Hayley Williams has grown up since that regretful lyric 10 years ago. We should let her.

In the summer of 2007, Paramore unleashed a pop-punk anthem on the world with "Misery Business."

The song — the first single from the band's second album "Riot!" — details a true story about singer Hayley Williams (who was 17 at the time) feeling betrayed and backstabbed by another girl. It was 100% undiluted high school drama. It was also catchy as all hell.

While the song is still a banger a decade later, a few of the lyrics haven't exactly weathered the test of time. Specifically, the line "Second chances, they don't ever matter / People never change / Once a whore, you're nothing more / I'm sorry, that'll never change."


Williams sings the infamous line at iHeartRadio's 2013 Jingle Ball concert. GIF via iHeartRadio/YouTube.

People have been criticizing Williams for that particular lyric for a while now, calling it "anti-feminist." So she's addressing it head on.

In a recent interview with Track7, Williams acknowledged the backlash, saying that she was a bit annoyed because she "had already done so much soul-searching about it, years before anyone else had decided there was an issue."

"When the article began circulating, I sort of had to go and rehash everything in front of everybody," she said. "It was important, however, for me to show humility in that moment. I was a 17 year old kid when I wrote the lyrics in question and if I can somehow exemplify what it means to grow up, get information, and become any shade of 'woke,' then that’s a-okay with me."

She recognizes now how she was unwittingly "feeding into a lie that [she'd] bought into, just like so many other teenagers — and many adults — before [her]," about being a "cool girl" and tearing other women down. In other words, she's a more mature person at 28 than she was at 17.

In May 2015, she addressed the lyric in a Tumblr post, saying that she's not ashamed of her mistakes because they've helped shape her into the person she went on to become.

Williams with bandmates Taylor York (left) and Jeremy Davis (right) in February 2014. Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for DirecTV.

Williams was a little more self-aware at the time than even she gives herself credit for.

David Bendeth, who produced the "Riot!" album, opened up about the process in an interview with Billboard to mark the record's 10th anniversary, touching on Williams' reluctance to sing the infamous lyric.

"Hayley was upset about that girl [who was the subject of 'Misery Business']. In fact, in the lyrics she wrote, 'Once a whore, you’re nothing more' — and I remember at the time, she looked at me and said, 'I don’t think I can sing this. I don’t think I can say this. This just isn’t me,' and I said, 'Hayley, it is you and you wrote it. You have to sing it,' and she says, 'I just don’t think it’s right. I think morally it’s wrong to call somebody that.' I said, 'You’re not [calling somebody that]. You’re explaining the situation,' and she said, 'Okay, I’m going to sing it. I’m not going to like it, but I’m going to sing it.'"

We can all relate to regretting things we said or did when we were younger. It's how we react when those things resurface that says the most about who we are as people.

Learning to admit our mistakes and grow from them is part of being human.

In a world where kids are growing up online, posting to social media sites at younger ages, these mistakes are more likely to be the type that are not only public now, but will be public 10 years from now. The type of scrutiny previously reserved for rock stars, politicians, and public figures will increasingly seep into the lives of everyone.

While there are things people can do to keep their information private to avoid embarrassing revelations years down the line (always check your privacy settings), there's also a lot we can do as individuals in society to create a more empathetic culture that allows people to evolve beyond past mistakes and grow into their best selves — or not make those embarrassing mistakes in the first place.

In the years since the release of "Riot!" Williams has done advocacy work in support of LGBTQ people, the environment, survivors of sexual assault, music education, and the fight against breast cancer. One way to start creating a more empathetic society is by accepting and acknowledging Williams' statement at face value, bolstered by her actions, as a sign of her growth, humility, and most of all, her humanity.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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