We sometimes publish depressing Culture Clips. Granted, the culture has been pretty glum as of late, what with stories about algorithms making us small-minded or the push for a third-gender option or the fact that one in 25 of us, statistically, has been threatened with “revenge porn.”
But the world isn’t all candy-coated chicken livers. There’s plenty to be thankful for, too, including the fact that teens are less prone to use all manner of drugs than their parents were.
The Washington Post’s headline, “Today’s Teens Are Way Better Behaved Than You Were,” kinda gives away the ending. But in short, new federal data shows that kids in eighth, 10th and 12th grades are drinking less, smoking less tobacco and doing fewer drugs than at any time since 1991. Marijuana use dipped for the third straight year, even as more and more states are moving toward legalizing it. Even vaping saw a dip this year—the first ever.
Oh, and if you want more good news, turns out Mark Zuckerberg reads our Culture Clips blog. At least, so I assume, given the fact that we reported some real news about fake news a few weeks ago. Now Facebook is saying that it plans an all-out assault on fake news, teaming with the mythbusting website Snopes to sniff out and bury false information.
What’ll take the place of all that fake news in your Facebook feed, you ask? Possibly original television programming. Netflix, see what you’ve done?
And while the world of technology still hasn’t given us hoverboards, Google did just make its very first delivery via drone, Nintendo just rolled out its first phone-based Super Mario game and artificial intelligence is becoming more realistically human all the time. (Whether you think that’s a good or a bad thing may admittedly depend on how many Terminator movies you’ve watched.) And while Bloomberg reported that kids who spend a lot of time on social media are less satisfied with real life, they’ll perk right up after a drone delivers their Christmas presents, right?
Alas, the culture still had its share of sad headlines, too. Television dad Alan Thicke, famous for the sitcom Growing Pains, died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 69, with family and his famous friends taking to social media to mark his passing.
And some stories this week were just plain strange. Take the tale of a California man who stole and laundered about $5 million from his employer, $1 million of which he spent on the “free” online app Game of War. Seems that money could’ve been put to better uses, such as buying a handwritten copy of J.K. Rowling’s The Tale of Beedle the Bard ($470,000). But even if the guy saved all of his ill-gotten gains, he still wouldn’t have enough to buy a Super Bowl commercial.
Culture clips are compiled by Paul Asay, Adam Holz and Bob Hoose