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The New York Times has a good discussion of the Kaiser M2 Report about kids and (multi) media. “As parents, we’ve spent nearly 50 years trying to keep children away from media, and look where they are now: swimming in it.”
Some of the highlights include:

As concerned parents, perhaps the best we can do is to carve out time for our children to experience the old ways — of communicating, playing and sharing information — as well as the new. Psychology professor Georgene Troseth, who advocates delaying the introduction of media to younger kids and imposing restrictions on older ones

Yet many parents are telling me that modern media acts like a drug because their child now has an addictive relationship to small and larger screens. They seem to act as a comfort blanket for older kids who can certainly “lose it” like a toddler if their social prop gets lost or confiscated for misuse. I would therefore say parents are being shortsighted and possibly selfish, rather than negligent in allowing children apparently unfettered access. Negligent means willfully ignoring the obvious, which isn’t yet there. Child development specialist and author of a book on encouraging childhood friendships Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer

Media are arguably children’s leading educator about the world and about how they should behave in it. The question we have to ask now is what, exactly, they’re learning. Michael Rich of the Center on Media and Child Health

I have also found that this consumption of media was predictive of psychological and behavioral problems, after accounting for parent and child characteristics and poor eating habits. What’s more, parenting style was directly related to healthy online behavior: Parents who set clear limits and boundaries but did so with warmth and consultation with their children, had children who were less consumed with media, possessed higher self-esteem, were less depressed and had better relationships with their parents. Psychology professor Larry Rosen

Many thanks to Total Film for including me in their list of 600 film sites you might have missed! Many of my favorites are on there and some promising sites I plan to visit as well. It’s fun to read the list just to enjoy the names.

J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, and perhaps the country’s most famous recluse, died at home at age 91. His classic novel narrated by a 16-year-old named Holden Caulfield as he wanders around New York before he has to tell his parents he has been expelled from prep school is one of the most widely-read books of the 20th century, and enormously influential on readers and on writers. Caulfield is cynical and alienated. He calls everyone “phony,” one reason teenagers identify with him so strongly. But the other reason they connect to him is the way he yearns not to be cynical and alienated, the way he wants to be a part of something, to help someone. The title comes from a fantasy he has of protecting children.

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.

In Six Degrees of Separation, Will Smith as the enigmatic young con man delivers a monologue about the influence of Catcher in the Rye.

Salinger would not allow his books to be made into movies, and I suspect that his literary executor will continue the prohibition. There is something quaint and appealing about the idea that Holden Caulfield will be for each of us our own individual and very personal vision.

But there are two movie connections worth mentioning. According to Turner Classic Movie’s Robert Osborne, Salinger got the idea for his most famous character’s name from a theater marquee advertising the movie “Dear Ruth” and its stars, William Holden and Joan Caulfield.

And one of Salinger’s works was filmed. A short called “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut” became a movie starring Susan Hayward called “My Foolish Heart.” The movie has so little connection to the story that it is easy to see why he decided not to have that happen again.

If I were going to get permission to make a movie based on Salinger’s writing, I would pick the short story, “For Esme, With Love and Squalor,” about a soldier’s encounter with a precocious young girl. Salinger loved to write about precious children.

Holden Caulfield said,

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.

Certainly, The Catcher in the Rye made many readers feel that way. But if they thought about what they read, they did not have to; the book itself and its main character were there to catch those of us who felt no one understood us or felt like us and let us know that someone did.

Rotten Tomatoes has a great list of movies about the future. According to the movies, this year we should be traveling to the moons of Jupiter (“2010”), having Charlize Theron (and don’t forget the woman with hands for feet) in a post-apocalyptic 2011 (“Aeon Flux), all gone except for zombies and Will Smith in 2012 (“I am Legend”), waiting for Kevin Costner to deliver the mail in 2013 (“The Postman”) and for Snake Plissken to “Escape from LA,” getting hoverboards in 2014 (“Back to the Future II”), and oh, boy, androids dreaming of electric sheep in “Blade Runner” by 2019. Be sure to check out the full list.

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