Reader Annette informs me that I overlooked something crucial when I suggested yesterday that the utterly square Disney ‘toon “Valiant” was a better movie-ticket buy than the revolting and oh-so-hip “Aristocrats” (see “A Movie to Make You Sick,” Aug. 22): 

“The way I read the opening credits for ‘Valiant’ was that it is a British production that Disney distributed. The almost utter lack of U.S. voice talent is also indicitive of a British production.”

You are absolutely right, Annette. I neglected to point out that this wonderful animated feature about the homing pigeons who carried messages behind enemy lines for the British army during World War II is completely British-made and merely distributed by Disney. There couldn’t be any more Brit human…er, avian, types than these.

And reader E.B. adds her voice to the commentary on this New York Times op-ed piece by Carol E. Lee lamenting that youthful female celebrities–Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Reese Witherspoon, and the like–have chosen to get married in their early 20s and in some cases even have babies. The horror! The immaturity! The bad example for other young women who may not realize that what they’re supposed to do is join the sexual revolution like the carefree female celebs who were Lee’s role models when she was young! Don’t they realize, as Lee’s pal, Spokane, Wash., columnist Cheryl-Anne Millsaps points out, that having a babe is the worst thing that can happen to a babe? (See the Mailbags for Aug. 19 and Aug. 22.) Here’s E.B.:

“The underlying assumption of the column is what disturbed me. ‘But it was the female celebrities who determined what I wore, how I talked and what I liked. It’s just the same today.’ Combine that with Millsaps’ advice to have a reality show taking the glamour out of pregnancy and motherhood, thus stopping young girls from heading down that same path.

“What I didn’t see was any suggestion that maybe, just maybe, young women should be steered away from being so heavily influenced by celebrities, who are notoriously fickle in attitude and behavior. Both Lee and Millsap seem to cede primary influence on their daughters to celebrities. As a result, they’re focused on influencing and criticizing those celebrities’ behavior. Wouldn’t it be more effective and wiser to reassert influence where you have a direct relationship–namely with your own daughters? Isn’t that a mother’s job? Whatever happened to teaching daughters how to exercise their own good judgment, withstand peer pressure, and take fickle celebrity trends in stride?”

Excellent point, E.B. It beats me why so many mothers–and fathers–cede to mass-media culture the setting of values and mores for their children.

By the way, here’s some astute commentary on Lee’s article from the Institute for American Values blog:

“What is the author really trying to say — that married-and-pregnant celebrities will lead to a new rise in teenage pregancy? That getting married in one’s early 20s is retrograde (I guess, at least now I can defend myself by saying, ‘Jessica Simpson made me do it!’)? That a Republican White House is leading a backlash against female sexuality? All these things are suggested, none is actually argued for. But a general hostility towards marriage certainly comes through loud and clear.”