Cord Cutters and the Death of TV
If “Video Killed the Radio Star,” Wifi killed the video star. In fact, TV and cable really committed suicide by creating programs and films that the vast majority of people do not want to watch. As Rod Dreher says in Duck Dynasty Mess Revealed that not all Fundamentalists Live in the Bible Belt, the elites who decide our media diet failed to realize that “the moral framework they impose on human thought and behavior is radically alien to the moral perceptions of the overwhelming majority of humanity.” The result? Statistics like these from Cord Cutters and the Death of TV:

  • The pay-TV industry has reported its worst 12-month stretch ever.
  • All the major TV providers lost a collective 113,000 subscribers in Q3 2013.
  • In all, about 5 million people ended their cable and broadband subs between the beginning of 2010 and the end of this year.
  • Cable TV is dying but people are also pulling the plug on broadband internet.
  • But ratings for both cable and the broadcast networks are down.
  • Facebook and Google have created an audience that’s about to overtake all of TV in terms of reach.
  • Major historical shift from watching TV to watching video — including TV shows and movies — on the internet or on mobile devices.
  • The number of cable TV-only subscribers remaining could sink below 40 million later this year.
  • For the first time ever, less than half of subscribers at the major broadband companies now subscribe to cable TV.
  • The amount of video seen on mobile devices is going through the roof. About 40% of all YouTube traffic comes from mobile.
  • Even though cable TV has had its worst year ever, cable TV revenues are still rising because companies are charging the dwindling number of customers more in subscription fees.
  • For some people, there is just no need for a cable or pipe to deliver the internet or TV to their residence specifically, as long as they are within range of a free wifi hotspot.

Maps of Seven Deadly Sins in America
I think this is more of a fun item, but Geographers from Kansas State University have created a map of the spatial distribution of the Seven Deadly Sins across the United States. How? By mapping demographic data related to each of the sins.

  • Wrath was calculated by comparing the total number of violent crimes — murder, assault and rape — reported to the FBI per capita.
  • Envy was calculated using the total number of thefts — robbery, burglary, larceny and stolen cars.
  • Gluttony was calculated by counting the number of fast food restaurants per capita.
  • Greed was calculated by comparing average incomes with the total number of inhabitants living beneath the poverty line.
  • Lust was calculated by compiling the number of sexually transmitted diseases — HIV, AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea — reported per capita.
  • Sloth was calculated by comparing expenditures on arts, entertainment and recreation with the rate of employment.
  • And pride, lastly, is most important. The root of all sins, in this study, is the aggregate of all data.

On the last point, I think the practical difficult of measuring pride rather than theological insight drove the method. Looks like Grand Rapids is sinless!

Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues
‘What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” says Camille Paglia.” The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, etc.”

The military:  ”The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster,” she says. “These people don’t think in military ways, so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we’re just nice and benevolent to everyone they’ll be nice too. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”

Boys at school: ”Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It’s oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys,” she says, pointing to the most obvious example: the way many schools have cut recess. “They’re making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters.” She sees the tacit elevation of “female values”—such as sensitivity, socialization and cooperation—as the main aim of teachers, rather than fostering creative energy and teaching hard geographical and historical facts.

Masculinity: Politically correct, inadequate education, along with the decline of America’s brawny industrial base, leaves many men with “no models of manhood,” she says. “Masculinity is just becoming something that is imitated from the movies. There’s nothing left. There’s no room for anything manly right now.” The only place you can hear what men really feel these days, she claims, is on sports radio. No surprise, she is an avid listener. The energy and enthusiasm “inspires me as a writer,” she says, adding: “If we had to go to war,” the callers “are the men that would save the nation.”

College: ‘Everybody must have college.’ Why? Why? What is the reason why everyone has to go to college? Especially when college is so utterly meaningless right now, it has no core curriculum” and “people end up saddled with huge debts,” says Ms. Paglia. What’s driving the push toward universal college is “social snobbery on the part of a lot of upper-middle-class families who want the sticker in the window.”

Cultural Shift Seen in 2013 Abortion, Death Penalty Data
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the number of U.S. executions this year will total 39. For only the second time in 19 years, fewer than 40 people were executed. In addition, the number of new death sentences issued is near a modern low.

The number of legal, induced abortions nationally in 2010 declined 3 percent from 2009. From 2001 to 2010 the number, rate and ratio of reported abortions decreased 9 percent, 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Abortion numbers have fallen in 18 of the past 20 years. The total number of abortions has declined by approximately 25 percent since 1990.

Reasons for the reduction in death sentences include lethal drug shortages, publicity for wrongful convictions, and shifts in public opinion. While Gallup polling found 80 percent of Americans favored the death penalty, by 2013 support had declined to 60 percent.

For abortion, there’s also evidence of increasing public discomfort. In the mid-1990s, Gallup found that 56 percent of people called themselves pro-choice, with just 33 percent choosing the pro-life label. In recent years, the share identifying as pro-choice has fallen as low as 41 percent, while pro-life identifiers have hovered around 50 percent.

Mohammed Most Popular Name for Glasgow Babies in 2013
Sad news from my home city, a city that used to have as its motto “Let Glasgow Flourish by the Preaching of the Word and the Praising of His Name.”