frame of mind. It was entertaining but Joaquin Phoenix is not Johnny Cash, and Reese Witherspoon is not June Carter and nothing I saw in this movie convinced me that they were.

Link: Walk the Line (2005).

Thanksgiving courtesy of Panhala

Joe Riley does a great job at Panhala with his beautiful pictures and lovely poetry. He outdoes himself this Thanksgiving with this beautiful slide show and Cherokee hymm. I highly recomend it.

It's been a hard year for so many around the world, but for most of us, there is much for which to be thankful.  There is a part of every day to savor.
This bonus track is a way for me to express my thanks.  It is simply a slide show of pretty pictures to remind me of the beauty that is there to be seen.  The music is "Cherokee Morning Song" by Walela, sung in the original language.  It translates, roughly, as "I am of the Great Spirit/We are all of the Great Spirit/It is so/It is so" -- trust me, it sounds better in Cherokee....
If you're interested:

Hustle & Flow, the film

Hustle_and_flow Most of the critics liked Hustle and Flow. It won some awards at Sundance for the "audience award" and the cinematagraphy award.

"Rapper DJay (Howard) works the angles to get his first record made, with help from assorted people in his Memphis 'hood. And when he hears that rap superstar Skinny Black (Ludacris) is heading to his area, he throws together a supreme hustle to grab Skinny's attention."

DJay's attempt to get Skinny's attention goes wrong, and DJay assaults Skinny which winds him up in jail just as a couple of his rap songs get radio play and he starts to get some recognition.

The problem that I have with this movie is that it seems to portray DJay, a pimp and a drug dealer, as having one big chance to hit it big and make something of his life, and that chance is to become a rapper.

This seems like a very narrow set of options to me and probably sends the wrong message to urban youth that life is confined to the streets or becoming a rapper hoodlum.

There is something about DJay, though, that you like. He wants to, and tries to improve his life, to become something better than the drug dealing pimp that he is. He tells his "primary investor", his highest earning prostitute, that "we are in charge" not the trick. In fact, his first big rap song has a refrain, "Whoop that trick".

So while DJay and his girls live the street life, they want to believe that they are in charge and can have something better. The point of the movie is never to take away or give up on a person's dream. DJay is hopeful and perhaps it is this hopefulness, against all odds, that give a bleak movie some socially redeeming value.

I recommend this movie with reservations.

Link: Hustle & Flow (2005).

The Secret of Getting to Sleep? Music

"Having trouble sleeping? Don't bother with a cup of cocoa or counting sheep -- listening to music at bedtime is the way to get a restful night, Taiwanese researchers have found.

In a paper published in the February issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing, a team from Taiwan's Tzu Chi University said they studied the sleep patterns of 60 people between 60 and 83 years who had difficulty sleeping.

Half were given relaxing music to listen to for 45 minutes at bedtime and half were given no help to sleep.

The team found that those who listened to a selection of soft, slow music experienced physical changes that aided restful sleep, such as lower heart and respiratory rates."

Golly gee wheez, maybe I'm not crazy after all. I have been listening to music to fall asleep for years and to go back to sleep after I wake up in the middle of the night. Works like a charm for me.

Based on my personal experience I have also recommended it to my patients for years. Now, I feel validated that the practice is borne out by some research.

My favorite? I change CDs every couple of weeks. Once of my favorites is Burt Bacharach and Ron Eisley's album, Here I Am. Not only does it put me to sleep, but I find myself humming their tunes during the day. They always put me in a good mood.

Last night I went to sleep with Diana Krall.

Link: MedlinePlus: The Secret of Getting to Sleep? Music.