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Armchair Sociology

SoCal Prof, Exile Frame Texas Migration Boom

Laker fans may want to steer clear of BBC News magazine article “10 Reasons Why So Many People Are Moving to Texas.” The article contains a whole bunch of reasons why the big man would be well served personally if he decides to suit up for the Mavericks or Rockets. Including the fact that Houston has the highest “effective” paycheck of any U.S. big city.

That info comes from Chapman University professor of urban development Joel Kotkin, who compared average incomes and costs of living in major metropolitan areas. Another SoCal expert frames the sub-section titled “Austin in Particular:”

Restaurant manager Christopher Hislop, 33, moved in 2007 from Los Angeles to Austin, where he met his wife and they now have a nine-month-old boy.

“I came to Austin for a wedding and thought it was a really cool city and the people were nice – it was everything that LA wasn’t but still had that hip vibe without pretension. The nightlife is great and there’s an emphasis on getting out and about – they maintain trailways and nature.”

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You Feeling Okay? Study Shows Writers Prone to Mental Illness

A large scale study by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has found a link between creative professions and mental illness. Writers in particular are more likely to suffer from psychiatric issues including clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and substance abuse. We’re also nearly twice as likely as the general populace to commit suicide!

Researchers seem to think that all this misery has a genetic component. We’re more likely to blame the collapse of the print industry, lousy wages, and shit like this. Either way, all you writers out there may want to think about seeing a psychiatrist. Assuming you’re lucky enough to have health insurance…

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Odd Future’s Frank Ocean Comes Out Via Tumblr

On the heels of Anderson Cooper‘s highly publicized statement that he is gay, Frank Ocean of the Los Angeles hip hop collective Odd Future has opened up about his homosexuality. In a passage on his personal Tumblr page, Ocean talks of falling in love for the first time with a man and the ensuing emotional turmoil. The post was originally intended for the liner notes of his new solo album, but Ocean felt the need to share it on Tumblr as a response to recent rumors about his sexuality.

The way Ocean chose to address his sexuality contrasts with the standard formula of coming out many celebrities employ. He didn’t go through journalists, press agents, or major media publications. Instead, he communicated directly with the public through social media. His original intention, to come out via his new album, represents an even more unorthodox and low-key approach, suggesting that Ocean may not have seen the revelation as worthy of a public statement, but rather a facet of his latest artistic endeavor.

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The Vagina’s Media Moment

The Los Angeles Times has a great article examining the media’s new willingness to use the correct name for female genitalia. The conservative advocacy group Parents Television Council went so far as to count vaginas, and found that the V-word is used in TV shows eight times more often than it was a decade ago.

While the PTC isn’t happy about the trend towards frank discussion of female anatomy, it’s arguably a direct result of women having more influence in the media, both as viewers and producers of content. From the LAT:

“Fifty percent of the people in this country have vaginas,” said “Grey’s Anatomy” executive producer Shonda Rhimes, 42, whose medical drama is widely credited with popularizing one of the decade’s most fashionable euphemisms for vagina, “vajayjay,” to work around nervous ABC executives. “The idea that we’re afraid to talk about them or call them by their proper name feels really silly to me…. It’s great that some progress is being made and it’s not such an issue anymore.”

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African Men Challenge Hollywood Stereotypes

The four Kenyans in this short video have a bone to pick with Hollywood about the portrayal of African men in film and television. Apparently they’re not all violent warlords.

Produced by non-profit Mama Hope. Tip o’ the hat to BoingBoing.

Huffington Post Wins a Pulitzer

The winners of the 2012 Pulitzer Prizes were announced just minutes ago. And there were some shockers. Huffington Post military correspondent David Wood‘s 10-part series “Beyond the Battlefield” won the award for National Reporting.

“While it’s tempting to see the Huffington Post’s Pulitzer as a ‘big win for new media,’ or something like that, the real story is that these organizations — the Huffington Post, the New York Times, the Washington Post–are becoming more like each other. Old media and new media are increasingly antiquated terms,” NYU media critic Jay Rosen told HuffPo.

Could anyone imagine HuffPo winning a Pulitzer five years ago? Kudos to them for investing in real journalism.

In another shocker, The Stranger’s Eli Sanders won the award for Feature Writing. Sanders is the first alt-weekly writer to win a Pulitzer since Jonathan Gold did it back in 2007.

Full list of winners after the jump.

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Time Magazine Wants Us to Viva La… Anxiety?

Every once in awhile it’s nice to check in with the good folks at Time magazine and see what they think the American audience is capable of handling. The photo above shows the American version of Time versus its various worldwide incarnations. Bet you didn’t even have to read the captions to guess which one is for Americans.

That’s right, despite battles between Occupy Wall Street and police that have captured global attention, Time thinks we Americans would be better off learning how anxiety is good for us, rather than seeing what is actually happening in our country and around the world.

Big Hollywood Contributor Screeches Away from LA’s ‘Fascist Ghetto’

After eight years in LA as an independent filmmaker and editor-in-chief of Andrew Breitbart‘s Big Hollywood, John Nolte (pictured) is thrilled to be heading back home to Boone, North Carolina. He has kind words for the people of LA, but says he will not miss the city itself, which he describes as “a dump with a 10% sales tax” and a “big, fascist, one-story ghetto.”

Nolte is also no fan of Paul Haggis, headlining and ending his farewell-to-LA piece with the wish that the Oscar winning filmmaker “go to hell.”  He writes that it was while attending mass last year as one of only two white guys in the pews that he finally came to realize just how “defamatory” an attack Haggis’ 2005 Best Picture is on the people of LA:

Crash would have you believe that the marvelous American melting pot known as Los Angeles is filled with racists and racial strife and racial tension and race, race race, race race. Well, that’s a damned lie. My hand to God, in eight years I have personally never seen, been involved in, or known anyone involved in any kind of racial incident.

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Rihanna’s Controversial ‘Man Down’ Video Draws Defenders from the Media

Rihanna‘s been taking plenty of heat for her new music video, in which the singer portrays a rape victim who kills her attacker. Outraged media watchdog groups have gone so far as to demand the video be banned. But media outlets remain largely unmoved by the hysteria.

BET premiered the video last week and has refused to stop airing it. The network issued a statement in response to the controversy:

BET Networks has a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines that are applied to all of our content. The Rihanna “Man Down” video complied with these guidelines and was approved for air.

MTV has not yet aired the video, but noted on the MTV.com blog that their “Facebook poll asking whether the video goes too far had the “no” votes leading the “yes” votes by a margin of three-to-one.”
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Memo to Arnold: Your Comeback Project Should Be My Dinner with Siggy

At this point, there’s really only one person who can properly decipher the motives of our shamed ex-Governor and one-time box office king – his fellow Austrian Sigmund Freud. Of course, the real Freud died in 1939, but this is Hollywood, so the good news is there are any number of other Freud’s to choose from for a candid, heartfelt low-budget sit-down in the vein of My Dinner with Andre.

Too bad Viggo Mortensen is already taken as Freud, via David Cronenberg‘s upcoming drama A Dangerous Method. He would have been perfect.

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