Virtuous Reality Blog

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July 16, 2007

Don't text and drive

The following news brief was taken from headlines posted on aol news July 14.

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Text messages were sent and received on a 17-year-old driver's cell phone moments before the sport utility vehicle slammed head-on into a truck, killing her and four other recent high school graduates, police said.

Bailey Goodman was driving her friends to her parents' vacation home when her SUV, which had just passed a car, swerved back into oncoming traffic, hit a tractor-trailer and burst into flames. Five days earlier, the five teenagers had graduated together from high school in Fairport, a Rochester suburb.

Goodman's inexperience at the wheel; evidence she was driving above the speed limit at night on a winding, two-lane highway; and a succession of calls and text messages on her phone were cited Friday by Sheriff Phil Povero as possible factors in the June 28 crash in western New York.

"The records indicate her phone was in use," Povero said. "We will never be able to clearly state that she was the one doing the text messaging. ... We all certainly know that cell phones are a distraction and could be a contributing factor in this accident."

Several minutes before the first 911 call about the crash, Goodman talked briefly with a fellow graduate trailing her in another vehicle. Two minutes before the crash was reported, her phone was used to send a text greeting to a friend, Povero said.

He sent a reply less than a minute before the first 911 call, the sheriff added.

Routine tests ruled out alcohol as a factor in the 10 p.m. crash, and police don't suspect drug use was involved. Goodman had only a junior driver's license, making it illegal for her to be driving after 9 p.m. without supervision or to be carrying so many young passengers.

The victims, all 17 or 18, had been cheerleaders at Fairport High. In March, the team took first place in its category at a national competition in Orlando, Fla.


Click here for original story.

July 30, 2007

Lilo: Poster Child for Girl Power?

By Vicki Courtney

Ah, another chapter in the girls gone wild epidemic that has infected teen culture. In case you didn't hear, Nicole is pregnant and facing possible jail time for a DUI and a prior drunken driving arrest. Yawn. Lindsey Lohan finished her rehab program just weeks ago, relapsed, got another DUI and could face up to six years in the slammer. Double yawn. But wait, that's not all. The media bottom-feeders hit the jackpot this week when they had to juggle between Lindsey's mug shot and news of Britney's melt-down during a photo shoot for Ok! magazine. And if the on-the-set sources are to be believed, this is not your average Britney melt-down (although "average" was redefined after the head-shaving incident). Erratic mood swings, eyes rolling back in her head while being photographed, paranoia about the ceiling caving in, wiping her grease-stained hands from lunch on the Gucci dress she was wearing, and a failure to react when her new puppy took a poo on an expensive designer gown. Who knows what's fact or fiction; even if only a portion is true, we can at the very least agree that the poor girl needs some help.

So, how then does this exactly matter to average people like you and me who don’t use or abuse drugs or alcohol, party till 3 a.m., or even think we are above the law? We don't want it to matter, but we are forced to respond when it's shoved down our throats at every media turn.

And so, it got me thinking. What is the take-away from the never-ending accounts of the celebrity train-wrecks that have become our steady diet, even if it’s force-fed? What can we learn from all this Hollywood dysfunction? Alot, for starters, but for now, I want to focus on one I'm betting the media won't cover.

I have begun to notice a common phrase that is used in the Brit-pack news accounts: "Cry for help." Now, think about it. Why do these girls need help? Didn't they simply buy into the culture's worldview that "anything goes"? Haven't they followed the advice of the trashy fashion magazines and lived out the sex-crazed, snag-a-man sub-titles in 3-D? Haven't they put their careers above such aspirations as marriage and motherhood and made millions along the way? It's all about them, 24/7, round the clock. Isn't this what "girl power" is all about?

But wait, I'm so confused. Why then, the cry for help? Could it be that living for self and engaging in endless sinful pleasures leaves one empty and powerless in the end? They're pushing a warped brand of girl power, if you ask me. If there was ever an endorsement for making virtue the new vogue, it can be found by watching these girls self-destruct in the public eye. And maybe that is the good that will come of this--a revival of virtue in today's culture. One can only hope. In the meantime, my prayers are with them. Rest assured, there is One who hears their cries for help and can turn their lives around -- if they're willing to listen. And I should know. My life is living proof of that fact.

What do you think? Is “girl power” worth it?