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I'm Steve Hartman and this is Sunday Morning. America's school children are on summer vacation. No more teachers, no more books.
The same however can't be said for smartphones. Even in summer there's hardly ever a day off from social media. A constant presence that's already changing the way kids experience not only school, but life in general.
Tracy Smith will report our cover story. Eighth grade. You probably recall it wasn't exactly the easiest time. Now along comes a movie by the same name. It's a study in awkwardness and growing up in the age of smartphones. By the way, I like your shirt a lot. It's like so cool.
What do you say to people who look at this and say well we need to put limits on this? Sure. Cool. That's fine. Yeah, absolutely.
They can take away whatever they want from the movie. Director Bo Burnham and star Elsie Fisher take us back to middle school. Our cover story this Sunday morning. Our Sunday profile is of actress Jennifer Garner, which is the fulfillment of a longtime wish or so she's telling Connor Knighton. From action to comedies... Tonight the chef is featuring a dish that he likes to call the lime stinking pig. To drama, Jennifer Garner has done it all.
Is there a dream role or a dream project that you've always wanted to do? CBS Sunday Morning with Connor Knighton and now I'm good. That's it.
I'm good. There's a little pond right there. Jennifer Garner's latest role later on Sunday morning. We'll have those stories and more just ahead. Middle school is never easy for anyone and as a new movie makes clear, throwing social media into the mix just makes it all the more complicated.
Our cover story is reported by Tracy Smith. I said one more week of eighth grade, right? Yeah. That's crazy. Yeah, huh? You can't believe you're gonna be in high school.
How did that happen? This might be the scariest movie of the summer, at least for parents. You excited?
Yes. The new dramedy eighth grade is about Kayla, a painfully shy 13 year old, as she stumbles through her last week of middle school. But there's more to the movie than the usual teen angst and acne. Most quiet Kayla Day. Like a lot of kids, Kayla spends a good chunk of her day online, texting with her classmates or posting self-help videos on her YouTube channel. Make sure to subscribe to my channel. And yeah, thank you for watching.
Gucci. You don't have to look at him. Just headphone out for a second. It's writer director Bo Burnham's first feature film, and it has 15 year old star Elsie Fisher thinking about her own life online.
Well, even now, I feel young to be on the internet. It's hilarious. Yeah, of course.
Oh my God. Yeah, because social media has made me think differently as a person. It's made me more anxious, I think.
Be yourself and don't care about what other people think about you. Burnham shows the internet as a double edged sword. The same technology that allows a shy girl to reach out to the world can also torment her with images of people having fun without her. It follows you everywhere now and it follows you in your bedroom. And then you get into your bed at the end of the night and you have a choice between all of the information in the history of the world or the back of your eyelids, which is not a great choice between oblivion or infinity. You know what I mean?
Is there a middle ground where these kids can exist? You know, and I also want to say, I think it's training our brains to be fine with being overstimulated. Like it is severely lowering our attention spans. Do you see that in yourself?
Yeah, of course. Especially now, it's like, it feels so strenuous to just sit down for 20 minutes and just do nothing and think. And the internet gives you an escape from your thoughts, which might not always be good. And the internet is hard to ignore when it's right there in your hand. A 2018 Pew Research study says that by age 14, 94% of kids have access to smartphones. They've been called the iGen. Why do you call this generation iGen? So it's iGen like iPhones and iPads, and they are the first generation to spend their entire adolescence with smartphones.
San Diego State professor Jean Twenge also wrote a book called iGen, published by an imprint of Simon & Schuster, a CBS company. She says kids who can easily chat online can sometimes have a tough time talking face to face. You know, it's interesting in this movie, this eighth grade movie, this eighth grade girl comes alive when she's looking at her phone, and yet in real life is incredibly awkward. Is that common? It is fairly common for a lot of the teens in iGen, because they've grown really comfortable with spending a lot of time on social media and texting, but they don't spend as much time with their friends face to face. So, you know, anecdotally, this is what I hear from teachers and from managers.
They'll say, you know, I love this generation, but I'm surprised at how many of them will not look me in the eye. Here we have all this media that's supposed to connect us. Is it making us more lonely in a way, especially kids?
I would say definitely. It was made to connect us, but I mean, more than anything, it's made us more self-obsessed, and that just leads to loneliness and just getting too much in your own brain. Yeah.
Who knows? Maybe in 10 years from now, five years from now, whatever, it'll fix itself. But right now, I think people are more lonely than ever, and social media is probably a cause of that.
She's right, according to experts, and they say it's been getting worse for the past seven years. So overall, around 2011, teens' mental health really began to suffer. 2011. Why is that year so key? 2011, 2012 is right when smartphones became common.
So when they switched from being something only a few people had to something almost everybody had. And at 27, director Bo Burnham gets it. He seems to have a real feel for teens who are drawn to the internet, likely because not that long ago, he was one of them.
One, two, three, four. As a kid growing up outside of Boston, young Bo would make and post funny YouTube videos, mostly for his family. Once a pirate minus the ship, just a creative homeless guy.
His musical parodies went viral, and talent agents took notice. I know that this didn't come from a place of, hey, I want to be a YouTube star. You were just trying to share stuff with your family. Yeah, but I probably did want to be, you know, I wanted attention, I wanted everything, you know, like, I'm not going to try to spin it, like I was some, like, a what? You know what I mean? Like, I definitely did, like, want to be something for sure. So did it matter to you the number of likes that you had? Oh, yeah, of course.
I mean, it was very thrilling. In a few short years, Bo Burnham went from home internet star to comedy star on late night TV. People complain about my show, they think I act too theatrical or flamboyant, and that makes me so angry. And he was one of the youngest comedians ever to get his own Netflix specials.
If you want love, lower your expectations a few, because Prince Charming would never settle for you. Could you ever have imagined when you were posting those videos that you'd end up in Hollywood? Yeah, I thought, well, I'm not really meant for the weather, I'm not a beach person, so I don't know why I'm here. You're here because it's Hollywood, right? It's where all the meetings, it's where I get all the free water bottles in the meetings, that's sort of why I'm here, but.
You play cello? And now, as a Hollywood director, he's wrestling with the social media that helped get him here. I just think it's going to be like smoking, like, in 40 years, we'll be like, why were we all doing this? And I always say, like, the equivalent of my doctor smoked will be like my shrink had a Twitter.
Or it's kind of like sugar, a little is fine, a lot can be trouble, says Jean Twenge. So what is the solution? I mean, can we yank smartphones out of the hands of kids?
I do not think that's the solution, according to the research. Kids do use these technologies for a lot of good things. So the key is limited use.
And limited, she says, means being online about two hours a day. Bo Burnham says he doesn't know what the answer is, but he's pretty sure members of the internet generation will be the ones to figure it out. We're going to start to see these young kids get power and make things, and you're going to see the internet talked about in subtler ways and more interesting ways.
You know, and I will soon look like an out of touch, dusty old fart, and I will happily take that mantle and listen. Good evening, fashion designer Gianni Versace was murdered today, gunned down outside his mansion in Miami Beach, Florida. And now a page from our Sunday morning almanac, July 15th, 1997, 21 years ago today, the day fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot and killed on the front steps of his Miami Beach mansion. Born in Italy in 1946, Versace was famous for his daring and provocative designs, creations for which he made no apologies.
I don't think my dress can be sexy if inside the house. Versace's murder prompted an all-points dragnet. Documents found inside a stolen pickup truck soon pointed the finger at 27-year-old Andrew Cunanan, well-known within San Diego's gay community. A sometime male prostitute with a taste for high living, Cunanan was already being hunted for a nationwide killing spree earlier in the year that claimed the lives of four men. After lying low in Miami for two months, Cunanan fatally ambushed Versace early that July 15th morning for reasons that remain a mystery to this day.
Eight days later, on July 23rd, police cornered Cunanan inside a houseboat. Rather than surrender, Cunanan shot himself in the head. Gianni Versace was shot and killed on the front steps of his Miami Beach mansion. Gianni Versace's funeral in Milan attracted A-list celebrities from around the world. And the legacy of his unique style lives on, as fashion authority Tim Gunn can attest. Sexy, alluring, gorgeous red carpet gowns, it's all attributable to Gianni Versace. Perfect harmony is the goal of every choral director.
But few, if any, have ever achieved it on the grand scale I found in Oklahoma. On quiet days, which they all are now, retired high school music teacher Robert Moore likes to pour over the list, the names of all 900 of his former students. 1966 to 1996. 30 years directing one of the greatest high school choral groups in the country, the Ponca City Chorale of Ponca City, Oklahoma.
What he wouldn't give to relive those times. Wouldn't it be great to get those kids back together? But there's no way that could happen.
Actually, I was playing dumb. There is very much a way, and it was already in the works. But it would be fun.
It would be. Unbeknownst to Mr. Moore, for the past year, a small group of students have been plotting a surprise. They lured him out to the country and then hit him with the greatest gift a teacher can receive. From across America and three foreign countries, Robert Moore's former students returned, nearly 300 of them. Hey, good to see you. All here to tell Mr. Moore the huge difference he made in their lives. Good to see you. You were the greatest influence that ever hit my heart.
I appreciate that. Many went into education. You're the reason, sir, I'm teaching right now. Many more pursued music.
John Atkins graduated in 76. And I became an opera singer, had a 25-year career, singing with the LA Opera and all around the country, and it wouldn't have happened without you. I said, you changed my life.
You made my career. Touched so many lives. Helped turn my life around. Not real sure where I'd be without him. And he pulled things out of you that it didn't know were there. Things they're still this grateful for today. To this day, it's almost like having him on the shoulder. Sometimes I catch myself saying things to professional players, things that he said to us. Jim Wadolow is conductor of the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra. Would you have your job today if not for him? Absolutely not. To repay their debt of gratitude, the students rented out the old Ponkin Theater and put on one last show for their mentor.
Please be seated. Their harmonic voices and their cumulative success are no doubt a testament to what a good teacher can accomplish in a career. And I say good teacher, which isn't always the same as a likable teacher. Discipline was huge.
Lots and lots of discipline. He was not warm and fuzzy. Not at all. Not a lot of hugging, not a lot of affection. But if you got a little smile from him. Half of a grin from him. That was gold.
We would move heaven and earth to please him. And on this night, they did just that. No man deserves this. Tough teachers often go unappreciated for years. But if they're great, eventually the thanks do come thundering, giving the teacher an opportunity at last. I love to them.
To show his students how he felt all along. And I love to do it now. Thank you. Thank you.
Coming soon, Mobituaries, a podcast on matters of death and life from Mo Rocca. Isn't that your silver car I saw parked out front? Yeah, one of them. Think I could get an autograph?
Do you have a pen in your room? It's Sunday morning, and here again is Steve Hartman. That's Jennifer Garner, an actress who traveled a long way from home to find success. And who better to tell her story than someone from her own hometown? Connor Knighton has our Sunday profile. Because no matter what I do or how hard I try or what I look like or what I wear, it'll never be enough.
So you'll win. Do you remember when I did Zoya, the Daniel Steele miniseries? At that point, that's like front page news in Charleston. That was the hugest deal that ever happened.
You may not recall the 1995 miniseries Zoya, Jennifer Garner's first on-camera appearance. Freddie and I were married this afternoon. And I'm pregnant. But I grew up in her hometown of Charleston, West Virginia.
We went to the same church, we graduated from the same high school. So that means I can name every project she has ever done. It's a long list that spans a career of more than two decades. From superhero to super awkward. We have everybody waiting to come tonight, right? From critically acclaimed indie films.
For about a year, a group of patients gets either the drug or a placebo. To huge ad campaigns. What's in your wallet? But way before she became the center of attention, Jennifer Garner was your typical middle child in a family of three girls. The daughter of a chemical engineer and a teacher, Garner's love of performing began on the dance floor. Well, my mom just put us in dance. And I wasn't as talented naturally as either of my sisters, but I was expressive. They would say, oh, she's very expressive.
Garner entered Ohio's Denison University as a chemistry major, but graduated with a BFA in theater. After four years, she left her West Virginia accent behind. When I went to college, I had a bit of a twang. I sounded kind of mountain-y. But I loved, loved, loved any play that was just dripping with words. The more words, the better. And it takes a long time to speak with a twang. So I had it kind of kicked out of me. After traveling the country in summer stock theater productions, building sets along the way, Garner started building a small resume of television appearances.
I just don't want to fight with him. A guest spot on the series Felicity caught the attention of writer-director J.J. Abrams, inspiring him to create a role with her specifically in mind. Super-spy Sidney Bristow on TV's Alias.
It was a role that the studio made her fight for, literally. I went through the yellow pages. I looked up the local guy who had the most degrees of black belt. I called him.
I went to see him every day. And by the time I had my fifth audition for Alias, they said, what can you show us? And I said, well, I've learned a couple of forms. I'm already this belt.
I can do this. And I just stood in the room and did it. I remember there was a summer in college. I'd gone to New York. And I'd seen a billboard for Alias with you in an orange wig. And I realized that things are about to get really different for her.
Isn't that weird? How did that change your life? It changes it in such an instant and enormous way, because it's startling to become recognizable.
It's startling and shocking. Alias made her a star, but nothing could have prepared Garner for the nonstop tabloid coverage that followed her romance with actor Ben Affleck. Well, there was a solid decade where there were five or six cars minimum and up easily up to 15 or 20 on the weekends outside of my house at all times. And looking back on that, I really feel the stress of it.
I could cry talking about it. After 10 years of marriage, the A-list power couple, who have three children together, announced their separation in 2015. They filed for divorce last year, but the public was and still is obsessed with your private life. What has that been like for you going through a divorce and having every moment of that play down on the cover of these magazines? What I think that I've learned is that scrutiny in your private life puts a pressure to make something happen. You feel a pressure to hurry up and get married, because you think that'll end the, are they engaged, are they not?
And that's true in the reverse as well. If you are, you know, if there is any inkling of trouble, or if the tabloids decide there's trouble, it can create trouble, but to be honest, public scrutiny, everyone says, oh, you've had to go through this in public. The public isn't what's hard, what's hard is going through it. Do you find that you're able to tune out from all of that? Do you pay attention? I don't look at it.
I had to really get serious with myself and say, this is not healthy. Nobody should see pictures of themselves that paparazzi have taken. You can in the morning, you can either be making breakfast for your kids, making their lunch boxes, or you can be getting paparazzi ready. And so, you know, I know which way I'm going to go. I'm here, there's a little pond right there.
My sisters and I caught our first fish in it. You won't find any paparazzi out here. Mama could sure fry good chicken. Yes, she could. Mom could make a squirrel taste real good. Well, that's saying something. But is that in theory or that's in practice you've tried?
No, no, that's in practice. Oh, really? Yeah, we ate squirrels. Yeah, we ate squirrels, I know.
I will again if I have to. In Locust Grove, Oklahoma, just east of Tulsa, Garner's recently purchased the farm her mother Pat grew up on and where her uncle Robert still lives. What all are you going to be growing here? We're going to be growing blueberries and kale and persimmons. And persimmons are native to here.
They do real well here. With her uncle's help, Garner's turning the old family farm into a site to grow produce for Once Upon a Farm, the organic fresh baby food company she recently co-founded. Why was it important for you to have it on this farm? Well, first of all, if I had had any idea how happy it would make my mom to be part of bringing this little farm back to life, I would have done it 10 times over. But your family just has a connection to the land that has raised them.
And I wanted the business to be connected to my family. Fresh food was a key part of Garner's childhood. Mom did not believe in processed food. So everything we had was homemade. We had, if it was a cookie, it was a homemade cookie. Of course, that doesn't always mean it was eaten. She was kind of picky. I was the pickiest. She was a picky eater and lived on peanut butter and honey.
She'll say, how did you stand me, mother? Now, in her role as chief brand officer, Garner's goal, she says, is to get the quality of homemade food into the homes of busy parents. We're just making an option for moms who might be too busy to make their own fresh food for their kids that day or ever.
And we're making it fresh from the earth just at the grocery store. And is this something that you'd have three meals a day or is this, you know, the midday kind of snack and then breakfast dinner or different? It just depends. Babies eat different things at different times. You'll see some day, Connor.
But yes, you would just. Nachos and milkshakes, right? Sometimes a baby might have nachos.
And then sometimes they'll have once upon a farm. It's good. Don't worry. You'll learn.
I'll help you when you get there. It's been a busy year for the 46-year-old Garner. I need you to hear this.
You are still you, Simon. In addition to a celebrated turn in the movie Love, Simon, Garner is returning to TV. She just wrapped shooting the new HBO show Camping. And today's the five-year anniversary of her family's murder. She's back in action in the revenge film Peppermint that premieres this fall. But back in her backyard garden at her Los Angeles home, blueberries are in season. Oh, yeah.
Wow. It's a revelation. Here, she grows kale and lemons, raises chickens, and keeps bees for honey. It's food for her own family.
Her way of connecting to how once upon a time, she was raised. Oh, yeah. It just makes you happy to pick something and eat it. Oh, yeah. Love shells. I mean, they're so good, right?
I made a blueberry crumble the other night for dessert. Our contributor, Jim Gaffigan, has soured on one candy maker's marketing approach. Recently, I took my ungrateful children to an overpriced Broadway show that was not Hamilton. Any New Yorker will tell you there is Hamilton, and there are the Broadway shows you can actually get tickets to. As we left the non-Hamilton show, I was congratulating myself on being a great New York City father who actually voluntarily went to Times Square when I saw it. No, it wasn't the mass of humanity wandering aimlessly among the glare of commercialism. It wasn't the numerous freelance freakish mascots that look like nightmarish versions of Elmo and the Statue of Liberty.
No, it was something far more disturbing. It was Eminem's world. This wasn't my first time encountering Eminem's world, but I had the same incredulous reaction.
I mumbled to myself, why? Since the Eminem's inception at the end of Who Knows, is it possible that anyone has ever pondered, when are they going to open an Eminem store? Has a single person ever looked at an Eminem's world and thought, finally, a place for all my Eminem needs? Sure, I have to pass dozens of stores and kiosks that sell Eminem's to get there, but it'll be worth it to finally buy Eminem's in a totally pro Eminem environment. I'm not sure how many Eminem's they have to sell to justify the Times Square location. Luckily, they don't have to rely solely on Eminem's sales.
They can also include the sale of peanut Eminem's and stuffed animal Eminem's and, well, absolutely nothing else. In January, I was slightly horrified to come across an Eminem's world in London's West End. Somehow, the London Eminem's world didn't make me embarrassed to be American.
It made me ashamed to be human. The Eminem's world in London is massive. It has four levels, which I guess in a way makes sense. The first and second levels, so you can buy Eminem's. The third level, so you can buy more Eminem's. And the fourth level, so you can jump to your death because you wasted time in an Eminem's store when you were in London. There are also Eminem's worlds in Las Vegas, Orlando, and Shanghai, because obviously there needed to be some form of entertainment in those otherwise bland destinations. Hey, I don't have any judgment.
If you personally enjoy going to the Eminem's store, that's fine, but obviously you shouldn't vote. I'm Steve Hartman. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out. What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation, is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts.
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