Tonight, a new season of Dancing With the Stars begins, featuring Chaz Bono as one of the most-talked-about contestants (sorry, Carson Kressley). Author Matt Kailey couldn't help noticing that amid all the chatter was a current of concern.
The uproar hasn’t stopped since it was announced that Chaz Bono will be one of the cast on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, which premieres tonight.
While there are many people who are supportive of Chaz and his appearance, plenty more crawled out from under their rocks to be shocked, appalled, and offended in the comments section of the DWTS website.
Of course, there are the usual yawners harping about chromosomes and destiny, but in addition, a whole new group has materialized – parents who aren’t going to watch the show because they don’t know how to explain a man dancing with a woman to their children.
The Dancing with the Stars website is littered with these concerned comments – How am I going to explain this to my five-year-old? What will I tell the children? We’re not going to be watching this season, because I don’t want my children to see this!
I understand. It is concerning when children are exposed to heterosexual dancing. At best, a man dancing with a woman seems just a tad bit edgy – and worst-case scenario, it’s just plain immoral. After all, you know what dancing leads to! I believe they covered that a long time ago in the movie Footloose (when today’s concerned parents were kids).
So I want to offer the following tips to those parents who are worried that their children will lose their innocence by watching this season’s DWTS:
Before the show starts, sit down and explain to the kiddies that sometimes boys and girls see each other across a crowded gymnasium at prom, and while the senior high band plays their special rendition of “Back to Black,” they are all simply compelled to get up and dance – with each other! Tell the kids that someday they will understand – the dancing and the words to “Back to Black.”
Pick out an innocent song from your own youth – say, “She Bop” by Cyndi Lauper or “Little Red Corvette” by Prince – and start dancing with each other. There’s no better way to break the kids in than to have them witness their own mother and father spinning around the living room together. When you’re finished, explain to them that when grown-ups fall in love, it’s natural for them to want to dance together. Someday, unless they grow up to be perverts, they, too, will be dancing with members of the opposite sex.
Go on YouTube and find old clips from American Bandstand. Show them that heterosexual dancing on television is nothing new. The only difference is that it’s now available in full color on the big screen. If they’re grossed out and scared, assure them that Dick Clark will not be hosting Dancing with the Stars.
Find the video of President and Mrs. Obama dancing together at his inauguration. When they can see that even the president and his wife dance together, in public, and on television, they will come to realize that this is perfectly normal and natural and nothing to be concerned about. It really is a beautiful thing.
Once you have done all these things, turn on Dancing with the Stars. If they start to wiggle or become uncomfortable when the various couples come out and dance, remind them of everything you have shown them.
Hold each other’s hand and sway gently to the music so they can be comforted by the image of the two of you enjoying the show. As each couple takes the stage, say, “See? It’s okay.” Soon your children will realize that there is nothing disgusting, sinful, or immoral about a man and a woman dancing together.
1. When I walked up to the studio, the guest entrance was besieged by awe-struck teenage girls. Were they waiting for me? Er, no, they were there for a supernaturally handsome dude I later learned was Peter Facinelli, one of the stars of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse:
Peter and I were ushered into the studio together; he gave me the once-over to make sure I wasn't somebody famous, and then ignored me. That's OK, because I didn't recognize him either, and I would rather gouge out my own eyes than watch The Twilight Saga.
Embedded below is a CBS story about the film, based on Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, which premieres this Sunday on the History Channel. If it doesn't appear, view the video on YouTube.
Publishers Weekly highlights The King Legacy series, a new partnership between Beacon Press and the estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. The series launches next month with the publication of Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story and Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community. You can read more about the series on the Beacon Press website.
"A great irony of life on the computer screen," Watkins writes in his introduction, "is the fact that we usually go online alone but often with the intent of communicating with other people. Among the teens and young adults that we talk to, time spent in front of a computer screen is rarely, if ever, considered time spent alone." Social media, Watkins asserts, is an interim mode of communication and a means to coordinate future face-to-face interactions, not a substitute for human interaction, as was argued in the past.
Mr. 20 Prospect, a resident of the Rust-Belt town of Batavia, New York, found a lot to relate to in Hollowing Out the Middle, as he has seen his own hometown decline over the years. His post about the history of Batavia is accompanied by a series of enlightening photos.
If you are one of the small town Diaspora who left never to return, or someone who left but boomeranged back, it is a very revealing read. Not only do they highlight the demographic, and economic trends effecting rural America, they also catch the subtle undercurrents of class that play a large role in determining the opportunities and futures of the young inhabitants. At times it is also a painful book, pointing out the paradoxes that exist, and how small towns have hastened their own demise, by investing so much of their limited resources in developing their “best and brightest” and encouraging them to leave the community behind. The result is what Patrick Deneen has called the “strip mining” of young adults from rural areas, to feed the coastal, and Midwestern, urban population centers.
Today's post is from Jennifer Culkin, author of A Final Arc of Sky: A Memoir of Critical Care. Culkin, winner of a 2008 Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, is a writer and longtime neonatal, pediatric, and adult critical care nurse. Her work has appeared in many literary magazines, including the Georgia Review and Utne Reader, and in the anthologies Stories with Grace and The Jack Straw Writers Anthology 2006.
I'm so confused. To judge by two current television series about nurses, TNT’s HawthoRNe and Showtime's Nurse Jackie, are we nurses angels or 'hos? Self-righteous, micromanaging do-gooders in lab coats, or adulterous, vigilante prescription-drug addicts in scrubs? Granted, Jackie comes off as intelligent and realistic. Her black humor feels right. But how does she find time for lunch at a restaurant, let alone the sort of restaurant that has wine glasses on the table? And how, during the course of her shift, does she manage a roll in the hay with a hospital pharmacist? There are days I don't have time for a drink of water. I want to work where she works!
Except I'm not into narcotics, and certainly wouldn't use (Snort! Now there's a nice touch... and it's so lovingly filmed) them at work. Thirty years ago, when I was young and clueless, I sometimes had a glass of wine with lunch at noon before a shift that began at 3 PM. Now I'd never do that, and neither would the vast majority of nurses I know. My patients, like other consumers, have a right to expect that I'll save the wine for my time off. That I'll care for them unimpaired.
And then there is Christina HawthoRNe. I suppose it's a good thing that the public sees there IS such a thing as a chief nursing officer, that nursing is an independent profession with its own management hierarchy and that the CNO is a high-level administrator with her share of clout in the organization. But despite 30 years as a critical-care nurse, I have yet to see one charging around so ostentatiously, setting everyone straight: other hospital administrators, the Emergency Department nurses, her own daughter, a patient and his MD father. The disappointing bottom line is, Christina isn't any more realistic than... a TV doctor.
Does anyone out there know Chris Matthews, host of Hardball on MSNBC? I'd like to send him a copy of my book, Inheriting the Trade. My impression is that, like my own, his education lacked some aspects of our nation's history that have been kept hidden from students.
Most of you know that last week the United States Senate unanimously passed S. Con. Res. 26 apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans.
I wrote about this–so won't repeat myself–on June 15. Read my post here. Also read my cousin James DeWolf Perry's excellent post here about why apologies are both important and troublesome.
My focus today is on the mixed reaction the apology has received. Chris Matthews certainly had a strong reaction. Watch as he interviews Reps. Steve Cohen and Jim Clyburn, embedded after the jump.