By Liz Smith, Tribune Content Agency
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
"PROSECUTORS ALL over the nation are facing the same social and legal quandary: How do you protect young women from not just sexual assault but the magnification of those assaults via the Internet? How much punishment can they mete out to boys, who in many cases are only a year or two removed from childhood, who seem to think they are committing pranks with phones and passed-out girls, and for whom the ultimate charge -- rape -- means the end of their lives before they start?"
This is from Nina Burleigh's mortally moving article "Sexting, Shame and Suicide" in last week's Rolling Stone. (Michael J. Fox on the cover.)
I read this issue cover to cover, and there was so much good stuff inside. I hadn't initially wanted to begin with a quote from this piece about yet another teenage suicide, prompted, apparently, by unwise adolescent behavior caught on cellphones and used by peers for bullying, but I couldn't get away from this story.
The cruelties of the digital age, so badly handled by adults, has also become epidemic with teens, who have been cruel in any era. Now they are given unrelenting license by technology and, frankly, by miserable parenting, too. The suffering of writer Burleigh's subject Audrie Pott -- and that of so many others -- got under my skin. I say this article should not simply be "recommended" reading, but mandatory for teen girls and boys and their parents. One of Audrie Pott's final Facebook messages was to one of the boys involved in her humiliation. "You have no idea what it's like to be a girl."
We've come a long way, baby, as the old catchphrase went. But I often wonder which way?
THERE! Out of my system, if not my head. As I said above, this issue of Rolling Stone is packed with remarkable articles and funny sidebars. The Michael J. Fox profile is inspiring. ... The piece on global warming will scare the pants off you, if you have half a brain. ... The interviews with the cast and creator of "Breaking Bad" are terrific. (When writer Rob Tannenbaum asks Bryan Cranston, "Does Walt deserve to live?" The actor, who admits to his own dark side answers, "Does anybody?") ... I loved reading about what stars such as Natasha Lyonne, Judd Apatow, Olivia Munn and others like to watch on TV? (For the irreverent Apatow, it's my longtime friend Charlie Rose.)
Then there was a great piece by Josh Eells, about Showtime's "Homeland" -- can it go on, can it "recover"? .... I adored the photo of Sean Combs holding his own pink parasol at a concert. (Maybe he's more down-to-earth now? Or maybe there's not enough money for people to do this for him anymore?) ... I was intrigued with reading about the new book on "Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger. (His first wife was maybe a Nazi, he possibly had only one testicle and he wasn't nearly as reclusive as we think -- or he preferred us to think.) We get, as usual, Peter Travers' great movie reviews. (He loved "Rush." Well, who doesn't?) And his critique of "Enough Said," with James Gandolfini (his next-to-last movie) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus made me want to see it more than I already did. There's also an article titled "The King of Queens" about TV's drag queen empress RuPaul.
Rolling Stone has even more. But I got my biggest laugh from Rob Sheffield's "The New TV Season: What Doesn't Suck." It was in a sidebar about what does suck. Top of the list: "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." Sheffield writes: "Lamar Odom, a nation salutes you. When a man is trapped in the Kardashian compound, any escape strategy seems 100 percent understandable." (As we know, Odom is on the outs with one of the Kardashian sisters because he is supposed to be an-out-of-control crack addict. So far, the only proof of this has been "sources close to the Kardashian family." Sources who are inevitably drawn to speak to TMZ.)
All in all, a fabulous read. This Rolling Stone is gathering not a bit of moss!
I HAVE yet to sit down with the latest issue of Rolling Stone, with Miley Cyrus topless, sticking her tongue out. Please, child, I don't care what you don't wear, but put that thing back in your mouth. Unbearably vulgar and unattractive.
I'm a little late telling you about "Taking the A Train" to a recent evening where Laura and Dick Parsons welcomed art's literati to a preview of their coming supper club, Minton's. This is going to be "the place."
The music was just great, in keeping with Harlem's many inspiring traditions. And the entrepreneur-host is realizing all his wildest dreams about people coming to Harlem, no longer in "ermine and tails," but in whatever suits them.
This party also was given to salute the Oct. 16 gala honoring the American Folk Art Museum for which Laura Parsons is a driving force. TV's runway expert Tim Gunn graced us with his elegant presence. The Minton owners will host the Oct. 16 gala along with Yaz and Valentin Hernandez.
So the turnout for the pre-party the other night was terrific. Here's a sampling: Alexandra Lebenthal, Susan and John Gutfreund, Phyllis Kossoff, Iris Love, Jerry Lauren, Koos Van Den Akker, Dominic Vine and like that.
The Folk Art Museum, saved and revitalized by the likes of their angel Joyce Cowin, along with Lucy Danziger, Audrey Heckler, Liz Warren, Jacqueline Fowler, Karin Fielding; and their new director, Anne Radice, with Monty Blanchard, added an arty fillip to this get-together. They were all talking about January 2014's "Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art" exhibition and its corresponding event to honor Dr. Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT), and Lucy Sykes of fashion fame.
The "Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art" exhibition promises to be a most intriguing showing, from which you will learn much you do not already know. It may even shock you, as folk art sometimes does.
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
(c)2013 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.