After six years of sobriety, pop star Demi Lovato admitted on her latest single that she wasn’t “Sober” anymore. Yesterday, the world came to know the tragic depth of her relapse.
Lovato was taken to a Los Angeles-area hospital after an apparent drug overdose, according to multiple media reports. (Initially, celebrity gossip site TMZ reported that the cause was heroin, but follow-up stories say that report was false.)
“Demi is awake and with her family, who want to express thanks to everyone for the love, prayers and support,” a statement from Lovato’s representative said. “Some of the information being reported is incorrect and they respectfully ask for privacy and not speculation as her health and recovery is the most important thing right now.”
For the last six years, Lovato inspired millions of fans as she talked honestly, sometimes painfully about her struggles with substance addiction, eating disorders and self-harm. Writing for The Daily Beast, Kevin Fallon says that the bond between Lovato and her fans, triggered by Lovato’s transparency, has “been a mutual lifeline, with fans forging a deep connection with her music because of the vulnerability and brutal specificity with which Lovato herself speaks to the reality of addiction, self-abuse, and body image.”
But some say that they’d seen troubling signs in the days leading up to Lovato’s overdose. She had apparently been pushing away close friends, according to Entertainment Tonight, and Us Weekly says that she had fired her sobriety coach just days before her overdose.
Lovato’s troubles are at least known, which makes recovery and rehabilitation possible. The troubles of Nicholas Fudge, the star of National Geographic’s show Wicked Tuna, are sadly over. He died “unexpectedly” at the age of 28. People magazine reports that he’d been arrested on suspicion of a DWI four months earlier.
We have no way of knowing whether alcohol contributed to fudge’s death: The cause of it has yet to be released. But medical professionals are reporting that alcohol is having a massive—sometimes lethal—impact on many other Millennials. According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of 25-to-34-year-olds who died from alcohol-related liver disease nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016.
But that was far from the only study making waves this week, and many of the studies were focused on kids and teens. One survey from the YMCA found that about 60% of teens feel that social media (and the influencers therein) puts pressure on them to look “perfect.” Oh, and by the way, if they’re looking at social media on their phone, that just might be a double whammy, given that teens who use their smartphones a lot may be more susceptible to attention deficit disorder. (More research needs to be done before scientists know for sure.) Another study, done by researchers at the United Kingdom’s sports retailer Decathlon, found that the average U.K. kid between the age of 6 and 16 spends just about an hour outside each day. Video games take up twice as much time.
Then there’s this from the CDC: About four out of every 10 high school students have had sexual intercourse. And about 10% have had sex with four different partners.
We live, obviously, in a sexualized world. It can be difficult to protect kids from it. Even though we know, for instance, that porn has a deeply negative impact on children’s brains, internet filtering tools aren’t always successful in keeping them from seeing it. And even if you’re not online at all, and just watch a little network TV like kids in the olden days used to, you’re not necessarily safe from dealing with sexual issues, either. CW’s Supergirl, which a few years ago we praised for being one of the nicest, cleanest shows on television, will be introducing TV’s first openly transgender superhero into its fold next season.
All of these studies and stories are important, obviously, but it seems there’s a shrinking number of reporters to cover them. The New York Daily News (a regular story source for us here at Culture Clips central) recently announced it’s scrapping half of its staff. Not that they’re alone. About a third of American newspapers have dealt with layoffs just since 2017.
Maybe all those out-of-work journalists can start working for, I dunno, Fortnite. The online game, ostensibly free to play, has raked in more than $1 billion in earnings. Or maybe they could apply to Google’s parent company, Alphabet. It earned $26.2 billion in one quarter in 2018: It’s making so much money that, according to Slate, the $5.1 billion fine European regulators hit the company with earlier this year will feel like a little mosquito bite.
Or they could simply get into the real estate game, perhaps. A two-bedroom, three-bath house in Los Angeles, better known as the Brady Bunch house, just landed on the market for $1.9 million.
But they certainly can’t become ninjas. Not in Iga, Japan, at least.
The city of Iga wants to open a ninja museum (because, really, who doesn’t love ninjas?). But like most of Japan, Iga has been subject to depopulation as of late, which means it’s having a difficult time finding staff for the museum, including ninja performers. Alas, Iga’s staffing problem got a little mangled in online reports: Many thought that Iga was looking for honest-to-goodness ninja warriors, and officials have been inundated with wanna-be ninja applicants from 14 different countries. “We are just puzzled,” said city official Motoyoshi Shimai.
Me, I’m a little disappointed. I just forked out a lot of good money for a new ninja suit, too.