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Commentary on popular culture and society, from a (mostly) psychological perspective
What's so unfunny?
That's what some comics - citing the scarcity of satire directed at President Obama and his administration - want to know.
Claiming that his peers are "panicky" about "being called a racist," stand-up legend Jackie Mason said too many once-fearless satirists are settling for "hero worship" of the new U.S. president.
The Great Presidential Comedy Drought of 2009 can't be chalked off to a lack of satirical fodder, said comic Jeffrey Jena, founder of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy blog. ("Looking at politics and life from the right side," proclaims its motto.)
"Letterman used to do a 'Bushism of the Week.' " Why hasn't he started one with Obama?" Mr. Jena said. "There's plenty of those moments, the 'Ohs, and 'Umms' or 'I don't speak Austrian.' "
Comedian Nick DiPaolo said that although the new administration provides an opening for conservative humorists, that won't mean they suddenly start appearing on Mr. Letterman's couch.
Mr. DiPaolo, who mixes conservative-friendly material into his act, said the people behind the major entertainment shows "aren't going to let someone right of center jump into the arena."
Radio and Fox News Channel talk show host Glenn Beck, who kicks off a six-city stand-up comedy tour on June 1 in Denver, suggested that both fear and political calculation are inhibiting factors. Comedians like Mr. Letterman are "either afraid, or they know the power of comedy as a weapon and they like using it as that," he said.
Lifetime TV announced the launch of its new, father-bashing reality show Deadbeat Dads last week, and Lifetime received several thousand protest letters, calls and faxes last week. This week we take our protest to the Hearst Corporation, which owns much of Lifetime TV.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Deadbeat Dads, originally developed at Fox, follows National Child Support founder Jim Durham as he tracks down and confronts dads who don’t pay child support.” According to Reuters, Durham “functions as a sort of ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ for tracking deadbeats…It’s ambush reality TV.” Durham will target fathers who are behind on their child support by “making their lives miserable — foreclosing on their house, repossessing their car. He will squeeze them.”
Last April, Fathers & Families led a highly-publicized campaign against the show (originally called “Bad Dads”) and got Fox to drop it. Now Lifetime TV, which reaches nearly 100 million households, has picked up Deadbeat Dads, which unfairly depicts divorced fathers as uncaring and selfish. Research clearly shows that most divorced dads pay their child support and remain a part of their children’s lives, often under difficult circumstances. In fact, federal government data shows that the overwhelming majority of “deadbeat dads” earn poverty level wages–only 4% earn even $40,000 a year.
Labels: Male Bashing
Labels: men's issues
Before Nixon took over "John C," student behavior had gotten so bad that one teacher described it as "chaos." She eventually quit in disgust, pulled her own child from the school, and moved to a different one 45 minutes away. John C is located in a rural stretch of South Carolina near the Georgia border where all but one of the major textile plants have closed, and where the leading local employer is the school system. Nearly 90 percent of the kids at John C live below the poverty line. When Nixon went to his first PTO meeting, only about a dozen parents showed up at a school with 226 students. He still has trouble reaching many families by phone because they can't afford to put down a deposit on a landline. And yet Nixon has managed to turn John C around. It recently earned three statewide Palmetto awards, one for academic performance and two for overall improvement—the school's first such honors in its 35-year history. Not everyone agrees with his methods, but most parents and teachers will tell you he couldn't have pulled off such a turnaround without his wooden paddle.
The studies cited by opponents of corporal punishment, Dr. Baumrind contended, often do not adequately distinguish the effects of spanking, as practiced by nonabusive parents, from the impact of severe physical punishment and abuse. Nor do they consider other factors that might account for problems later in life, like whether parents are rejecting or whether defiant or aggressive children might be more likely to be spanked in the first place.
Dr. Baumrind described findings from her own research, an analysis of data from a long-term study of more than 100 families, indicating that mild to moderate spanking had no detrimental effects when such confounding influences were separated out. When the parents who delivered severe punishment -- for example, frequently spanking with a paddle or striking a child in the face -- were removed from the analysis, Dr. Baumrind and her colleague, Dr. Elizabeth Owens, found that few harmful effects linked with spanking were left. And the few that remained could be explained by other aspects of the parent-child relationship.
''When parents are loving and firm and communicate well with the child,'' Dr. Baumrind said, ''the children are exceptionally competent and well adjusted, whether or not their parents spanked them as preschoolers.''