Kid Nation: Irresponsible Charges of Irresponsible Conduct

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There have been many, many commentators quick to criticize the new CBS “reality show” Kid Nation; while much of their criticism is unfounded even more borders on the ridiculous.

General criticism’s have been based on CBS’s promo: “Forty kids with no parents, no teachers . . . anywhere.” This has led to charges ranging from “irresponsible” to “child abuse” to “slavery” and those charges were (and are) based on nothing more than the mental picture of 40 kids running around unsupervised ala “Lord of the Flies.”

What nonsense! How does anyone in their right mind imagine that a major television network would EVER allow that? Of course they wouldn’t and didn’t! There were no parents or teachers, that’s true but there were medical professionals constantly on the scene and a production crew that was continually on the watch for any situation that would lead to allegations of abuse or a lawsuit after the production wrapped.

The kids, you can be sure, had a great time because they actually were in charge of many aspects of their lives while the show was being filmed — you can be sure that they didn’t have absolute freedom but they had the freedom to make and implement many decisions involving their daily life. The only kids that wouldn’t enjoy that are the kids that have strict and neurotic parents who don’t allow their children to have more than limited freedom and who don’t feel that kids are capable of making decisions — those are the kids that weren’t at Kid Nation anyway.

The most hysterical charge I’ve heard against CBS was on yesterday’s Michael Medved radio show. He painted a picture of the living conditions, asking his listeners how they would like having their 8-year old sleeping in the same room with older kids that weren’t related or even close friends. He continued into a station break with the accusation that CBS’s motive was “sexual titillation.” Wow! If those sleeping conditions, conditions very similar to every summer camp, caused Mr. Medved to be sexually titillated, me thinks that Mr. Medved has a very disturbing problem. Perhaps he was molested at a summer camp as a child? Well those things do happen but they are very less likely to happen in a place run by a mult-million-dollar corporation that is very aware of the legal and public-relations consequences of something like that.

The kids on Kid Nation were safer than they would be at any summer camp and as safe as they would have been if 40 sets of parents were standing on the side-lines making it all but impossible to produce the series.

If I didn’t work nights or if I had a TIVO type device to record Kid Nation I’d watch it for sure! It’s not gong to be great television and I don’t think the ratings will be sky-high but it’s worth a look just because it’s unique. I’m sure I’ll catch highlights on the news or entire segments on YouTube.

How about you? Are you going to give Kid Nation a look-see?

News Links:

International Herald Tribune: CBS backs ‘Kid Nation’ despite outcry

Chicago Tribune: What were ‘Kid Nation’ parents thinking?

From the Blogs

Mixed Media: Let’s Give Kid Nation a Chance

Ed Martin’s Watercoller TV: Advertisers are the First to See Kid Nation!

News and commentary by: Whymrhymer can also be found at the Blogger News Network and at The American Chronicle Family of Journals

Peyton Place, 50 Years Later

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Chicago . . . 50 years ago

“. . . the V of her crotch . . .;” that’s the phrase from the novel Peyton Place that thrilled the then pre-teenaged Whymrhymer as he sat in his room, scanning the paperback novel for other little tidbits of delicious ‘naughtiness’. Mother did not read great books, she was a down-to-earth, very practical and, as most Americans still do today (judging from the popularity of the well known scandal sheets such as the “Enquirer” and the “Globe” as well as the televised versions of those papers mother called “rags”) she loved a good scandal and needed frequent doses of ‘earthy’ realities. That’s how and why Peyton Place came into the house and how, one evening, Peyton Place “appeared” in Whymrhymer’s bedroom. That phrase, and that memory are still etched in his brain, 50 years later.

Manchester, New Hampshire . . . Today

Grace Metalious, the author of Peyton Place, is being fondly remembered in her home town of Manchester, New Hampshire this month on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the book; but back when the book was first published Ms. Metalious was considered anything but the town’s favorite author. Peyton Place, a novel of incest, underage sex and general debauchery was set in the fictional town of Livingstone, New Hampshire but it was universally understood to be a semi-factual story about Manchester and the town was scandalized — at least for a while. Times and attitudes change however, and according to a recent NewHampshire Humanities Council’s Newsletter:

” (A) project to explore the legacy of Grace Metalious & her infamous novel . . .will launch in April with “One City, One Book” discussions at the Manchester City Library. Mayor Frank Guinta will issue a proclamation urging citizens to read Peyton Place and see the film. Copies of the book will be available at the library and the film will be available to borrow on DVD.

Sadly, Grace Metalious, the author of the 20 million copy best seller, as well as of several other novels that did not fare so well, did not (or could not) enjoy her fame in the atmosphere of Manchester during Peyton Place’s heyday; the measure of fame that Ms. Metalious gained from the novel and the greater wealth and fame she earned from the movie and TV rights did nothing but help to destroy her — she died as an alcoholic at the age of 39.

Links:

The Boston Globe: Finally, a return to ‘Peyton Place’

Cabinet.com: On ‘Peyton Place,’ sex and violence

What bloggers are saying:

Steve Goddard’s History Wire: New Manchester, N.H. Generation Immerses Itself in “Peyton Place”

Wadleigh Reference Desk Blog: Peyton Place

Kurt Vonnegut: November 11, 1922/April 11, 2007

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Kurt Vonnegut, the writer, novelist, speaker and, above all else, free-thinking iconoclast, is dead at the age of 84. Ironically, while he was a nearly life-long cigarette smoker, cancer did not claim him but a brain injury, suffered during a fall, finally conspired to take his life. He died at his home in New York.

Vonnegut was born in Indiana, the fourth generation of German-American Vonneguts. He enlisted in the Army during WWII and was held as a prisoner-of-war in Dresdon Germany — that incarceration served as the inspiration for the first Vonnegut novel I ever read, Slaughterhouse Five. I went on to read several of his novels and collections of short-stories and always marvelled at his imagination — he was never an ‘easy read’ for me, because it takes a lot to lift me from my cocoon of reality into the world where his stories took place, but it was always an enjoyable experience; he was a writer that I knew, at a relatively young age, I could never hope to emulate.

Although Vonnegut has not written any novels for several years because, he said at one time, that he felt that he has said everything that he had to say, he continued to write short, non-fiction articles until his accident. His last collection of writings, “A Man Without a Country,” belies his claim of having nothing more to say — he had much more to say and, agree with his point of view or not (which, for the most part I did not), it is clear that he could still say it with unique charm, wit and grace.

A Kurt Vonnegut quote that says as much about his style as it does about his irreverent sense of humor is advice he offered students during a speech at Ohio State University in 2006:

“If you really want to disappoint your parents, and don’t have the nerve to be gay, go into the arts.”

What more is there to say except goodbye — we’ll miss you!

Links:

Los Angeles Times: His popular novels blended social criticism, dark humor

BBC News: Writer Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84

From the blogosphere:

Anti-Essentialist Conundrum: R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut

Donkey O.D.: Goodbye Kurt, I Know You’re Up In Heaven Now. 😉

News and commentary by: Whymrhymer can also be found at the Blogger News Network and at The American Chronicle Family of Journals