Archives For culture

It wouldn’t be Christmas time without all of the traditional trappings…

You know our culture doesn't have a real war to fight when this is its hill to die on.

You know our culture doesn’t have a real war to fight when this is its hill to die on.

The lights, the gifts, time with family,

Some sermonizing from Kirk Cameron.

Now, I am assuming that most of you have not, and will not see Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. It has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (and a 32% user rating.) Even still, Cameron’s “movie” represents a bigger picture of American Christmastime, an annual tradition of defending tradition against the forces of paganism, liberalism, consumerism and whoever else may want to “destroy” Christmas. Every year, there is a part of our culture that makes it their mission as Christian soldiers to wage a culture war, to preserve American Christianity for the next generation.

You know what? I don’t think the liberals or the pagans or the retailers are destroying Christmas or Christianity. I think the culture warriors are. You shouldn’t not see Saving Christmas because it’s bad art. You should skip movies like Saving Christmas, because movies like this actually achieve the opposite of their goal.

It’s time we stopped trying to save Christmas and changed our priorities.

Continue Reading…

For the last week, I have watched social media. Watched, but not much engaged nor commented.

Are these white people protesting injustice and oppression? No, they are just trying to get the best deals at Target.

Are these white people yearning to breathe free, protesting injustice and oppression? No, they are just trying to get the best deals at Target.

Since the Ferguson decision, I have mostly kept quiet, mostly watched.

My social media feed has been filled with people all over the country. People who vehemently voice their opinions. People who, like me, do not live in Ferguson. People who, like me, probably have never met a Ferguson resident in their lives. People who, like me, were not witness to any of the actual goings-on in Ferguson. People who, like me, have opinions that do not really matter one bit to the plight of Ferguson.

I watch the comments, which can be roughly divided into two columns. There are the people who “stand” with the people of Ferguson, however they define it. And there are the people who turn up their noses and say “tisk tisk” to the people of Ferguson. They say things like “how very sad” and “They deserve what they get.”

It makes me sad, because Friday came just a few days later, and I knew exactly what was going to happen next.

Continue Reading…

On Friday, people went nuts again.

I heard about people camping out for two weeks for some Black Friday deals. I don’t know what kind of math you have to do for that to make sense. But it seems more sensible to me to go to work. If you have to camp out for two weeks to buy a television, you probably have bigger problems than not having a television.

I wonder if Black Friday is even fun anymore. It does not look like it. It looks awful. I said that as I stayed at home in my pajamas, drinking coffee and enjoying the beautiful morning.

The thing is I do not even know what I missed. I don’t know about any of the deals I passed up. I don’t know about all of the fabulous stuff I could have had and unbelievable prices.

But I also know something else.

No matter how much time I spent or money I saved. No matter how hard I fought to get a great deal, I would still probably forget everything I bought by next Christmas. There are so very few gifts that I have received in my life that I remember. Does anyone else realize this?

Gift-giving has long lost its luster for me. In some ways, I actually dread it. The thing that used to excite me most as a child has all but lost its meaning for me. I am glad my family does a fun little “gift auction.” We get play money and bid on items that any of us would enjoy. The other option is that we all just buy gift cards for each other, which is a thinly veiled way to just swap cash.

I have long since learned that the excitement that Santa promised was very temporary, very fleeting. Stuff always loses its appeal, sometimes very quickly. IMG_7885

If everyone realized that, it would probably be a disaster for the economy.

Trigger Warning: This post references topics such as sexual abuse.not_that_kind_of_girl_by_lena_dunham_WEB

Well, we are not exactly Lena Dunham. That would be weird.

A lot has been made of the revelations from Girls star Lena Dunham’s memoir. What may have been intended as a collection of awkward stories from her formative years has now cranked the internet controversy up to eleven. If you have not read the excerpts in question, just google them. The long and short of it is that Dunham, in her own words, compares herself to a child predator as she retells incidents of…erm…close contact with her little sister.

Dozens of writers and commentators have quoted Dunham’s words verbatim, letting her own stories speak for themselves. Thousands of people have tweeted and blogged, often their disgust to Dunham. Dunham has fired back by “rage spiraling” on Twitter and siccing her lawyers on people, threatening defamation lawsuits.

The whole time I took this in, I realized something.

There are a lot of people who consider Dunham’s stories icky at best and predatory at worst. There are some who cannot understand why she would share such things.

But if any of us were in Lena Dunham’s shoes, I think we would have done the same thing. We are not so different from her.

Here’s what I mean.

Continue Reading…

What makes a role model?

Being great at what you do is awesome, even if this is your job. But does this job make you an automatic "role model?"

Being great at what you do is awesome, even if this is your job. But does this job make you an automatic “role model?”

There has been a lot of discussion lately about role models, especially when we talk about the disaster that is the NFL today. We see a man who makes millions of dollars beating a woman. We see another man who whips a child. We see these things and we shake our heads and say things like:

“Doesn’t he know he’s a role model?”

“People look up to him.”

But you know what? I look at millionaires who don’t know how to not beat women and children and ask why are these me “role models?” Who made them role models? Are these really the best role models we can come up with? There is nothing that inherently prevents a ball player from being a role model (I don’t even buy the argument that “football is a violent game, therefore players can’t be role models”). But are players role models just because they put on a jersey?

If any good can come out of these situations, I think it is that maybe, just maybe we as a sports obsessed society will stop and think and maybe even reevaluate who we are elevating to the level of role model in the first place.

Continue Reading…

Last week was a pretty notable week, to say the least.600x570

A well-loved celebrity passed away tragically. A heretofore unknown Midwest city exploded in unrest.

Let’s just be honest. Last week was many a blogger’s dream week. No shortage of news to comment on! A constant flood of images to post on social media! If you did not have anything to say about one story, you could surely find something to say about the other. And for those bloggers who were bored with both, we even got a Christian worship singer coming out as a lesbian. The whole blogosphere just had an epileptic seizure.

I watched the goings-on. I read story after story and blog after blog. But I wrote nothing. I read blogs that told me I was not ashamed enough of my country. Others said that by my silence, I was tacitly endorsing oppression in Ferguson. The storm of angry words tried to suck me in, tried to make me say something.

But I held my tongue, er, fingers as it were. And that was a very purposeful decision. I decided I would not write any opinions about Ferguson, about racism, about suicide, or any other topic du jour last week.

Why? Because for perhaps the first time, the events of last week proved to me one thing:

My opinions don’t count for much.

Continue Reading…