The teenage pregnancy of the sister of a pop star is not news. Increased teenage pregnancy rates and sexed up personas of middle schoolers is news that's not being adequately covered. But that's pop culture for you.
Voice recognition software, human machine interaction, converting speech signals into data. It’s here ladies and gentleman, appearing on desktops and laptops and floor tops and top-tops everywhere. We speak, we talk, we whisper, we murmur and the words magically appear, materializing from the cerebellum, the cerebrum and all the quandrants of the brain that almost none of us use. It’s the wave of the future ya’ll. I wish you could see me right now. I’m not even using my hands.
Then the thought occurs to me as I chat/type. Man, if only the highly intelligent scientists, dedicated developers and practitioners of the complex algorhythms that make up the code for this technology had just sat down and watched television. Then they wouldn’t have wasted all that time on innovation and would have taken a cue from pop culture, a realm where stories already write themselves, where finger pointing, analysis and blame is much easier than learning to use computers.
Uh yeah, so you don’t have to be a techie to ascertain that I know jack about voice recognition software. But thanks to the 24/7 news cycle, Internet banner ads, car radios and the like, I’m able to figure out that Jamie Lynn Spears, like her older sister, likes her sex like her Sushi; and that Jamie Lynn, like her sister has been numerous times before, is with child. I also know that Mary J. Blige offered Jamie a hearty “too-late-you’re-already-knocked up might-as-well-be a-good-mom” congratulations.
Add to that, I’m now certain, thanks to John Legend, that it’s “hard being a mom.” I’m also hip to the fact that Republican Presidential Candidate and Baptist Minister Mike Huckabee refuses to condemn Spears and says he has respect for the star of Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101 for not having an abortion. Then there was Ashlee “what about me” Simpson and her expression of “foiled again/always a bridesmaid” chagrin that the Spears's pregnancy – and not Ashlee's lack of talent of course – took attention away from her impending album release.
And now a quick ode to Rocky IV, as Sly Stallone kneels beside a dying Apollo Creed, who just got his brains bashed in after dancing to a song called "Living in America". In this case, Creed is not the soon-to-be washed up actor Carl Weathers but one who represents intelligent discourse about substantive issues and is emblematic of the dissolution of a previously informed and learned populous. The media’s obsession with Jamie Lynn and her sister knocked Creed out cold and now he’s dying before our eyes. Now look up with me to no one in particular. Wait for it: Nooooooooo!
The sad, cold reality is that Web links pertaining to the Spears sisters are currently getting more hits than a juiced up Major League Baseball Player and significantly more hits than any stories critically analyzing the sanctimonious pundits who act like they never, ever did the wild thing before marriage or before they could legally drive or gamble or before they became eligible for employment even.
In point of fact, many of us got lucky when we got lucky in the sense that the tadpole didn’t meet up with the egg and create a fiesta scramble. Providence? Sublime Randomness? Good fortune? Maybe all three but teen pregnancy is nothing new and the question we should be asking ourselves is: Why are we shocked? Further, why are we pretending to be shocked? Why are we not doing anything about the larger issues of teaching responsibility and discretion? I know I could’ve used some when I was sixteen -- still could I think.
News flash: Teens have sex, they see sex everywhere, they often define themselves with and by sex. Beyonce Knowles’ younger sister, Solange, also had a bun in the oven as a teenager, it happens. Look people, unlike some adults, teens like sex. They’re obsessed with it. They often use it as a substitute for love and a ticket into cool cliques. Teen pregnancy is actually on the rise. Add to that the shocking trend of little girls having what are called Rainbow Parties where they wear different color lipstick and use their gender counterpart’s anatomy as a barometer of a color spectrum of a different kind. In keeping the color scheme theme, some young women have allegedly walked around with jelly bracelets signifying their Homeland Security-esque sexual prowess levels much in the way a martial artist wears those cloth belts.
All of this madness is prevalent and continuing to thrive in an environment where a tween can dance around in a short Catholic School skirt on the idiot box and say “hit me baby one more time.” We’re talking about the mall where the juniors section of Macy’s sells form-fitting volour suits with “sexy,” “juicy,” and “candy” stitched on a place on the outseam that literally -- not figuratively -- sells sex. It’s an interesting ecosystem indeed, where young boys -- together no less, with no girls in site -- sequester themselves in a room and film themselves doing pelvic thrusts atop an unsuspecting and previously coy Ottoman.
Kids are both smarter and dumber than we think and adults should stop letting the mall and the media raise their children. It’s bad enough they go to school in places where the library is equidistant to a church, a liquor shop and a quiet little store front that says "XXX Videos." In some cases there isn’t a whole lot of difference between these places and responsible people should help youngsters foster a discerning eye because kids also go to war without being able to find Iraq on a map.
This is why pointing fingers is futile. The blame game is a slippery slope and feigned shock and awe is an even slicker incline. America is tangled in the Web it weaved through centuries of sexual repression, doublethink, doublespeak and double lives – a Christian country that is home to a legacy of human slavery, Times Square in the 1970s and an estimated $10 billion porn industry based less than three miles from where our little blonde sweetheart filmed Zoey 101.
Taking it where it should be, what of the Aritist and Repertoire Reps at record companies, video directors, perverted preachers and programming executives who traffic in flesh? And what of the mopes who buy these products? What about the Bratz dolls with cell phones and sequined halters? Don’t forget about Barbie in a Malibu beach house without Ken’s money. You know she ain’t got a job, how is she chillin’ in the “Bu,” with a convertible and all those outfits?
The skinny is this: If the elder Spears wants to emulate NASCAR in a convertible with toddlers, let child protective services handle that. And if young Jamie Lynn wants to live out the lyrics of dearly departed Old Dirty Bastard and his seminal – pun intended – opus Shimmy Shimmy Ya, then this isn’t news, this is a collapse in personal responsibility.
We shouldn’t “ooh” and “ahh” and “tsk, tsk” with our index fingers hypocritically crossing each other -- sucking our tongues at acts that a lot of us committed with no cameras around. Moreover, if their mother wants to drum up publicity for her “parenting” book through her girls-gone-wild children, then so be it.
But please, let’s not use a single teenage pregnancy as an excuse to run special programming because executives don’t want to pay writers for Internet content or as a deterrent to talking about the national debt, corporate welfare and a relatively drab political landscape with almost no new ideas. Not to mention Turkey is dropping bombs in the same country we’re dropping bombs in but wait, they might write the pregnancy theme into Zoey assuming the strike ends.
Don’t mistake my feet on this soapbox for duplicity. I get it. Pop culture, gossip and behind-the-velvet-rope hating can be fun, a welcome diversion from a crumbling and increasingly involuntarily trained and indifferent society. But that’s also why this latest “breaking story,” is even more troubling.
So, how does that software work again, I just talk and……..