It ain’t easy being in one of the world’s most popular boy bands—just ask the members of One Direction, the British quintet behind this summer's eternal hit, "What Makes You Beautiful." The young stars, aged between 18 and 20, have been hit with a “no booze, smoking or sex” order from their management, to help keep up their squeaky-clean, kid-friendly image. But they don't seem to be taking it too seriously. While they're of legal drinking age at home in England, they're still underage in the US—not that that's prevented them from drinking on tour. "We have to get it out of the mini bar at the hotel,” reveals 19-year-old member Niall Horan. “That's the only way!" They admit to craving a few pints of beer while they’re on the road. They'll have to choose between conquering those blossoming cravings and plundering more hotel supplies as they continue to tour the US to promote their second album, which is due out next month.
Proud2Bme.org is one website that hopes to harness the power of the internet to help young people recover from eating disorders. The web can be a dangerous zone for those with eating disorders and body image issues, offering up a host of "pro-ana" websites connecting anorexic and bulimic teens, and encouraging their behaviors with "thinspirational" pictures, forums, videos and blogs. But these communities do offer the benefit of helping connect young people who might otherwise suffer in isolation, and Proud2Bme hopes to build similar social networks—but with a healthier purpose. “We need to be looking at these communities and see what we can learn from them, and what we can provide as a positive alternative," says Claire Mysko, the site's manager. Proud2Bme, which is financed by the National Eating Disorders Association, hopes to enhance its appeal to young girls by including “fashion and everyday stuff," alongside positive messages about health and body image. Founded in 2011, it currently receives about 7,000 visitors a day, and features articles by celebrities like Demi Lovato, who has been open about her struggles with bulimia. “Those who might be attracted to thinspiration content will find a space where they can feel accepted and feel like they are able to talk to others who get it,” says Mysko. “It’s an environment that’s promoting recovery.” Other online movements have recently sprung up intending to inspire young people to take positive action with regard to body image—including a recent Body Revolution movement launched by Lady Gaga in response to media attacks on her perceived weight gain.
Some earth-shattering "reality" TV news: the booze-soaked TLC show Breaking Amish is being attacked for falsifying details of the castmates' lives—to the point where some have dubbed it "Faking Amish." The show ostensibly whisks young Amish and Mennonites from Pennsylvania and puts them in a Hyatt on Lexington, introducing them to microwaves, light switches and Chateau Diane for the first time. But Facebook sleuths have recently claimed that cast members Abe and Rebecca—portrayed on screen as a newly-met courting couple—already have a child together. Star magazine joined the fun by reporting that castmate Jeremiah left the Amish no fewer than 14 years ago and has three children from an ex-wife, whom he abused. One thing that probably isn’t fake about the castmates is their alcohol abuse. Especially Kate’s: she's seen drinking to excess, blacking out, and making amends for some regrettable flipcamming—the Bishop’s daughter even picked up a DUI in Florida. On last night’s episode, the others "shunned" her for her drinking; they all moved into one hotel room, leaving Kate on her own. But the shunners are hardly angels: Abe has a 2008 arrest for public intoxication on his record, while Jeremiah frequently seems wasted. And aren't we told that it's better to confront an addict without anger and judgement, explaining to them rationally how their behavior is affecting you? Kate’s freak-outs are disturbing, but won't hurt the ratings: watching trainwrecks has long been a popular pursuit.
It's not just the inmates who smuggle contraband into prisons—Californian prison employees have also been getting in on the act. A report from the state's prison watchdog agency reveals that more than 20 prison employees suspected of smuggling cellphones to inmates have resigned or been fired in recent months. And altogether, 54 employees have been accused of smuggling phones; the allegations were dropped in 13 of those cases, while the rest remain under investigation. Smuggling cell phones to prisoners was made a federal crime last year, and is now punishable by up to six months' in prison. Cell phones are used to run street gangs, intimidate witnesses, plan assaults on guards and deal drugs from behind bars.
Most of the busted phone-smugglers did it for the money—cell phones can fetch up to $1,000 inside. But others did it for love, after becoming romantically involved with an inmate: one of the phones confiscated in California contained text messages and nude photos sent by a female guard, while a female prison office worker is suspected of smuggling a phone to a prisoner who's believed to have fathered her child—she resigned when prosecutors requested a DNA sample. Manipulating the affections of prison staff members (despite their training to avoid this) is routine, prisoners recently told The Fix: "My man pushed up on this young rookie C/O. She was green as hell," said one. "He laid it on her real smooth, had her bringing him food, chewing gum, jewelry and it wasn't two months later she was bringing in packages for him. He finessed that girl something fierce. She was in love with him." Officials say they've confiscated fewer phones in recent months; they're on track to recover 12,000 this year, down from 15,000 last year.
When a movie star as A-list as Brad Pitt talks, people tend to listen. The 48-year-old actor has been speaking candidly about his past experience with drugs following a screening of The House I Live In—a documentary about the drug war which Pitt produced. “My drug days are long since passed but it's certainly true that I could probably land in any city in any state and get you whatever you wanted. I could find anything you were looking for," he says. "Give me 24 hours or so. And yet we still support this charade called the drug war. We have spent a trillion dollars. It's lasted for over 40 years. A lot of people have lost their lives for it. And yet we still talk about it like it's this success.” The sometime sexiest man in the world then explained why he thinks the drug war has failed: “The drug war is actually being used to hold a portion of our society down. It's staggering to me what is being perpetrated in this name of a war on...immorality. It's criminal in itself. And we've got to look at that. We have to change that.” The House I Live In examines different sides of the issue, but comes to the same conclusion—citing over $1 trillion in government costs, 45 million arrests in the past 40 years, and the fact that drugs are cheaper and more available today than ever. “I know people are suffering because of it," says Pitt. "I know I've lived a very privileged life in comparison and I can't stand for it. To me, there's no question; we have to rethink this policy and we have to rethink it now.”
- Brazil Drugs Raids: Police Surge Into North Rio Slums [BBC]
- Four NH Patients Have Fungal Meningitis Tied to Steroids [Boston.com]
- Lance Armstrong's Lawyer Calls for Lie Detector Tests All Round [The Guardian]
- Colorado Bid to Legalize Marijuana Leads in Polls [CBS]
- Celebrity Sex: Five Divorced Stars With Alleged Sex Addictions [Huffington Post]
- Steelers Rookie Alameda Ta'amu Arrested for Drunk Driving[NBC Sports]