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Culture Notes

Psyched out

In another twist in the controversy over &quothidden-camera" journalism, ABC News was vindicated in its expos' of psychic hotlines. In 1993, PrimeTime Live sent an investigative reporter, wired with a hidden camera, to apply for a job with a company that offered psychic consultations over the telephone. The reporter's lack of ESP apparently did not disqualify him from the position, suggesting the fraudulent nature of the business. An employee of the company sued ABC for violating his right to privacy. He won the case, along with $1.2 million. Now a California appeals court has overturned the judgment, ruling that in the employee's work setting, he could not reasonably expect his conversations to be private. Not to mention the difficulty of keeping one's privacy around so many mindreaders.

Generation Y

Sick of all the talk about Generation X? Get ready to be sick of talk about Generation Y. Social scientists are already trying to psych out the generation now in grade school, speculating about what the next crop of teenagers will be like. The turn of the century will mean a demographic bulge that will give America 30 million teenagers by 2006, the largest number since 1975. Whereas the '60s Baby-Boomers were rebellious flower children and today's Generation X is cynical, Generation Y, according to the experts, will just want to fit in. Their population boomlet will mean more competition for admission to colleges, which have cut back on their facilities during the baby bust, and for good jobs. Some pundits, according to a story by Wall Street Journal reporter Ellen Graham, predict that the first generation to come of age in the new millennium will be more tolerant, global, and diverse, thanks to their growing up on the internet. Others predict a rise in crime and mayhem, due to the larger number of young people in their crime-prone years. Another possibility is that, by the time we run out of letters after Generation Z, we will realize that generation gaps are largely an invention of the 1960s youth culture and that, as in most cultures, children will grow up much like their parents.

Lust in any language

What is the most-watched television program in the world? Answer: Baywatch, the bikini-fest watched by nearly 2.4 billion viewers in 103 countries. This saga about lifeguards of both sexes in minimalistic bathing suits has an appeal that is truly multicultural. Bob DeMoss of the Christian fax service Entertainment Today also reports that the leading distributor of home videos in 1996 was, for the second year in a row, Playboy. Maybe the free market will not clean up the entertainment industry.

Kick the habit: Get married

One of the best cures for drug and alcohol abuse, according to a University of Michigan study, is marriage. The study of 33,000 young adults, who were traced from 1976 to 1994, revealed that large numbers indulged in alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. When these same young adults married, however, their drug use dropped dramatically. The adults who remained single, however, continued their drug use. Additionally, couples who lived together without being married showed no decline in substance abuse. The research confirms what other social scientists have called the civilizing influence of marriage.

Orchestrating opposition

The Vienna Philharmonic is considered by many to be the greatest orchestra in the world. But its American tour March 4-9 will be marked by pickets and protesters. In a country that gladly tolerates the music of satanist Marilyn Manson and gangsta rappers, why would there be so much controversy over classical music by distinguished musicians? Because there are no women in the Vienna Philharmonic. &quotWe're going to have people out on the street," promised an official of the National Organization for Women, protesting the orchestra's concert in Orange County, Calif. Scheduled concerts in Carnegie Hall are also being targeted by NOW, as well as by the International Alliance for Women in Music.