September 29, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: "HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA"



I know. You’re singing “Welcome to the Hotel Transylvania” in your best Eagles’ voice. Unfortunately, the filmmakers did not riff off this 4-syllable-similarity in the movie. However, everything else about this movie is fun, fun, fun. If you’ve seen the trailer, you made a mental note to see HT, didn’t you? Well, you won’t be disappointed. A grand ghoulish and ghostly time for the whole family. (It’s not the least bit scary, only hilarious. Think TV’s “Munsters” or “Addams Family.”)

So much time, energy and creativity is poured into animated films these days that they really do outshine so many other genres, especially if they keep in mind the adults watching and address both adults and kids at the same time.

If you liked “Despicable Me,” you’ll love HT. It features a strong non-buffoon/non-wimp-father-figure (Dracula) and his teenage vampire daughter, Mavis. Dracula has built the “Hotel Transylvania” as a “refuge” and “sanctuary” for all his fellow monsters (EVERY single kind of monster is included in the film). What are they escaping from? Torch-bearing, garlic-wearing, wooden-stake-wielding HUMANS! But a happy-go-lucky backpacking teenage human, Jonathan (Mavis’ age, of course), finds his way into the castle-hotel. Dracula wants to kick him out, but sees that Mavis is a bit sweet on him. Rather than ruin her 118th (sic) birthday party, he disguises Jonathan as a party-planning teen Frankenstein, and plans to expel him after the party. Things go awry and Daddy Drac has to confront his control-freak ways, fears, and reconsider what is truly best for Mavis.

HT carefully avoids too many monster puns, while milking the tropes for all they’re worth. Lots of truly guffaw-worthy stuff and plenty of icky gross-out humor for the kids.

What’s different/good about this story? Dad really loves his daughter and wants to protect her. (Mom is deceased.) Jonathan also really loves Mavis and wants to do what’s good for her also. However, both Dad and Jonathan choose the road of deception as the way to go. But Mavis is not stupid, and can’t be cooped up forever. I love that Mavis is not a brat, but she pushes back. I love that Mavis is 18 (not 14 or 15) and really is ready to take responsibility for her life. Too many films, animated and otherwise, routinely make kids, pre-teens and young teens wise beyond their years, omniscient snarksters that have to endure their bumbling, often morally deficient, immature, and apologetic parents. Drac eventually apologizes (as parents should when they’re in the wrong), but not for his conscientious care and protection of Mavis.

I love that there’s a sense that young love can become true love (for both Drac and his deceased wife, as well as for Mavis and Jonathan), and that the goal of true love is to commit to each other, wed, build young lives together, help each other grow, etc., rather than “have fun” for twenty years and first think of settling down when you’re forty. There is a slight overtone of “the one” (there’s only ONE person out there just for you—which I strongly disagree with), but I think the point is that when you feel a “zing” for someone (and they feel it for you)—NOT to be confused with normal but random, non-personal, sexual attraction—you should pay attention to that. As one of my favorite, “model,” happily-married, “still having fun,” older-couple-friends say: “There’s GOT to be chemistry.”

This is Dracula’s story, and it’s beautiful to see the lengths to which he will go for his daughter’s happiness (without her even knowing). He bolsters himself saying simply: “I’ve GOT to do this.”

OTHER STUFF:

--THEOLOGY OF THE BODY? Uh-huh.

--I didn’t want to tell you right away—in case you didn’t know—that ADAM SANDLER does the voice of Drac. I didn’t know till after seeing the movie, and I’m so glad because I really, really, really can’t tolerate Sandler, but he is FANTASTIC as Drac. Must go back to his opera-singer-with-cape-singing-the-news-on-SNL-days.

--LOVE the future-son-in-law, future-father-in-law conversations and bonding sessions….

--Dracula has very good reasons for distrusting humans.

--“I come to drink your blood! Bleh, bleh bleh!”

--“Holy rabies!”

--“I speak frozen.”

--“Why is he picking his nose?”

--The sarcastic shrunken head!

--Drac’s rap song at the end….

--Jonathan captures well his generation’s wonder, positivity, “it’s all good,” “roll with it,” adventuresome, joie de vivre, thumbs-up spirit.

--HT was directed by a guy named Tartakovsky. Ha ha ha. Bleh, bleh, bleh.


September 25, 2012

BEST THEOLOGY OF THE BODY RESOURCES!



























SERIOUS ABOUT A COURSE OF STUDIES?
--Theology of the Body Institute (founded by Christopher West) in Pennsylvania: www.tobinstitute.org (week-long seminars with Christopher West and various instructors, with the possibility of certification when 8 courses completed).
--John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, Washington, DC. (The first JP2 Institute was founded by JP2 himself, in Rome.) www.johnpaulii.edu
--I am presently based in the Archdiocese of Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, and offer TOB talks as well as short and long "TOB Training" courses. 
For more information: srhelenaburns@gmail.com 

THE BASICS
--www.pauline.org  actual Theology of the Body text: “Male & Female He Created Them--a Theology of the Body,”Christopher West did an easy-to-understand paraphrase/commentary called "Theology of the Body Explained," also available from www.pauline.org)  “TOB Made Simple," "Love and Responsibility" and much more!
--www.christopherwest.com  books, free downloads, DVDs, CDs (also, search for Christopher West and Jason Evert YouTubes) Also, Christopher's www.CorProject.com
--www.theologyofthebody.net  all kinds of TOB resources / speakers / Fr. Loya DVDs / Spanish TOB
--www.ascensionpress.com  line of TOB books, CDs, DVDs
--“Biology of the Theology of the Body,” Vicki Thorn, RN (the science to back up TOB)—she also founded “Project Rachel” for post-abortion healing—Her DVDs/CDs:
www.theologyofthebody.net
--www.taborlife.org  Fr. Thomas Loya—premiere TOB speaker, available also for retreats, men’s porn recovery, etc. His study group: www.ustream.com/channel/theology-of-the-body Past classes are archived.
--Pope Benedict’s intro to TOB: “On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World” www.vatican.va 



BEST THEOLOGY OF THE BODY INTRODUCTIONS
--Christopher West DVDs (various study series w workbooks) www.ascensionpress.com
--"Love and Responsibility" by Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II) www.pauline.org / Want easy version? "Men, Women and the Mystery of Love" by Edward Sri

--The actual text: "Male and Female He Created Them--A Theology of the Body" John Paul II www.pauline.org (Christopher West did an awesome paraphrase/commentary called "Theology of the Body Explained," also available from www.pauline.org)
--In the actual Theology of the Body text is a long introduction by Dr. Michael Waldstein--excellent (frames TOB in Church history and philosophy)
--"Men and Women Are From Eden" by Dr. Mary Healy (the only TOB Sparknotes--a very short, complete overview with Scripture quotes & study questions)
--"On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World" by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict).  www.vatican.va

--"Theology of the Body Made Simple" by Anthony Percy (covers Genesis), very small book
--"Theology of the Body for Beginners" by Christopher West, medium-sized book
--"Theology of His/Her Body" (2 books in one) by Jason Evert (great for teens, mostly relational stuff)

--"Theology of the Body On Screen: Images of the Body in Art & Media" by Sr. Helena Burns www.tinyurl.com/TOBonScreen
--"What Does It Mean To Be Human? Life's Questions, Theology of the Body's Answers" --An easy-read, conversational style 22-chapter intro to TOB with review & reflection questions) by Sr. Helena Burns, fsp (for teens, young adults, adults): www.tinyurl.com/TOBtraining  The Table of Contents is all the topics listed here in order: www.tinyurl.com/TOBtrainingHF




SPANISH: --www.TheologyOftheBody.net--Spanish DVDs: 
--Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage in Spanish DVDs: http://ascensionpress.com/products?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=God%27s+Plan+for+a+Joy-Filled+Marriage-Spanish+Edition+DVD+%286-Part+Study%29
--"Good News About Sex & Marriage" by Christopher West  in Spanish from www.ascensionpress.com
--The Theology of the Body text is available in Spanish from Pauline Books & Media, Miami: (305) 559-6715
--(from Mexico): www.SexoSeguro.org Twitter: @sexoseguro
--NYC! @corazonpuroNYC
--Pro-life "180 Movie" in Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=248QUOMeUw0
--www.TheologyofTheBody.net has many Spanish resources

TOB MARRIAGE PREP COURSE: www.TransformedInLove.com (print)
www.CatholicMarriagePrep.com (online)



GORGEOUS "HUMANUM" VIDEOS!
www.tinyurl.com/HUMANUMvideos

HUMANUM TRAILER:




FOR TEENS: 
--Your pre-teens/teens don't read? Have 'em watch: "The Pure Life" DVDs by Jason and Crystalina Evert. Lame cover art on the DVD, but FANTASTIC 20 min sessions with a teen panel on all kinds of issues: dating, porn, sexuality, etc.!
--“God’s Plan for Your Life—Theology of  the Body for Teens”  (textbook) www.pauline.org
--“YOU! Life, Love & TOB” (DVDs, workbks, parents & leader’s guide)
www.ascensionpress.com
--“Theology of His/Her Body” by Jason Evert (2 books in one, great intro to TOB, very easy read!) www.ascensionpress.com
--“The Thrill of the Chaste”  by Dawn Eden (NYC rock journalist living “Sex and the City” lifestyle, Catholic convert)
--“Wait for Me” by Rebecca St. James (practical ideas)
--www.TOBET.org—teens evangelizing teens with TOB (peer ministry) Monica Ashour’s group out of Texas, can be replicated
--www.RuahWoods.com  (Cincinnati, OH) TOB training seminars, camps (also for adults) 

RESOURCES BY / FOR WOMEN:  

--www.WomenMadeNew.com Healing for Women (www.DemandYourDignity.com)
--“Women, Sex and the Church—a Case for Church Teaching” (compilation of women scholars) www.pauline.org
--“Woman, God’s Masterpiece,” must-hear 2-CD set by Christopher West
--“On the Dignity and Vocation of Woman,” “Letter to Women,” “Women—Teachers of Peace,” all by Pope John Paul II
--Sr. Prudence Allen, RSM: "The Concept of Woman" (she's big into the complementarity of the sexes)
--Janet Smith: "Why Humanae Vitae Was Right--A Reader," "Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later," "Life Issues, Medical Choices," "The Right To Privacy"
--Kimberly Hahn: "Life-Giving Love--Embracing God's Beautiful Design for Marriage"
--Alice von Hildebrand: "The Privilege of Being a Woman"
--Sr. M. Timothy Prokes, FSE: "Towards a Theology of the Body and Mutuality: The Human Image of Trinitarian Love"
      
    http://www.christendom.edu/grad/acad/grad%20prof%20pages/prokes.shtml
--Sr. Therese Auer, OP (Nashville Dominicans) has written something on TOB for use in schools (her specialty is
        
 philosophy) stauer@op-tn.org 615-256-5486
--Sr. Sara Butler: "The Catholic Priesthood and Women" (world-class theologian, Sister was a proponent of women's
        
 ordination for many years, until coming into contact with John Paul II and Theology of the Body)
--Katrina Zeno: “Discovering the Feminine Genius” (formerly "Every Woman's Journey") www.pauline.org and "The Body Reveals God—an Introduction to the Theology of the Body"
--Mary Healy: "Men and Women are from Eden"—great little intro and study guide
--Mary Shivanandan: "Crossing the Threshold of Love"
--Patty Schneier: CDs from http://www.onemoresoul.com/ (talks to parents, teens, and a powerful personal testimony)
--Steve Harvey: “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” (with reservations! Harvey is OK with sex before marriage and all kinds of "baby Daddy" arrangements, but he clues women into how men think/act)
--John & Stasi Eldredge: “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul”
--“My Peace I Give You: Healing for Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints” by Dawn Eden 



RESOURCES FOR MEN: --Books by John Eldredge (e.g.,“Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul,” “Fathered by God—Learning What Your Dad Could Never Teach You”),
--anything by Dr. Phil Mango: www.theologyofthebody.net

--excellent new documentary (Netflix & Google Play): "The Mask We Live In"--how ideas today about what it means to "be a man" are false and harming boys/men
--“Fireproof,” “Courageous,” "War Room"—what does it mean to be a man (and a husband and a father)?
--Fr. Thomas Loya's e-book: "Priesthood, Manhood & Theology of the Body" (a must-read for EVERYONE) www.tinyurl.com/FatherLoyaPriesthoodBook

EVOLUTION DVDS: 
--Creation or Evolution? DVD from VISION VIDEO
--Theology of Body & Evolution-Dr.Sternberg DVD www.theologyofthebody.net
--Ben Stein's "Expelled" documentary is also good (on Netflix, etc.)

NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING: 

--“Humanae Vitae”  www.vatican.va
--Janet Smith: "Why Humanae Vitae Was Right--A Reader”
--Kimberly Hahn: "Life-Giving Love--Embracing God's Beautiful Design for Marriage"
--Patty Schneier: CDs from http://www.onemoresoul.com/ (talks to: parents on TOB for teens, teens, & a powerful personal testimony)
--Billings Method of Ovulation: www.boma-usa.org

--“Couple to Couple League”
--Important article on the latest NFP science: www.tinyurl.com/LatestNFP
--Some of the dangers of artificial contraception: http://bodyecology.com/articles/dangers_birth_control_pill.php
www.harmfromhormones.co.uk 

--Effects of abortion on women's health (including link to breast cancer): http://hushfilm.com/

INFERTILITY (and other issues of women and men's sexual/reproductive health):
--
www.NaProtechnology.com natural, 
moral, safe, effective medical treatments based on lastest science. 
--Nat’l Center for Women’s Health: www.popepaulvi.com
--book: "Facing Infertility" www.pauline.org


HOMOSEXUALITY / SAME-SEX ATTRACTION / "GAY MARRIAGE":
--www.CourageRC.net  (also Spanish),
--Books: “Homosexuality and the Catholic Church” by Fr. John Harvey
--“The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction” by Janelle Hallman www.ivpress.com
--film: www.EverlastingHills.org (watch online)
--film: The Third Way: 
http://hellburns.blogspot.ca/2014/04/same-sex-attracted-catholics-tell-their.html#.VBUd4vldWjk (watch online)
--"Loving My LGBT Neighbor--Being Friends in Grace and Truth" by Glenn Stanton
--"Living the Truth in Love--Pastoral Approaches to Same-Sex Attraction" by Dr. Janet E. Smith & Fr. Paul Check
--"Why I Don't Call Myself Gay--How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace" by Dan Mattson
--"The Truth About Homosexuality" by Fr. John Harvey
--"Yes to You" -- "Fr. Pontifex" (spoken word YouTube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXq4izbFgAM
--"What Is Marriage?" by Robert P. George & others
--"One Man, One Woman," "The Gender Agenda," both by Dale O'Leary
--"I Just Came for the Ashes" by Robin Beck (hear her testimony here: www.tinyurl.com/TOBpodcast )
--www.WhyGenderMatters.com Dr. Leonard Sax

TRANSGENDER:
--Go to www.CourageRC.net website and search for "transgender"--great articles from John Hopkins University, American Pediatrics Ass'n, etc.
--"Understanding Gender Dysphoria--Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture" by Mark A. Yarhouse
--What the Catholic Church teaches about transgender; http://www.ccbi-utoronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Bioethics-Matters_MMcQueen_CatholicTeaching_Transgender_March2016_Vol141_FINAL.pdf

GENDER IDEOLOGY:
--Videos available from a 2017 Conference at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver (scroll down): https://www.regonline.com/GenderIdeologyConfVideos2017

--"Gender & LGBTQ" talks by Sr. Helena:






FREE PODCASTS:
www.tinyurl.com/TOBpodcast (Sr. Helena & others)
www.tinyurl.com/TOBandWOMENpodcasts 1-5 (need to go in order)
Livestream intro to TOB: (NFP couple followed by Sr. Helena)  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/86443163

PORNOGRAPHY: 

 www.tinyurl.com/PornPreventionResources (comprehensive collection of porn prevention and recovery resources!)
www.ReclaimSexualHealth.com (confidential online help for all kinds of sexual addictions)   
www.PornKillsLove.com       www.ThePornEffect.com         www.PornHarms.com
The BEST book on porn ever (includes copious studies):



PORN PREVENTION FOR KIDS:
www.ProtectYoungMinds.org  (includes book "Good Pictures, Bad Pictures")



PRO-LIFE: 
--www.The40Film.com (the lastest on abortion, lots of testimonies from women, answers every argument for abortion, great for teens!) Study guide available
--www.humanlife.org free chastity, relationships, pro-life resources    
--www.rockforlife.org – info, T-shirts, etc.
--“180 Movie” YouTube (pro-abort teens change minds on spot) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwI
"180 Movie" in SPANISH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=248QUOMeUw0
--“Unplanned” DVD & book by Abby Johnson, former director of one of the largest Planned Parenthoods in America

--www.OneMoreSoul.com
--How the Pill Harms Health, Relationships, Men and the Environment: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/the-science-of-attraction-how-the-pill-is-changing-who-women-want-79290/
--Effects of abortion on women's health (including link to breast cancer): http://hushfilm.com/

CURRICULUM FOR KIDS & "SEX ED": 
--www.TeenStar.org  
Dr. Hanna Klaus, MD teaches abstinence AND sex ed with great results.
Sexual Teaching in the context of Adult Responsibility
--www.familyhonor.org  Sex Ed taught in the family

--Must-read book about the origins of the sex ed industry and their true agendas! "You're Teaching My Child WHAT? A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child" by Dr. Miriam Grossman, MD
--For ages 4-7: "God Has a Plan for Boys and Girls," "Everybody Has Something To Give," "Everybody Has Something To Say" www.pauline.org
--www.RuahWoods.com is working on K-12 curriculum....
--Other resources: 
http://hellburns.blogspot.com/2012/05/theology-of-body-sex-ed.html#.UYifk6Jwr0c

RANDOM: YouTubes of me presenting TOB to 8th graders and their parents: www.YouTube.com/helraphaelfsp

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY ON HUMAN SEXUALITY IN THE WORLD--FROM A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE (25 pages):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3mpo1tviubwaxnk/2017Sexuality-BibliographyBURNS.pdf?dl=0
(prepared with notes by Fr. Kevin Belgrave, St. Augustine's Seminary, Archdiocese of Toronto)

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY ON HUMAN SEXUALITY IN THE WORLD--FROM A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE--ABRIDGED (10 pages):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4yx4kw9exidql21/2016SeminarBelgraveHandoutcopy.pdf?dl=0


September 19, 2012

WOMEN SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES


Do All Women Think Free Birth Control Is a Good Thing?
Does Sandra Fluke Speak for All Women?



September 8, 2012

FALL TV SHOWS 2012



Anything good on TV this Fall? The very word “TV” can conjure up so many different concepts depending on how one uses TV. “TV” does not have to be watched on a television set anymore (although Americans overwhelmingly watched the 2012 Summer Olympics on their TVs) . It can be watched on our iPhone or laptop by going to a website or using an app. We can record up to five shows simultaneously on certain DVRs. Or we can just buy, download or rent an entire season of a particular show that aired five years ago or longer. Our TV choices are endless today. But content is still king, and it’s only the most captivating and watched shows that get to stay on the air.

Why are there so many mediocre new shows put forth each Fall? Shows you just know are going to fail? Because the money is still made through advertising as people rush to try out these new shows in their first few weeks, and through international sales. Scheduling? It’s beyond confusing with new shows having their first episodes rolling out as late as November, and then recess for weeks and start up again.

The scope and quality of shows differs greatly. Some shows (also depending on genre) look like the ephemeral media that they are(“Two Broke Girls”), others look like the finest in costly cinematic productions ("Cold Case," “White Collar,” “NCIS,” “Mad Men,” “Burn Notice”). Some shows are still basically sweet and innocent even in this day and age (“Psych”), and others are consistently assaulting and continually pushing the raunch-envelope (“Two and a Half Men,” “Family Guy”).

There are plenty of returning, favorite shows this Fall and plenty of new ones.  “Entertainment Weekly,” in their “Fall TV Preview” double-issue recommends these five (I am NOT condoning any of these choices—haven’t seen even previews):
1. Nashville—the music industry
2. Ben and Kate—an adult brother and sister show
3. Elementary—a take-off on Sherlock Holmes in the USA
4. Last Resort—two ballistic submarine officers together on an island (EW swears it works!)
5. The Mindy Project—Mindy Kalling from “The Office” is an OBGYN and party girl (this does NOT bode well)

More shocking violence? More explicit sex? More profanity and crass language? Yes, yes and yes. (There are watchdog groups that track the escalation of these things and the report/outlook is grim.) So why wouldn’t someone just stay away from it all? Because there are gems among the muck, and if we want to be a part of the New Evangelization, we need to know what people are drinking in and where their heads are at so we can engage the culture and offer right remedies and tailored prescriptions for what ails it. But always with prayer and prudence, of course. “Know thyself.” Are certain TV shows occasions of sin for you? (Absolute honesty is essential here.) We are not allowed to do evil that good may result.

EW's predictions for Emmys this year are for edgier fare: "Breaking Bad," "Modern Family," "Louie--comedian Louis C.K.," etc.

An interesting sort of “study” of Fall sitcoms revolving around family life might be:
“Modern Family” vs. “The New Normal.” “Modern Family” portrays a three families: a white, older Dad with a Latina wife and boy, a white gay male couple with an adopted Vietnamese baby, a “traditional” family of Mom, Dad and three kids. “Modern Family” was praised for the fact that it showed up-to-the-minute realistic modern-day details like families bringing iPads and other media devices to the dinner table. “The New Normal,” features a politically-incorrect, crass, loud-mouthed (but “traditional values”) grandmother.  Her daughter and granddaughter are friends with a gay male couple who will be using the daughter as the surrogate for their child. Even the titles of these two shows is telling. The emphasis is on societal changes, the agenda is acceptability, normalization, mainstreaming.  Reality check? Yup, what they’re portraying is true to life, if even among a minority. EW calls "Parenthood" "tender" and "grossly underrated."


I polled my young adult friends on Twitter and Facebook about their favorite TV shows, especially sitcoms, that they consider “morally OK” (not necessarily perfect). Here’s what I got:












Another interesting “study” might be the whole genre of “singles” shows (TV is rife with them!), perhaps thinking about singles living “as” families. Since young people are waiting longer and longer to marry and/or “settle down,” twenty- and thirty-somethings find themselves in all kinds of living arrangements that act as proxy families—neither family-of-origin nor forming-one’s-own-family. More of an unknown-timetable, interim situation. (“How I Met Your Mother,” “The Big Bang Theory,” "New Girl"--there are just so many!)

Starting with, perhaps, “That Girl” (1966-1971), there have always been TV shows about singles, seemingly focusing on women more than men. The stigma of single women as “spinsters” or “old maids” was done away with starting in the early 60’s with the Sexual Revolution and “Cosmopolitan” Magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown’s 1962 book “Sex and the Single Girl."

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and even “Golden Girls” celebrated being happy, fulfilled, female and single. Then came “Sex and the City,” which upped the risqué-factor with a concentration on thirty-something single women’s very active sex lives in NYC (which, unfortunately, is true to life). NYC is also the abortion capital of America. One zip code in Brooklyn has 16 abortions to every 10 births.
As early as 1961, Joan Didion wrote about New York City as a kind of holding pattern (she calls it a “leave of absence”) for young women, where doggedly pursuing their future goals was put on hold to “mess around,” rather prolongedly.

And now we have HBO’s tragic “Girls.” But it’s supposed to be a (poignant) barrel of laughs. “Girls” picks up where “Sex and the City” left off. And things have devolved for…guess who? Women. “Girls” is written and produced by Lea Dunham and stars herself and three other twenty-something girlfriends. The audience is treated to lots of nudity and (purposefully) awkward sex scenes which Lea herself describes (semi-autobiographically) this way: “My girlfriends and I are all in degrading sexual relationships with guys. But we’re all feminists.” The boyfriends expect the girls to act out maneuvers they’ve seen in their porn. Also, tragically, true-to-life. (This also goes for married women today.) The paradox and horror of it all is that these shows are being honest about how things really are, but there is a wholesale ACCEPTANCE, and a carefree “What can you do?” attitude on the part of women. Really? And you’re feminists? Ah, but with so-called absolute sexual freedom, women are ALWAYS the losers, but we have to keep that stiff upper lip and pretend it’s the only way to go, and we can live with it and we’re OK with it and we gotta keep on lovin’ the abuse! Right, ladies? Cuz we’re enlightened. Oh yes, and abortion is funny in “Girls.” One girl gets all giddily excited about “going to her first abortion” (she accompanies a friend). I can HEAR my heart physically breaking.


OTHER STUFF (PURELY SUBJECTIVE AND HIGHLY OPINIONATED):

MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS? (I never just watch TV. I’m always working in front of it, usually at my computer, and only later in the evening.) I’m a huge surfer, watching little bits of everything. But when I put the remote down, I find myself staying on:

--“Dog the Bounty Hunter” (believe it or not, the most Christian show on television, showing forth the mercy of the Father). My all-time favorite TV show, hands down. No one beats the music they use for their soundtracks.

--Real-Life TV (non-sensational following of people in their real lives and unusual jobs, as opposed to Reality-TV which are hyped-up, unnatural set-ups like “Survivor,” “Fear Factor,” “Real Housewives,” etc.)—I like shows like “Pawn Stars,” and anything job-related

--nature/animal shows (Awwwwww)

--news shows (serious ones) or serious talk shows like Tavis Smiley (best interviewer in the biz) and Charlie Rose. “Nightline,” for example, is not a serious news show.

--“Project Runway” (I usually stay far away from competitive shows because they are often so mean and heartbreaking--“PR” can be, too—but Tim Gunn was once voted “nicest man on TV.” and I love the principles of art and design that come out on the show.)

--PBS and educational shows

--Lifetime Movie Network (LMN)—a truly mixed bag, but always a woman’s story! Some are salacious and ridiculous, others extremely intriguing and well-done thrillers or true-life stories. As a screenwriter I’m always studying story structure, character development, dialogue, etc., and LMN is a great place to do that, even though it’s mostly “made for TV.” (They also have lots of fluffy fare produced in Canada and I have a pathological fascination listening to Canadians trying to hide their accents and trying to imitate Americans but they’re just  don’t have the same surreality and delusions of grandeur and pizzazz that we do because they’re so serious and sane and normal and I love trying to guess what part of Canada they’re in and look for red mailboxes and stuff.)

--catch up on any “important” movies (old or new) that I’ve never seen

--and, of course, hockey (but only in season. Those reruns are just sad.)


I HARDLY EVER WATCH:

--DIY shows, gardening shows, cooking shows, home improvement shows (make my head hurt)

--talent contest shows--“American Idol,” “Britain’s Got Talent,” etc.


--late night (morning or daytime) talk shows--(pure silliness of a kind I can’t endure) “Wendy Williams” is just the worst. There is no excuse for that show.


--religious channels/shows--(Unfortunately, usually just too boring. With exceptions.)


--Hallmark Channel—I’m afraid of diabetes




STILL NEEDED: $40,000!





THANK YOU!