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Today's word on journalism

Monday, October 22, 2007

Can't Scare the Old Gray Lady:

"Good journalism for an intelligent general audience is hard. And we’re really good at it. Taking on The Times is not as easy as waving a credit card and proclaiming yourself 'fair and balanced. . . .' We have every reason to feel confident that we can hold our own if [Rupert] Murdoch decides to build The Journal beyond its business-reader base. In all the Murdoch parlor-gaming, I don’t hear anyone suggesting that he would attempt to match the depth of our coverage in culture, science, education, health, religion, sports, lifestyle, etc., etc. Not to mention business coverage that even devout Journal readers find they can't afford to miss."

-- Bill Keller, editor, New York Times, on Murdoch's promised Wall Street Journal challenge to Times national dominance, Oct. 16, 2007


Fixing the perplexing problem of your 'inner princess'

By Leslie Mason

September 21, 2007 | It hides in chick flicks, romance novels, the next commercial on the Family Channel, student diaries, musicals, and nearly every form of media available to young adults of today's world. It feeds teenage (and slightly more-aged) notions of "true love." It is the idea of the inner princess, the ability for any girl to become anything she would like, with no effort on her own part, ensuring the love of the high school quarterback, the student body president, or any other Ken-style gorgeous boy.

Although the terminology of "inner princess" may be new to you as a reader, we've all known at least one, or can vividly imagine one quite easily. These are the girls who are anywhere from mildly to severely unattractive, physically or socially, and who do not take any measures to remedy the problem. However, these girls hold fast to the belief that someday a handsome prince will walk by and see them for the special someone they really are, and they have confidence he won't notice or mind the unattractive exterior. Additionally, not only do these girls believe this will actually happen, they believe they have the "right" to fall in love and live happily ever after with the most handsome guy they can find. Because, after all, guys shouldn't find the exterior to be such a huge factor; they need to give every girl the benefit of the doubt and find out what her personality is like before writing her off. These girls hang on to the notion that people should be attracted to one another solely because of personality traits and hobbies, that physical looks and social maturity should not affect the dating process in any way.

Inner princesses are not only limited to teens. One of my roommates is a sweet college senior, and one of the few princesses who have made an attempt to improve herself. She's clearly made leaps and bounds, and yet recently made a comment that shows just how widespread inner princessians have become and how difficult it is for them to break out of that ideal.

"I always attract sweet, nice guys, and then they're interested and they're almost impossible to get rid of," she said. "Then, the cute guy you're actually interested in won't even look twice at you, and ends up going out with the head cheerleader." Hmm. What an interesting epiphany. Now, shouldn't the girls who live by the inner princess theory apply it as well? It could very well be possible that the ugly guy you're standing next to has a beautiful personality, and you're not giving him a chance. It's unfair for girls to expect to land a great catch they don't deserve while in the same moment labeling and disdaining those "beneath them."

I saw a recent movie where the inner princess theory was stickily intertwined in every moment. The main character, a slightly overweight girl with only one real friend outside her imagined supporters, falls for the main dancing star of a local TV show. She knows if he will just see her for who she is they will have pretty flowers and fluffy bunnies for all the rest of their days. The boy later meets the girl, falls for her, they share a beautiful kiss, and the rest of the movie is a blur due to the diabetes attack I had from all the sweetness.

In the real world, the darker and more sinister world devoid of random singing and unprompted mass choreography, this movie would have a much sadder plot. The girl and her only friend would sit at home on the couch watching the local TV station and cooing over Mr. Hottieman. Then, after long years of aching for Mr. Hottieman, the girl would finally leave the security of her home. She would arrive at his home just in time to see him kissing the prettiest dancer on his show. The girl would be completely crushed, curse that the boy who barely knows her won't look her way, and go back home to sit on the couch until she finds another idol to worship. She eventually becomes a spinster who does nothing all day but wonder why the men in her younger life weren't open to getting to know how wonderful she is inside.

The inner princess idea is hogwash. No boy gets up one morning deciding to find the most socially awkward girl to figure out what really makes her special inside. Sorry. It just doesn't happen. Girls that want to attract the cute and successful guys of this world need to go out of their way to become cute and successful too. Opposites attract, but only to a certain extent. Guys need to be intrigued enough to discover those special qualities the girl has.

So, a key observation for all you still clinging to this hope of truly being discovered by Mr. Wonderful: You need to put forth the effort for him to notice you. Wear a little makeup, start working out, and find hobbies and interests to make yourself a more rounded person. Essentially, become interesting enough to be attractive.

Alternatively, congratulations to all you guys and girls who have already discovered who you are, and who are pursuing those on your level. By doing so, you're perpetuating the idea that marriages and partners should be equal, that uglies and social outcasts should marry the like, and that the pretty people should continue having children whose faces can be plastered on magazines and baby food labels. After all, if unequal partnerships occur too often, it will mean the end of the balance in the universe and our social system will crumble like piecrust, sending our earth plummeting into inevitable self-destruction.

Ultimately, if I were a contestant on Ms. America, my one wish would not be "world peace," but global application of marriages of equals. Yes, thanks to those of you who are perpetuating their own race. We'll all be happier because of people like you.



Copyright 1997-2007 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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