Warner Bros.’ Tsujihara steps down following scandal
By JAKE COYLE
AP Film Writer
Monday, March 18
NEW YORK (AP) — Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara is stepping down after claims that he promised acting roles in exchange for sex.
As Warner Bros. chairman and chief executive officer at one of Hollywood’s most powerful and prestigious studios, Tsujihara is one of the highest ranking executives to be felled by sexual misconduct allegations. Warner media chief executive John Stankey announced Tsujihara’s exit Monday, saying it was in the studio’s “best interest.”
Earlier this month, WarnerMedia launched an investigation following a Hollywood Reporter story that detailed text messages between Tsujihara and British actress Charlotte Kirk going back to 2013. The messages suggest a quid pro quo sexual relationship between the aspiring actress and the studio head.
‘Captain Marvel’ soars even higher with stellar 2nd weekend
By LINDSEY BAHR
AP Film Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Captain Marvel” has continued to dominate the global box office in its second weekend in theaters, leaving newcomers in the dust.
Walt Disney Studios estimated Sunday that the intergalactic superhero fell only 55 percent from its record-breaking opening. This weekend, “Captain Marvel” earned an additional $69.3 million from North American theaters and $119.7 million internationally, bringing its global grosses to $760 million.
With Brie Larson in the title role, “Captain Marvel” has already surpassed the lifetime grosses of a slew of superhero films including “Justice League,” ”Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
In a very distant second, Paramount’s animated family film “Wonder Park” struggled with $16 million against a reported $100 million budget. Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for Comscore, said that it’s hard to compete with “Captain Marvel,” which is playing to all ages and audiences. But the PG-rated pic about a girl who dreams up an amusement park did not score well with critics either — it’s currently sitting at a 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
But it wasn’t all bad news for the films in “Captain Marvel’s” shadow. The Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson film “Five Feet Apart” opened in third place with $13.2 million in ticket sales, which is nearly double its production budget. The film from Lionsgate and CBS Films is centered on two teens with cystic fibrosis.
Audiences were overwhelmingly female (82 percent) and young (65 percent under age 25 and 45 percent under 18). That the stars involved, like Sprouse who is in the popular TV show “Riverdale,” have a strong fan base and social following motivated young women to turn out to the theaters.
“You don’t always have to be No. 1 to have a success,” Dergarabedian said. “And ‘Five Feet Apart’ proves that.”
It was a good weekend overall for Lionsgate, which had three films in the top 10, including “Five Feet Apart,” Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Family Funeral,” which landed in fifth place with $8.1 million (behind “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”) and the Spanish-language newcomer “No Manches Frida 2,” which opened on only 472 screens and grossed $3.9 million to take sixth place.
“In the world of everybody talking about diversity, this is a great example of a diverse lineup. All three films were completely different, which was obviously a strategic distribution decision,” said David Spitz, Lionsgate’s president of domestic distribution. “Those three films were able to capture an audience even with the 300-pound gorilla of ‘Captain Marvel.’”
Not so lucky was “Captive State,” an alien invasion thriller from Focus Features that floundered in seventh place with $3.2 million against a $25 million budget.
But overall, things are finally looking up for the industry-wide box office. The “Captain Marvel” effect has lowered the year to date deficit nearly 10 percent in a week.
“We’re on the right track now. It shows when you’re this early in the year, any change can make a significant difference to the bottom line,” said Dergarabedian. “But it’s going to take more than one big movie to start us toward another record-breaking year in North America.”
One film that might help: Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” follow-up “Us” hits theaters next weekend and is tracking for an opening north of $40 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1.”Captain Marvel,” $69.3 million ($119.7 million international).
2.”Wonder Park,” $16 million ($4.3 million international).
3.”Five Feet Apart,” $13.2 million ($189,000 international).
4.”How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” $9.3 million ($9.4 million international).
5.Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Family Funeral,” $8.1 million ($65,600 international).
6.”No Manches Frida 2,” $3.9 million.
7.”Captive State,” $3.2 million ($64,400 international).
8.”The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part,” $2.1 million ($2.1 million international).
9.”Alita: Battle Angel,” $1.9 million ($4 million international).
10.”Green Book,” $1.3 million ($17.1 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:
1. “Captain Marvel,” $119.7 million.
2. “More Than Blue,” $41.3 million.
3. “Green Book,” $17.1 million.
4. “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” $9.4 million.
5. “Escape Room,” $7.7 million.
6. “My Hero Academia: Two Heroes,” $5.3 million.
7. “Wonder Park,” $4.3 million.
8. “Alita: Battle Angel,” $4 million.
9. “The Mule,” $3.3 million.
10. “What Men Want,” $2.9 million.
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr
Nuns were secluded to avoid scandals in early Christian monastic communities
March 21, 2019
Authors: Alison I. Beach, Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University
Maria Chiara Giorda, Associate Professor, Roma Tre University
Disclosure statement: The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: The Ohio State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Pope Francis recently stated that Catholic nuns in various parts of the world, including Africa, Europe, India and Latin America, have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of priests and bishops.
In his comments during a news conference held aboard the papal plane, Pope Francis referred to a high-profile scandal within the Community of St. John – a religious congregation comprising both men and women based in France. In 2013, the Community of St. John officially confirmed allegations that its founder Marie-Dominique Philippe, who died in 2006, had engaged in “gestures contrary to chastity,” including with nuns in his spiritual care.
Such problems are certainly not new. As scholars of ancient and medieval monasticism, our research reveals that sexual contact between the sexes has been a source of anxiety – and even scandal – from the time of the earliest Christian monasteries to the present.
In many cases, scandal, or even fear of scandal, resulted in tighter restrictions on contact between religious women and men.
Women and men in the desert
Aspiring nuns and monks are required to reject private property, marriage and biological family ties. Celibacy – abstinence from sexual relations – is implicit in the rejection of marriage and procreation and has always been central to the monastic ideal.
The monastic path has not been open to celibate women on their own, however. In late antiquity and the Middle Ages, the Church generally excluded women from the priesthood. Some branches of Christianity continue this practice today. And because a priest was always needed to administer the sacraments of the Communion, penance and last rites, no woman could avoid all contact with men.
One solution was to form double monasteries, sometimes also called dual-sex, twin, or brother and sister communities. This type of community is first mentioned in written sources from fourth-century Egypt and Cappadocia, in Turkey. They still exist in various forms today.
While the exact living arrangements in the earliest double houses are not clearly explained in written sources, men and women tended to have their own quarters, divided in some cases by a river or a mountain.
From the beginning, double monasteries attracted negative attention. In fact, many of the earliest historical sources that refer to them call for their restriction or prohibition. The sixth-century law code of the Emperor Justinian, for example, prohibited the formation of new double communities in the Byzantine Empire. He ordered that women and men be separated within communities that were already established. Sexual contact between women and men was likely the most urgent cause for concern.
The church council held in Nicaea in 787 A.D. to discuss matters of Church doctrine and practice repeated the prohibition, stating that double monasteries had become “an offense and cause of complaint to many.”
The council ruled that “monks and nuns may not reside in one building, for living together gives occasion for incontinence. No monk may enter the woman’s quarter, and no nun converse apart with a monk.”
Anxiety about contact with women
Despite such legislation, double monasteries were never entirely eliminated. When they began to appear in greater numbers during the 12th century, they triggered renewed anxiety about contact between the sexes among both clerics and laypeople.
Clerics who wrote about these double communities often enumerated the strict rules in place to limit interaction between women and men. Direct physical contact between the sexes was carefully restricted to spiritual services such as hearing confessions and celebrating the mass.
Within some communities, even brothers and sisters or mothers and sons had to get special permission to meet face to face.
The 12th-century monk Irimbert of Admont, located in what is modern Austria, claimed that his community’s women were locked within an enclosure secured with a three-lock door.
He stated that this door was only opened to admit a woman to the community, for a priest to enter to administer last rites to the dying, or to remove a nun’s body for burial.
Irimbert’s account may reflect the reality of life on the ground at 12th-century Admont, but he may also have been trying to avert criticism and deflect suspicion.
Scandal at Watton
One notorious scandal emerged during the same period in the Gilbertine Order of England. The Gilbertines organized religious houses with four subcommunities: two for women and two for men.
As the 12th-century monk Aelred of Rievaulx tells the story, a young nun at the monastery of Watton, whom he characterized as silly and lustful, conceived a child with one of the priory’s men.
When the pregnancy brought the affair to light, the nuns seized the man and forced the pregnant nun to castrate him. The nuns then shoved his severed testicles, “still stinking with blood,” into her mouth. Shortly after this horrific incident at Watton, Pope Alexander III investigated complaints made by a group of men within the broader community about the proximity of men and women in some of the order’s houses.
At least five bishops wrote to Alexander to assure him that men and women were now strictly segregated in the dual-sex Gilbertine communities within their dioceses.
As was common in the Middle Ages, Aelred laid the blame for the tragedy at Watton squarely at the feet of the nun.
Returning to the present, however, both the current leader of the Community of St. John and Pope Francis have openly acknowledged that nuns were “preyed upon” by founder Marie-Dominique Philippe.
Among the internal “reforms” in the Community of St. John, like those in the centuries before, were measures for stricter enclosure of the community’s contemplative women.
Scholars have no witness to the lived experience of the women of Watton or the women of any of the double communities restricted by earlier legislation.
But the reforms within the Community of St. John split the women’s community and led to the departure of many of the sisters from the order. For many, as one news site reported, stricter enclosure was not in keeping with the character of the community they had chosen to enter for life. Their community was intended to be contemplative, not cloistered.
For the women who left the Community of St. John, seclusion was no longer an acceptable solution to a centuries-old problem.
Teens have less face time with their friends – and are lonelier than ever
March 20, 2019
Teens aren’t necessarily less social, but the contours of their social lives have changed.
Author: Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology, San Diego State University
Disclosure statement: Jean Twenge does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Ask a teen today how she communicates with her friends, and she’ll probably hold up her smartphone. Not that she actually calls her friends; it’s more likely that she texts them or messages them on social media.
Today’s teens – the generation I call “iGen” that’s also called Gen Z – are constantly connected with their friends via digital media, spending as much as nine hours a day on average with screens.
How might this influence the time they spend with their friends in person?
Some studies have found that people who spend more time on social media actually have more face time with friends.
But studies like this are only looking at people already operating in a world suffused with smartphones. They can’t tell us how teens spent their time before and after digital media use surged.
What if we zoomed out and compared how often previous generations of teens spent time with their friends to how often today’s teens are doing so? And what if we also saw how feelings of loneliness differed across the generations?
To do this, my co-authors and I examined trends in how 8.2 million U.S. teens spent time with their friends since the 1970s. It turns out that today’s teens are socializing with friends in fundamentally different ways – and also happen to be the loneliest generation on record.
Less work, but fewer hangs?
After studying two large, nationally representative surveys, we found that although the amount of time teens spent with their friends face to face has declined since the 1970s, the drop accelerated after 2010 – just as smartphones use started to grow.
Compared with teenagers in previous decades, iGen teens are less likely to get together with their friends. They’re also less likely to go to parties, go out with friends, date, ride in cars for fun, go to shopping malls or go to the movies.
It’s not because they are spending more time on work, homework or extracurricular activities. Today’s teens hold fewer paid jobs, homework time is either unchanged or down since the 1990s, and time spent on extracurricular activities is about the same.
Yet they’re spending less time with their friends in person – and by large margins. In the late 1970s, 52 percent of 12th-graders got together with their friends almost every day. By 2017, only 28 percent did. The drop was especially pronounced after 2010.
Today’s 10th-graders go to about 17 fewer parties a year than 10th-graders in the 1980s did. Overall, 12th-graders now spend an hour less on in-person social interaction on an average day than their Gen X predecessors did.
We wondered if these trends would have implications for feelings of loneliness, which are also measured in one of the surveys. Sure enough, just as the drop in face-to-face time accelerated after 2010, teens’ feelings of loneliness shot upward.
Among 12th graders, 39 percent said they often felt lonely in 2017, up from 26 percent in 2012. Thirty-eight percent said they often felt left out in 2017, up from 30 percent in 2012. In both cases, the 2017 numbers were all-time highs since the questions were first asked in 1977, with loneliness declining among teens before suddenly increasing.
A new cultural norm
As previous studies have shown, we did find that those teens who spent more time on social media also spent more time with their friends in person.
So why have in-person social interactions been going down, overall, as digital media use has increased?
It has to do with the group versus the individual.
Imagine a group of friends that doesn’t use social media. This group regularly gets together, but the more outgoing members are willing to hang out more than others, who might stay home once in a while. Then they all sign up for Instagram. The social teens are still more likely to meet up in person, and they’re also more active on their accounts.
However, the total number of in-person hangs for everyone in the group drops as social media replaces some face-to-face time.
So the decline in face-to-face interaction among teens isn’t just an individual issue; it’s a generational one. Even teens who eschew social media are affected: Who will hang out with them when most of their peers are alone in their bedrooms scrolling through Instagram?
Higher levels of loneliness are just the tip of the iceberg. Rates of depression and unhappiness also skyrocketed among teens after 2012, perhaps because spending more time with screens and less time with friends isn’t the best formula for mental health.
Some have argued that teens are simply choosing to communicate with their friends in a different way, so the shift toward electronic communication isn’t concerning.
That argument assumes that electronic communication is just as good for assuaging loneliness and depression as face-to-face interaction. It seems clear that this isn’t the case. There’s something about being around another person – about touch, about eye contact, about laughter – that can’t be replaced by digital communication.
The result is a generation of teens who are lonelier than ever before.
From the Editors of E – The Environmental Magazine
Dear EarthTalk: I saw a news item about overhauling classic old cars with electric engines, and wondering if this can be done with any old car, such as my 1999 Subaru Outback? If this is feasible, maybe I should reconsider my plan of trading up for a new Prius. — Tim St. Germain, Boise, ID
It’s true that there’s never been a better time to convert an old gas guzzling car into an emissions-free electric vehicle (EV), but some makes and models are better suited for a so-called “EV swap” than others.
Michael Bream of San Marcos, California’s EV West, which made news recently with its conversions of old VWs and Porsches into EVs, says you could convert a ‘99 Subaru—but EV Swaps are typically reserved for classic cars. “A newer Subaru has a ULEV certified (low emission) engine, so it’s not as bad a polluter as a classic car, and doesn’t suffer from reliability and power issues that classic cars typically suffer from,” he says. “A typical conversion of a Subaru would cost about the same with parts and labor as a brand-new all-wheel drive Tesla Model 3, so unless your vehicle is extremely well loved, or you can’t stand the thought of selling it, then it might be a better solution to buy or lease a new EV.”
EV West is one of a handful of garages across North America now specializing in EV conversions. Some others include: Zelectric Motors (San Diego, CA), ElectricGT (Chatsworth, CA), Make Mine Electric (Sebastopol, CA), Electric Vehicles of Washington (Bellingham, WA), Shockwave Motors (Russellville, TN), Epic Car Conversions (Toronto, ON) and Green Shed Conversions (Crystal River, FL).
If you don’t want to wait to get your car converted by one of these shops, you’ll just have to do it yourself (or find a local mechanic looking for an interesting project). Luckily lots of companies now sell EV conversion kits (Canadian Electric Vehicles, Electro Automotive, Wilderness Electric Vehicles, DIY EV, EV Source, Metric Mind Corporation, EV Drive) that include new engines, batteries and components. Expect to spend at least $8,000 on all the parts needed for the job (and tack on an additional ~50 percent more if you opt for longer-range lithium ion batteries). The labor will be up to you. DIYers should check out EVRater.com’s “How to Build Your own Electric Vehicle in 5 Easy Steps” or Mechanic Doctor’s “How to Convert Your Car to an Electric Vehicle” for step-by-step instructions. Meanwhile, California-based EV4U runs “3-Day Hands-On Conversion Workshops” near Sacramento for $495.
With a new base model Prius starting at $23k, you may well be better off doing the EV Swap on your old car. According to EVW, the operating costs of driving a Prius hybrid ($0.14/mile) are about four times what it costs to get around in an EV (whether native or a conversion). “In addition to the fuel savings, electric cars do not need oil changes, spark plugs, distributors, timing belts, etc.,” EVW adds.
What you won’t get is that new car smell or the nervous feeling of driving a brand-new car off the dealer’s lot. But you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you saved two tons of metal from the junk heap—and saved the world the trouble of sourcing materials for and building another brand-new Prius.
CONTACTS: EV West, www.evwest.com; Zelectric Motors, zelectricmotors.com; Make Mine Electric, makemineelectric.com; Electric Vehicles of Washington, www.electricvehicleswa.com; Epic Car Conversions, epiccarconversions.com; Green Shed Conversions, greenshedconversions.com; EVRater, evrater.com/build-your-own-ev; Mechanic Doctor, www.themechanicdoctor.com/convert-car-electric-vehicle; EV4U Workshops, ev4unow.com/EVWorkshops.html; Canadian Electric Vehicles, canev.com; Electro Automotive, electroauto.com; Wilderness Electric Vehicles, e-volks.com; EV Source, evsource.com; Metric Mind Corporation, metricmind.com; EV Drive, evdrive.com.
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