NEW YORK — The sister of a man who was suspected of being a sexual predator and who killed himself as the cameras of "Dateline NBC" closed in on him sued NBC Universal Inc. for $105 million Monday.
Thanks 'B' for the heads-up on this story.
This is a sad story, from whichever perspective you look at it. But it does beg the question, what responsibility do these tabloid 'ambush' reality shows have? Have some of these guys been entrapped into ruining their lives? One must wonder.
They keep coming. An endless, sad parade.
We've all seen the show. We've all heard the familiar line, "I'm Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC, and we're doing a show on adults who solicit children online for sex." We've all seen the sometimes comical reactions of those caught in the sting. Even the guys caught have seen the show before.
It’s sad, and scary. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking up for guys who wanna bang 13 year olds (they get what they deserve), but I think Dateline has proven that there’s a predatory element in society which isn’t going anywhere – regardless of the threat of public humiliation and prison.
Old guys, young guys, ugly guys, handsome guys, weirdos who look like predators and clean cut guy-next-door types ... all line up for their 5 minutes of shame. What’s up with that? Why do they do it? All ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds are represented in this predator perp walk. Why? That’s the question I think its time someone studied.
Because it’s apparent to me that Dateline can do this show ‘til the next millennium and guys will still line up to get caught in the sting.
There will be those who’ll blame the Devil -- that easy, bullshit, timeless cop-out for base human frailty -- or internet porn. But just like horny predatory priests are nothing new, this element has ALWAYS been there. The real question is – why do they do it? Why do they see the flame flickering and walk right into it? Why do cities red-light districts have more parishioners than it's churches?
Does the urge to get our freak on (no matter how darkly freaky) trump all possible consequence? I say the obvious answer is yes ... but I don't know why. What do you think?
London – 18 July 2007
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Last night I went to the screening of what's got to be the best dance-in-the-aisle feel-good movie of the year. I saw "Hairspray" on Broadway a couple of years ago and was totally blown away, fearing that a movie version simply couldn't do it justice. Boy was I wrong. This film rocks with a kick-ass 60's musical score, great performances, and a comically touching storyline that riles against prejudice and discrimination.
Tracy Turnblad is a plus-size white teenage girl in 1962 Baltimore whose hair and dreams are equal to her girth. Without a second thought she plays hooky and auditions for the local TV dance show which features tall, slim Anglos. She loses out and earns detention to boot. Detention is filled with mostly black kids who are allowed to dance on the TV show only once a month, on "Negro Day." Tracy, immediately relating to the black kids, wonders why can't every day be "Negro Day."
Because of turmoil caused by this innocent questioning, "Negro Day" is cancelled. Tracy, joining forces with her black friends, decides to picket the show, as they demand not a "Negro Day" but full integration.
Now remember, this is based on a John Waters film, so it's not as glumly pedantic as it may sound. The jokes are fast and furious and sly (although in deference to the genius of Mr. Waters, this is a film suitable for the whole family. I'm even taking my eighty-year-old Jehovah's Witness mother to see it). You will (as the cliché goes) laugh and cry throughout this wonderful film where even the villains as lovable.
John Travolta is absolutely adorable as Tracy's shy, stay-at-home Mom, without even a hint of drag-queen winking. You really fall in love with him, er, her.
Her Royal Majesty, Queen Latifah, is up to her brilliant self again; very funny, and when you least expect it, moments of tear-jerking poignancy.
Michelle Pfieffer is the deliciously hissable villainess who is less a racist than a beautiful ball-busting Cruella DeVille bitch-mother (is that an oxymoron?) capable of anything to advance the unadvancibles of her dim-witted blond bimbo daughter.
But the film belongs to eighteen-year-old newcomer Nikki Blonsky as Tracy Turnblad. From the very opening to the last frame she throws her weight around with the joy of an 'Ugly Betty' butterfly flutter; demanding justice with such naively joyful conviction, discovering love with the hottest hunk on campus, dragging her mother out of her shell, shining as the apple of her father's eye, bringing
black and white folks together before it was fashionable, and changing the world with the sheer force of her irrisistability and lovliness, not to mention a killer voice and a soul-sistah boogaloo that soul-sistahs can take note of.
Something wonderful is happening. Maybe we are finally getting sick and tired of the Paris Hiltons, the Britney Spears, and the Nicole Ritchies of the world; these dinizens of fake. I love the fact that we are finally celebrating nontraditional beauty, (or should I say real beauty under-appreciated) and undeniable talent (can we say Barbra Streisand on both counts?). Jennifer Hudson's total sweep of every award in existance last year gave me hope. Witnessing Fantasia's fantastic performance in the Broadway production of "The Color Purple" this past June confirmed it. Last night's introduction of the new star birth of Nikki Blonsky totally locked it for me. I don't know what she's like in person, but seeing this film, I immediately wanted to become her new best friend.
The closing number in "Hairspray" boldly says it all. It's titled "You Can't Stop The Music" and what the creators are saying boldly, proudly, with great conviction and bravado is that when it comes to social, political, racial, and cultural progress, "You Can't Stop The Movement."
Look for a lot of Hairspray Oscars in 2008. And look for this lovely little musical touching hearts and minds in this wonderful country of ours we call America now, tomorrow, and at the polls in 2008. ~~