Winners: Rep. Bobby Rush, for organizing a congressional hearing on the socially harmful impact of gangsta rap. Add to this slot the rapper Master P, who apologized for making gangsta rap and now says he doesn't want even his own children to listen to his work in that genre.
Losers: The shock jocks Opie and Anthony, for hosting a character named "Homeless Charlie," who made jokes on their satellite radio show about the violent rape of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They continued to laugh as "Charlie" sickly imagined punching Rice in the face and raping Laura Bush "to death." Opie and Anthony then suggested he add Queen Elizabeth to his list of victims. The regrettable "ho" comment Don Imus threw at the Rutgers women's basketball team paled in comparison to this disgusting set of gags. These two are still on the air.
Winners: Walden Media, which placed more well-made family-friendly movies in the cineplexes in 2007, from "Bridge to Terabithia" to the brand-new, critically acclaimed "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep."
Losers: The filmmakers of "Hounddog," for casting 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning ("The Cat in the Hat") in a five-minute rape scene. The movie was screened at Robert Redford's Sundance film festival. While child-actor advocates vehemently protested, young Fanning insisted people see this spectacle and be "touched" when they "see the truth" of the movie's theme of loneliness on screen. The New York Times attacked critics who protested the exploitation of Fanning: "She's growing up. Get used to it."
Losers: Tasteless, anti-religious entertainers: Kathy Griffin grasped an Emmy Award for Best Reality TV Show and proclaimed, "Suck it, Jesus!" New Line Pictures spent a mint on "The Golden Compass," part of an anti-Christian trilogy of children's books by atheist author Philip Pullman, but the box-office take was far lower than expectations.
Winners: Christmas cartoons that still score highly in the ratings on the major networks. Even new Christmas cartoons, like the more modern, ironic take of "Shrek the Halls," were ratings victories for ABC. But it's especially heartening that millions of Americans never get tired of scenes from "A Charlie Brown Christmas," with Linus reading the nativity story and the kids singing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," despite the gnashing teeth of people who hate the outpouring of any Christmas spirit.
On to 2008.
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