Regular GetReligion readers will remember that I am a mass transit guy and I am a magazine guy. Put those two facts together and you end up with stacks of magazines filling the back pocket of my commuter bag when I am traveling, whether that is the daily run from the south side of Baltimore to Capital Hill or on longer trips, such as the one I just made to see family in the Texas Hill Country. I head to Southern California today (and the Divine Mrs. MZ is traveling as well).
As I travel, I read and rip -- trying to get the bag lighter, fast. Articles that have GetReligion implications (or content for Washington Journalism Center class sessions) are ripped out and return to the bag. Truth be told, this often happens (hello Atlantic Monthly) because an article is quite long and deserves more attention. Sometimes, an article nags at me and I am not quite sure why.
Take, for example, the following quote that I hit the other day. It is not clearly religious, but there are obvious moral implications.
The culture has totally changed. Girls today are growing up too fast; the influences of the entertainment industry have changed. Girls have experienced a lot that their mothers and grandmothers never experienced. The age compression thrusts girls into the adolescent experience far too early and gets them thinking about sexuality at an early age and creates pressure. We are dealing with evidence of emotional turmoil, including eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia; 90 percent of those with eating disorders are girls, some of them as young as 5.
Recently a clothing manufacturer finally took this product off the shelves: bikinis with padded bras for 7-year-olds. You also have cutting, piercing and sexual aggression among elementary-school-age kids and early involvement with drugs and alcohol. Girls have now reached parity with boys in binge drinking, and there's a high level of violence among girls. One out of three boys and girls is either a victim or a perpetrator of bullying. We've seen news recently about girls who hang themselves after being taunted. ...
Here is what struck me. Could GetReligion readers, I wonder, guess who spoke these words? They sound rather conservative. Yet we live in an age when all kinds of people -- left and right -- are concerned about these issues. But I worry that how journalists REPORT these words might depend on who said them.
So, let's play a little game. Who spoke these words?
(a) First Lady Michelle Obama
(b) Mary Pipher, author of "Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls."
(c) U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman
(d) Oprah Winfrey
(e) Atlantic Monthly columnist Caitlin Flanagan, author of "To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife."
(f) None of the above.
And the answer? I'll put that in a comment on the post.
UPDATE: The link is now up at Christianity Today.