Boston Teens Tackle Domestic Violence, Bill O'Reilly, National Review Editor

Remember the bombshell that launched from Boston’s shores last month (before we put preppy murder back on the map)? In case you forgot, here’s a recap of some findings from the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) teen study that rocked the planet, and over-stimulated more right wing pundits than [I’ll refrain from demoralizing Ann Coulter under the circumstances, but you know what I’m getting at].

-46% of students surveyed thought Rihanna was responsible for Chris Brown’s abuse.
-52% believed both parties share the blame.
-44% of kids feel that fighting is a normal part of relationships.
-About 80% somehow affiliated Rihanna with herpes*

Those answers came from 200 boys and girls between 12 and 19 who BPHC workers and volunteers interviewed at Boston malls and community centers. When asked about what advice they might give Rihanna, one participant said, “Don’t test Chris Brown;” in response to how they might advise Brown, another lad wrote, “Do not date people with diseases,” while a peer asked, “When is your next song coming out?”

Considering the twisted pre-Rush Hour Chris Tucker type of shit bouncing around half of your kids’ skulls, a discussion was in order. Organized by the BPHC, Thursday’s forum went down at Northeastern’s hella modern student center. (I rarely feel old, but watching people play Wii on a massive flat screen was my Back to the Future fantasy come true). The room was a necessary score; between publicity stemming from the BPHC study, and the catchy workshop name – Beyond Rihanna and Chris Brown: Moving the Conversation Forward About Teen Dating Violence – nearly every seat was filled.

Ever since the BPHC released its thorough but non-scientific research, national and international media outlets have inferred Boston as the adolescent wife beating capital of America. In response, the onus fell on this community to twist a wrench around a vicious cycle. The BPHC seems up to the task; their best asset being the commission’s Start Strong program, which teaches teens about domestic violence, and that got the survey done with help from significant private grant funding. Program director Casey Corcoran concedes that he doesn’t understand the issue as much as he needs to – a more prudent approach than pointing fingers, which those wacky prime time conservatives have been doing since this news broke.

Since he never misses opportunities to blame Nas and Ludacris, Bill O’Reilly euphemistically teed off all over minorities (and got at least two figures from the study completely wrong in his segment). And the dumb train didn’t stop at Fox; Kathryn Jean Lopez from National Review blamed feminists, which doesn’t make much sense either.

Judging by what was said at the Northeastern affair, though, some kids agree with O’Reilly to a certain degree. They’re aware that youths should be able to split reality and fantasy; but a lot of them have friends who teeter on the brink of detachment between the real world and The Real World. I’m in no position to fully disagree, either; hip-hop made this monster, and it’s definitely the reason that I don’t respect stiff old goofy suckers such as Bill O’Reilly.

I learned some from the teenagers who came out to represent Boston students. That’s the point; if I’m surprised to see Wii inside a student center, then I certainly don’t know what kids consider third base these days (and I still behave like a child, so imagine how out of touch most parents are). In return for their honesty, I’ll offer some advice to anyone who remains on the fence about the Rihanna-Brown incident: I’ve interviewed both of them, and while neither is notably intelligent or humble, Brown is an over-groomed schmuck, while his girlfriend is just over-groomed. I hope that helps.

*-NOTE: Questions regarding the media revealed that these kids get news from a variety of sources including Perez Hilton, TMZ, and JAM’N 94.5. The Phoenix was not on the list.


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