Culture Clips: Why Are Political Dramas Tanking?

Have American viewers grown weary of fictional political dramas on TV? The answer seems to be yes, according to a Huffpost article analyzing declining ratings for the genre.

Writer Stephanie Marcus notes that virtually every politically themed series—including Scandal, The Americans, Homeland, Madame Secretary, Quantico and Designated Survivor—has seen viewership decline since the election of Donald Trump as president. The article speculates that increased news viewership may be one explanation. Another hypothesis: Viewers are simply weary of political drama altogether, both in the real world and in fictional ones. These shows, Marcus says, are “definitely feeling the effects of political fatigue.”

Meanwhile, comedian Kathy Griffin sparked near universal outrage for publishing a picture of herself on Twitter holding what appears to be President Donald Trump’s decapitated head. Salon writer Matthew Rosza opined, “You have to give Kathy Griffin credit for this much: She managed to unite the country in disgust over the Tyler Shields photograph showing her holding a bloodied and quite possibly decapitated Donald Trump head.”

Griffin quickly removed the photo and issued an apologetic message and an accompanying video on Twitter, in which she says, “I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction to these images. … I went way too far.”

Elsewhere in the realm of social media, a new survey of nearly 6,000 Millennials by LendEDU finds that 40% of them report getting the majority of their news from Facebook. Mike Brown, a research analyst for the student loan refinancing company, told Fox Business, “LendEDU certainly expected people to get their news from Facebook, but we did not think the percentage, 40%, was going to be as high as it was. With all of the recent news regarding fake news articles running rampant on the social networking site, this is certainly a worrisome trend developing where consumers rely on Facebook stories, accurate or not, to keep them informed.”

Another survey, this one in the UK, found that Instagram was the most damaging social media site when it comes to young people’s mental health. “With its almost universal reach and unprecedented ability to connect people from all walks of life, social media holds the potential to wield a mighty power as a positive catalyst for good mental health,” the study’s authors said. “But there are also risks…which if not addressed and countered, can and have already opened the door for social media to cause significant problems for young people’s mental health and well-being.”

Social media is also taking a toll on couples’ physical intimacy these days, according to research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Young couples are having sex less frequently than they did in the late 1990s, and interaction with social media may be one factor in that downward trend. Instead of interacting meaningfully with each other at the end of the day, many couples are turning to online distractions instead. Beverly Hills couple therapist Fran Walfish said of the study, “Social media has become a force to be reckoned with.”

Relevant writer Joe Terrell wonders about the toll our love affair with social media is taking on our spiritual lives, too. And in a deep dive into the secret online lives of teens published at Wired’s UK site, Chris Stokel-Walker notes, “Britain’s teenagers are growing up in a new online world, rife with anxiety-inducing social pressures, bullying, and security issues. What’s it like to grow up online?”

On the more practical, helpful side of this story, ABC News published its article, “Resources for gamers, parents wanting to break kids’ extreme electronics usage habits.”

Elsewhere in the news this week, Page Six reports that fans of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who committed suicide in a hotel room at Detroit’s MGM grand last week, are trying to book the room he was staying in. Yaron Steinbuch writes, “The interest in Room 1136 is the latest example of so-called dark tourism, which caters to the death-obsessed.”

Finally, Alamo Draft House execs might have thought they were doing their female customers a favor by announcing a women-only screening for the forthcoming film Wonder Woman (in theaters later this week). Suffice it to say that the response to this marketing strategy probably wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

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