Archive for the ‘American culture’ Category

Teen Sex, Exploitation, Drugs and Alcohol (Again) – Who is Using Who (Or What)?

April 29, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Again we find ourselve discussing American culture and its rancid down side.

Fifteen year old pop star Miley Cyrus posed for celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.

The photographs, which some have called erotic child porn or nearly so, are to appear in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair.  If they are not child porn they are at least “partially clothed.”
 
Vanity Fair.  The cover of the June issue of Vanity Fair and the photograph of Miley Cyrus, inset.

Ms. Cyrus, alread the teen star of the Walt Disney Company’s billion-dollar “Hannah Montana” franchise, financial analysts say, will be worth $20 million by the time she is 18 years old.

Now Ms. Cyrus, daughter of singer Billy Ray Cyrus, claims she was used by Ms. Leibovitz and Vanity Fair.
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She says she’s been wronged.

“I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed,” Cyrus said Sunday in a statement through her publicist. “I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”

Well, gosh, even a 15 year old daughter of an American pop star knows how to get publicity, sell records and make more money. Sex in America sells and she knows it and so does her dad, the photographer and Vanity Fair.

Ms. Leibovitz is a renowned celebrity photographer whose edgy, sexy portraits have included subjects such as Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson and a naked, pregnant Demi Moore.

She’s pretty well known. Sitting for her isn’t an accident waiting to happen. It is an entertainer hoping to become mega-rich.
In this April 14, 2008 file photo singer and actress Miley Cyrus ...
In this April 14, 2008 file photo singer and actress Miley Cyrus arrives at the 2008 CMT Awards in Nashville, Tenn.(AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Ms. Cyrus told PEOPLE Magazine, “My goal in my music and my acting is always to make people happy. For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with Annie [Leibovitz].”
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PEOPLE also reported that Ms. Cyrus appears to be topless, but was actually clothed during the shoot.

Keep your 15 year old daughter in view in your teaching and in your prayers. If she reports she is sitting for Vanity Fair photographers, she probably knows what she’s doing. Get her an IRA. And make sure she knows how to use a condom, unlike one other pop star: Jamie Lynn Spears.


Jamie Lynn Spears
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Because we have seen so many people ruin their lives due to the agony of addiction, we sometimes shed light upon the “rich and famous.”  They are not immune from the ravages of drugs and alcohol.  Far from it.  In fact, because many entertainers and celebrities have a lot of “disposible” money (Amy Winehouse, who was arrested for cocaine possession and use, is reportedly worth $20 million) they can even mnore easily slip into addiction than some others.
Troubled soul singer Amy Winehouse, pictured on January 18, ... 
Troubled soul singer Amy Winehouse, pictured on January 18, 2007 after some serious drug use, was admitted that week to a rehabilitation clinic to help her battle against drug addiction, her record company said.

Last week sexy model and movie actress Angie Everhart was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).

Wikipedia speaks about her career this way:

Following a playful photo session with her mother and the submission of the results to a local modeling agency, Everhart was on a plane to Paris later that year. By the end of the following year, she had graced the covers of such fashion mainstays as ELLE and Glamour magazine (for which she was the first-ever red-haired cover girl). Though a riding accident in which she broke her back at the age of 19 nearly put an end to her aspirations, Everhart eventually recovered through physical therapy. Early in her career, Everhart was advised she would never be a top model because she was a redhead. However, she succeeded in her chosen career and posed for numerous publications. She appeared in several issues of the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, starting in 1995. After years of publicly insisting she would never pose nude, Everhart did just that for the February 2000 issue of Playboy. She was ranked #98 on the FHM 100 Sexiest Women of 2003.

Everhart made her film debut in 1993 with the Arnold Schwarzenegger action-comedy Last Action Hero. She has since appeared in such features as Tales From the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996), Denial (1998), Trigger Happy (1996) and Gunblast Vodka (2000).

Angie Everhart, 2003

Other movies she has appeared in include Jade (1995), and Executive Target (1997), Since then, her feature film roles have been restricted to low budget erotic thrillers and softcore porn, such as Another 9 1/2 Weeks (1997) and Bare Witness (2001). She also appeared in the 2004 television series Celebrity Mole: Yucatan, in which she was the rogue agent sabotaging the group. She was one of the “Gingers” on the second season of The Real Gilligan’s Island  (the other was Erika Eleniak), but left the show when she accidentally cut her finger severely enough to sever tendons and require surgery. Angie was also a panelist on “To Tell The Truth” from 2000 to 2001.

Here is a woman that recovered from a broken back.  She has a lot to live for.  We pray that she gets her life straightened out — and fast.


 

Transcript of Pope Benedict’s Remarks to Young Americans on Life, Hope, Prayer

April 20, 2008

From Peace and Freedom

On April 19, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI addressed compelling remarks to all young Americans while appearing at the Seminary of St. Joseph in Yonkers, New York.

We at Peace and Freedom believe this address, among all the Pope’s fine talks and sermons this week in the United States, provided the most stirring message. 

Below is a sample of that sermon and then you’ll find a link to the entire text.

Pope Benedict XVI waves before leaving Saint Joseph Seminary ... 
Pope Benedict XVI waves before leaving Saint Joseph Seminary following a meeting with the youth in New York April 19, 2008. Pope Benedict visited Ground Zero, site of the World Trade Center destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, on Sunday to pray for the nearly 3,000 victims and their families and for an end to hatred and violence.REUTERS/Max Rossi
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On April 19, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave the remarks below at the Seminary of St. Joseph in Yonkers, New York.

“What happens when people, especially the most vulnerable, encounter a clenched fist of repression or manipulation rather than a hand of hope? A first group of examples pertains to the heart. Here, the dreams and longings that young people pursue can so easily be shattered or destroyed. I am thinking of those affected by drug and substance abuse, homelessness and poverty, racism, violence, and degradation — especially of girls and women. While the causes of these problems are complex, all have in common a poisoned attitude of mind which results in people being treated as mere objects ? a callousness of heart takes hold which first ignores, then ridicules, the God-given dignity of every human being….”

“At times…  we are tempted to close in on ourselves, to doubt the strength of Christ’s radiance, to limit the horizon of hope. Take courage!”

“What matters most is that you develop your personal relationship with God. That relationship is expressed in prayer. God by his very nature speaks, hears, and replies. Indeed, Saint Paul reminds us: we can and should “pray constantly” (1 Thess 5:17). Far from turning in on ourselves or withdrawing from the ups and downs of life, by praying we turn towards God and through him to each other, including the marginalized and those following ways other than God’s path (cf. Spe Salvi, 33)….”

“There is another aspect of prayer which we need to remember: silent contemplation. Saint John, for example, tells us that to embrace God’s revelation we must first listen, then respond by proclaiming what we have heard and seen (cf. 1 Jn 1:2-3; Dei Verbum, 1). Have we perhaps lost something of the art of listening? Do you leave space to hear God’s whisper, calling you forth into goodness? Friends, do not be afraid of silence or stillness, listen to God, adore him in the Eucharist. Let his word shape your journey as an unfolding of holiness….”

Related:
Pope at St. Patrick’s in New York: We Owe Bishop Hughes

Read the entire transcript of the Pope’s remarks:
Papal Message at St. Joseph’s Seminary, New York
http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2008/04/papal-message-at-st-joshephs-new-york.html
Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg
St. Peter’s, Rome

Pope Benedict Encourages Young Americans, Seminarians

April 20, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI focused on the future of his American church Saturday as he marked the third anniversary of his election as pontiff, rallying young people, priests and seminarians and assuring them of his support as they dealt with the damage from the clergy sex abuse scandal.

On a highly personal day, Benedict spoke of suffering under Nazism in his youth and, at another point, touched on his own “spiritual poverty.” He added that he hoped to be a worthy successor to St. Peter, considered the first pope.

Benedict began the day with a Mass at St. Patrick’s cathedral. The building was packed with cardinals and bishops, priests and nuns, who cheered him to mark the day he succeeded Pope John Paul II on April 19, 2005.

The German-born pope lamented that what he called “the joy of faith” was often choked by cynicism, greed and violence. Yet he drew an analogy to show how faith can overcome distractions and trials.

In America, he has said repeatedly, the religious intensity stands out in marked contrast to the tepid spiritual emphasis in his native Europe. That makes the U.S. a testing ground for him in his bid to counter secular trends in the world.

Benedict later was driven to St. Joseph’s Seminary in nearby Yonkers, for a rally with young Catholics and seminarians. Upon arriving he blessed about 50 disabled youngsters in the seminary chapel. Two small girls gave him a painting and a hug.

The pope got a hero’s welcome at the youth rally from a festive crowd of 25,000, which burst into wild cheers when Benedict first acknowledged them from the stage. The shy theologian took time to reach out and shake hands with the ecstatic faithful in the front rows.

During his speech at the rally, Benedict reflected on the repression of his own youth under Nazism. He urged the young people and seminarians to carry on the faith while enjoying the liberties that they were fortunate to have.

“My own years as a teenager were marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers,” he said making a rare reference to his own life. “Its influence grew — infiltrating schools ands civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion — before it was fully recognized for the monster it was.”

At the end of the St. Patrick’s service, Benedict was clearly moved when his top assistant, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, read a tribute for the third anniversary.

Benedict told the crowd of 3,000 that “I am deeply thankful” for the support they showed him, and for “your love, your prayers.” The pope said that he, like St. Peter, was a “man with his faults.”

Read the Pope’s remarks:
Transcript of Pope Benedict’s Remarks to Young Americans on Life, Hope, Prayer

Peace and Freedom Group: November 20, 2007

November 20, 2007

Here’s a locator of our top posts for Tuesday, November 20, 2007:

On Peace and Freedom:

Pakistan: Musharraf Is the Problem

Feds urge vigilance on toy safety

Russia’s Putin: Wants NATO to Back Off; Says His Nuclear Forces are Ready

Six activists arrested in Vietnam, says dissident group

Thailand: Elephant Roundup!

Four new posts on “Peace and Freedom III”; these can be found at:
http://johnib.typepad.com/

1. China urges Iran to abide by U.N. resolutions
2. Pakistan releases opposition supporters
3. Chinese Dam Projects Criticized for Their Human Costs
4. Southeast Asia Leaders Adopt Charter

And don’t forget to check out all the great reading at Peace and Freedom II (just scroll down from here):

Two primary topics today: China and American Culture/Society.

China:

China’s Growing Inflation Woes Could Spur Price Hikes
In U.S.

Wen says China behind on pollution goals

Germany looks to Asia, at China’s expense

Calif Suing Toy Companies Caught Using Lead 

American Culture/Society:

Government study: Americans reading less

Vick Dog In Slammer; Wants a Mike Tyson Free Ride

U.S. Marine Lost in Vietnam Laid to Rest

Politically Incorrect: McCain Says It’s O.K. To Make People Mad

Downward mobility trend threatens black middle class

Infamous return: O. J. Again in the News

September 18, 2007

By Phil Taylor
Sports Illustrated.com
September 18, 2007

It’s as if O.J. Simpson was afraid that Michael Vick or Adam “Pacman” Jones was a threat to his title of America’s Most Reviled Sports Figure, so he decided to get himself back in the news and remind us that when it comes to athletes who have ruined their once-good names, Simpson is still the undisputed heavyweight champion.

Read the rest:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/phil_taylor/09/17/
simpson/index.html?section=si_latest

Related:
Early Odds in Vegas: Don’t Bet on Juice Futures

Essentials of the “American Spirit”

September 17, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
September 17, 2007

Would any American 80 year-old start learning some language (and alphabet) as difficult as Vietnamese or Chinese?

Well, I met someone of that stature this last weekend. Vietnam-born Mr. Nguyen is learning English. Nguyen is a pseudonym for a man now 83 who has been studying hard to learn English as a Second Language or ESL.

His story is like that of many Vietnamese-Americans. He served in the army of South Vietnam, which fell to the communists in 1975. He spent many years in prison, or as the communists liked to call it “reeducation.”

After he made it to the United States he worked, rekindled his relationship with his wife and children and finally reached what he considered to be “retirement age.” He was 80.

“Some Americans take freedom, wealth, even life itself for granted.  You don’t have to worry about that with us.”

After researching the kinds of things “normal” Americans dedicate their later years to, like golf, he rejected many and carefully chose his “after 80” activities. ESL is one of those.

I met “Bac” or Uncle Nguyen at our local Vietnamese community church and school. I was immediately taken by the determination and dedication of Bac Nguyen and his many classmates. There was something else that touched me: all the desks in the Vietnamese school are hand-made. The parishioners banded together to personally build the furniture that supports their children in their learning.

I asked about the furniture and was told, “Vietnamese people do what they have to do. We ask for nothing. We don’t have much money. But we seem to survivor.”

She refers to her Vietnamese-American colleagues as “survivors.”

Many Vietnamese-Americans have survived or “gotten by” though war, the loss of friends and relatives, the loss of their country and their freedoms, and for many: an extended period in prison suffering human rights abuses.

My Bac or Uncle Chi once told me, “In life you have to adjust to change or die. I was important, an ambassador, when my life was young but then I lost everything. I came to America and hauled sheet rock.”

One of my Vietnamese-born wife’s friends was a physician in Vietnam.  Here he works in the food service division of a nursing home along side a Vietnamese-born woman who was a teacher and translator in Vietnam.

There is a quiet, almost serene, acceptance of life among the Vietnamese-Americans. They endured so much yet say little that would make one believe they feel sorry for themselves.

Because feeing sorry for oneself does no good. Life is about “getting on with it.”

A Vietnamese-American friend likened the hand-made wooden school desks built by many volunteers to the way the Vietnamese-Americans rebuilt and went on with their lives and jobs after Hurricane Katrina.

When I told this story to a well educated American, she said, “Americans used to be that way. Enduring. Builders. Community teammates. I wonder how and why we lost that?”

I am always impressed, in fact in awe, of the Vietnamese-Americans I meet.

And I should ask them how we in American can learn more from them. So we can restore the parts of our character that seem to be lost.

Related:

New Arrival From Vietnam Talks About Communism; Including China

The Unspeakable Truth: Katrina, New Orleans and Culture