Monday, February 20, 2012

New Study Shows Importance of Comedy and Humor for Young Men

Stuck in an elevator? Sixty-three percent of young men surveyed said they would choose to be there with Jon Stewart (or some other favorite comic), and only 15 percent said they would prefer that time with Eli Manning (or some other idolized athlete).

At least that's what The New York Times is reporting today with a review of a new Comedy Central study about young men and humor. 

Turns out that comedy and absurdity (not irony) is more important to young men, specifically Millennials, than previously thought. 

While Millennials are watching less television that older counterparts -- preferring YouTube and brief Internet content to traditional television -- they're a ripe market for Comedy Central and their marketing partners.

Ever wonder about those ads you're seeing during The Colbert Report and The Daily Show

Thursday, February 16, 2012

More on Marriage!

The lead story in the National section of today's New York Times focuses on the debate over same-sex marriage in Maryland. The controversy is starting to heat up this week as legislators in Annapolis consider possible legislation. The story focuses on the concerns of African-American churchgoers in particular, highlighting a cultural dynamic that is particularly relevant given Maryland's demographic make-up. According to the article:

Maryland’s Democrats are sharply divided by race on the issue. A Washington Post poll published on Jan. 30 found that 71 percent of white respondents supported it, while 24 percent did not. Among blacks, 41 percent were supportive, while 53 percent were opposed. African-Americans are an important constituency here: their share of the population — 29 percent — is greater than in many Southern states, including Alabama and South Carolina, according to the Brookings Institution.

Those backing the bill hope the religious accommodations proposed in the legislation will help ease passage in the state legislature. 

Also of note is an interesting article in today's NYT on the changing demographics of marriage and family. According to the article and a 2010 Pew Report, Americans are starting to express more tolerant attitudes toward interracial marriages:

The more positive attitude toward intermarriage represents a sharp break from the recent past and parallels behavioral change: about 15 percent of new marriages across the country in 2010 were between spouses of different races or ethnicities, more than double the share in 1980. The researchers presented the acceptance of interracial marriage as “the fading of a taboo.”

Definitely some interesting public opinion data regarding marriage. Look for greater media coverage on both issues as debates over marriage and family heat up in Maryland, New Jersey, etc.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Doesn't this Just Make Science Look Fun?

Here's a great "picture of the day."

It was featured in the print edition of today's New York Times in the National section.

Look at Obama's excitement over the marshmallow launcher. What a cool science fair project! If only I could have made a marshmallow launcher back in my day.

And for more on the Obama administration's plan to promote STEM education, check out this post on the NYT's blog, The Caucus.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Obama's Team Has Their Eyes on Romney

My last post was about Mitt Romney's "oops" moment -- his statement on CNN that he does not care about the very poor.

As it turns out, both comedians and the Democrats really did seize on the opportunity to chastise Romney over the remarks.

Here's The Daily Show's take on the incident:

The Obama team had a strong response -- particularly online with emails, advertising, and through the use of Twitter posts.

As it turns out and according to an article in today's NY Times, they're on the lookout for Romney's gaffes, collecting more juicy content each time the candidate slips up.

So, who will Mitt Romney choose not to care about next?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mitt Romney's latest Oops moment

With his victory in Florida, Mitt Romney seems to be the presumptive GOP nominee.

Luckily for us, but not for Mitt Romney, he's the type of candidate who keeps entertaining with his many gaffes. Does he think he's running against Joe Biden, not Barack Obama?

In any event, Mitt Romney's latest oops moment is that he doesn't care about the very poor. Here's the original commentary so you can see for yourself.

The New York Times covered the reaction to the gaffe in an article this morning. In a thoughtful piece, Gail Collins dissects Romney's commentary. While the reaction to Romney's original comments may have been a bit overblown, the substance of what he did say is not good for a candidate who is already perceived as out-of-touch with the experience of average Americans. As a scholar of political comedy and culture, Romney's latest gaffe is noteworthy -- as is the media's reaction.

Just how awkward are these comments? How much will they hurt Mitt Romney in the end?

As February begins and the primary contests roll on, look for journalists, comedians, and academics to pay even closer attention to the "gems" that come out of Romney's mouth.