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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Fellatio at AMAs

This week Adam Lambert executed a predictable-but-sizable performance stunt in which the Idol graduate showed  himself to be more of a shock-jock-styled controversialist and less of a serious performer. Sigh.

Nevertheless, the act was part of a trend likely to spawn a new category of stage performance: the sex artist. Instead of being categorized as “rock-n-rollers,” raunch artists like Lambert–who believe the essence of a good show is public fellatio, french kissing, and other obsessive-compulsive sexual behavior–fit best in these categories: gay dancer, striptease, or even S&M artist.

The issue raises questions for critics: Should performances by Lambert, Lady Gaga, and others receive their own genre title like “sex performer” or “S&M artist”? Apple’s iTunes could perhaps have a digital downloads section to accommodate artists that specialize in uncomfortable public displays of affection. The current categories of “pop” and “rock-n-roll” simply don’t do justice to these public expression trends–they are unquestionably a different format of music.

Either way, respectable pop brands like American Idol will need to distance themselves rapidly from this new breed of sex actors. The easiest way to accomplish this is to define a new genre into which performers like Lambert can find a better descriptive fit for their immature, compulsive public sexuality.

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Bachelorette Jillian Harris Looking for True Marriage (ABC Press Photo)

Bachelorette Jillian Harris Looking for True Marriage (ABC Press Photo)

We’re only weeks into the new season of ABC’s The Bachelorette, and already Vancouver native Jillian Harris is advocating powerfully for the traditional model of marriage.

Lovely and passionate Lady Jillian was of course a fan favorite in last season’s The Bachelor, where fate dealt her a happy rejection resulting in her own starring role in The Bachelorette, Season Five.

What do you think of Jillian so far? Is she clearer headed than DeAnna Pappas? Is she smarter and more realistic about reality TV courtship than Chicago’s Jennifer Schefft? Is she as graceful and dedicated to family as Trista Rehn of “Trista and Ryan” fame?

Sure, it’s unrealistic to expect total strangers to arrive at a 6-week dating camp and come home with an ABC TV-arranged marriage that’s built to last. But it does make great advertising for traditional marriage.

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Jon & Kate Plus OctoThe nonstop media buzz about “Octomom”  Nadya Suleman’s new TV series and also Jon & Kate’s marital meltdown has created a 16-ring media circus, featuring 16 needy children doing tricks for live audiences–and big ratings.

But unlike most tabloid like coverage, for once this media circus has the right focus: the well-being of children. Whether it’s Octomom’s shocking narcissism or Jon and Kate’s lack of shared commitment to their marriage and kids (see: ‘Jon & Kate sep-a-rate’, and ‘Recap: What a Difference a Week Makes‘), the American public is observing a live demonstration on the necessity of permanent marriage law and mandatory marriage success training—for the sake of protecting children.

The ongoing drama has provided audiences with a media-sponsored morality tale regarding both the high cost and intensive labor involved in raising kids. In the case of Octomom, the moral of the story is that it is virtually impossible to raise kids as a single parent. Numerous state and private child-care agencies have permanently set up camp with Octomom just to make sure her kids live, eat, take medicines, and get a fresh change of diapers. In the case of Jon and Kate Plus 8,  the TLC reality show has given viewers a window into the dangers to children when marriage is focused on the hair, the personal self ambitions, the book tour, the spas, the romance (or lack thereof), the money, the ratings–everything except the kids. It’s no coincidence that, in both of these cases, the parents desperately need TV and book deals just to survive the high cost of raising families. There’s just no getting around the fact that marriage (or the lack of it) has enormous consequences for kids. The headlines say it all:

These reports and countless RSS feeds like them are cosmic proof that marriage is indisputably oriented to the procreation and long-range nurture kids. In addition, humans know instinctually that adults are bad people whenever they place their own personal interests above those of the collective whole of the family. In essence, the train-wreck troubles of Octomom and Jon & Kate Gosselin are round-the-clock PSAs warning of the dangers of broken families, adult-focused marriages, and reckless unwed motherhood. Could there be a more convincing case for mandatory premarital education and immediate marriage law reform, including the repeal of no-fault-divorce laws?

Fortunately, there’s a bright positive to this otherwise negative family meltdown: the babies themselves. They are the heroes of this drama and the force that causes people everywhere to rush in to save them from reckless adult behavior and weak marriage laws. The 16 babies are undoubtedly the most effective campaigners for child-focused marriage (and surely the most articulate spokespersons against legalized abortion as well).

It’s a fitting justice that out of these two very confused situations there should come 16 dynamic poster-children for family-oriented marriages and a new culture of life.

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FFP-0902_SMF-Selected_finalMark your calendars, everyone. The Florida Family Policy Council has announced its participation in the upcoming 13th Annual Smart Marriages conference, which will take place July 8-11 in Orlando, Florida.

The summer event, which will be held at the Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, is the largest annual gathering of pro-marriage forces in America. A full 2,000-plus attendees will descend upon Orlando to explore the benefits and riches of marriage as presented through literally hundreds of educational activities, seminars, keynote addresses, and workshops. Activities will be led by 200 top experts in the field, including John Gray, Gary Chapman, Steve and Alex Kentrick, and more. 

The conference, which is organized nationally by the Smart Marriages Coalition and promoted locally through the Strong Marriages Florida campaign, is ideal for anyone interested in helping couples build strong, stable, happy marriages. Topics range from sex and communication skills to pre-marital training and parenting. Sessions are targeted to meet the needs of engaged couples, newlyweds, seasoned couples, new parents, blended families, empty-nesters, and more.

The cost of the Smart Marriages Conference is $415 (students or spouses – $315), although a discount rate is offered for early registration. In addition, there is a 20 percent group discount (register 4 from your church and a 5th person attends free).  Shingle Creek Hotel rates are $115 Single/Double ($125 Triple); call the hotel at 866-996-6338 and ask for the Smart Marriage rate.

For more information or to register online, visit the Smart Marriages Conference Web site. You can also view the conference flyer through the Florida Family Policy Council site.

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