FOR CHANUKAH THIS YEAR, ALL WE'RE REALLY LOOKING FOR IS A DVD PLAYER, THANKS ALL THE SAME

Women seeking to add a (one-night) frisson of excitement to their marriages are apparently lining up for hymen-reattachment surgery, or "revirgination," the Wall Street Journal reluctantly reports. And while a raft of medical authorities bemoan the boom in this unnecessary procedure, Jeannette Yarborough of San Antonio would not be deterred:

For her 17th wedding anniversary, [she] wanted to do something special for her husband [so she] paid a surgeon $5,000 to reattach her hymen, making her appear to be a virgin again. "It's the ultimate gift for the man who has everything," says Yarborough.

DON'T YOU EVER WISH YOU COULD KEEP THEM FROM GROWING UP TOO SOON? (NO, REALLY. WE'RE NOT JUST BEING WISTFUL)

Israeli researchers have developed a treatment which can delay the onset of puberty in girls by as much as a year. The implant would be used to treat "central precocious puberty," a condition in which puberty begins as young as seven or eight.

WE WERE WILLING TO GO ON THE RECORD ABOUT OUR OWN HOLIDAY VACATION PLANS, BUT THE TIMES NEVER CALLED US

As we come to the end of a year when the use of unnamed sources in the media factored into criminal indictments at the highest level of government, the New York Times faces yet another anonymous source controversy.

Sunday, the paper ran an appalling Styles section story by the inevitable Lisa Birnbach about ultra-wealthy Manhattan families who, when faced with their kids' daunting two-week private-school vacations, courageously spend one week in a sunny vacation spot and then another on the ski slopes. (Help yourself.) You'd think these families would be proud to tell the world how they solved the age-old dilemma of second-week beach-resort ennui. Turns out, not so much. As Birnbach noted:

"This mother would speak only if her name did not appear in the newspaper, a condition also demanded by most of the others interviewed for this article. It is not that the vacation plans of privileged Manhattanites are sensitive matters of national security. But the families did not want to expose themselves to envy, or even ridicule, because of the sumptuousness of their lives."

Do the mothers' concerns rise to the level of justified anonymous sourcing? You be the judge. The paper's internal guidelines for granting anonymity state that:

"The use of unidentified sources is reserved for situations in which the newspaper could not otherwise print information it considers reliable and newsworthy. When we use such sources, we accept an obligation ... to convey what we can learn of their motivation."

(Our thanks to the Columbia Journalism Review for pointing this one out.)

December 28, 2005 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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