Archive - August, 2011

How We Got Here – The ’80’s On Film

I was wandering through the supermarket last Saturday when I caught myself humming along to the Muzak being piped into the dairy cooler, it was a MIDI computer track of “Faithfully” by Journey.

It was a cruel moment of reality.

When I was a kid the supermarket didn’t play cool songs, they played songs that my mom liked.  I remember hearing her discover and then exclaim, “This is ‘A Boy Named Sue’ by Johnny Cash” in almost the same manner that I did.

On Saturday I realized that the Supermarket plays songs relevant to their target market and that over time I gradually became part of the grocery demographic.

It’s easy to forget that today’s cultural landscape was also forged by events that took place gradually, over time.  To understand why today is the way it is you have to take into account what happened in the many days leading up to the one you are currently living in.

As the internet emerges as the new primary culture shaping medium I’m looking back at the medium that initiated the most powerful change at the end of the 20th century: Hollywood Film.

This is a list of 10 culture shaping films of the 1980’s, one for each calendar year of the decade of decadence.  It isn’t a list of the “best”, “top grossing” or, “most popular” (although many are in those categories) but a list of the movies that defined the ’80’s and set the stage for the world we are now living in.  It is by no means comprehensive.

These are the movies that led us to where we are today: (more…)

Generation Tat

Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton is a true rarity.  Not only is he talented and charming, he’s a 22 year old professional athlete who has no tattoos or piercings.

In terms of athletes, Newton is the anti- Chris Anderson:

This week, Cam Newton became  the flash point of a semi-racial controversy when Jerry Richardson, the white Panthers owner, asked him to stay un-pierced and un-tatted for the length of his employment with the team.

Many people immediately cried foul.  How could a white man ask a black man not to get tattoos and earrings, especially when earrings and tattoos are such a big part of black culture?

The False Gospel of Success

I want to tell you about a God-fearing young man who, after a standout college football career, was drafted by an NFL team and met with enough success to be considered for a starting job in only his second season.

If you think that I’m a little late in joining the party surrounding Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, you’re wrong. I’m actually arriving early for the Colt McCoy party.

It’s as impossible to miss Tim Tebow, and the circus that surrounds him, as it is improbable to take notice of Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

It really shouldn’t be this way… but it is.

Tim Tebow is everything that America wants to believe in.  He’s big, courageous, handsome, athletic, and the son of pious missionaries who raised him right.  He’s bold, honest, strong as an ox, doesn’t touch tobacco or alcohol, and looks so good with his shirt off that shirts don’t mind when he doesn’t wear them.

He’s a two-time national champion, a Heisman trophy winner, and spokesperson for everything that James Dobson has ever believed in or dreamed about.  Tim Tebow is a generous champion for everything that is “right” and that appears to be the only wrong with him.

Tim Tebow is a winner, and he’s held up as the image of the kind of life we could lead if we would just “let go and let God.”

Tebow is the paragon of an innumerable multitude of fans, his was the #1 selling NFL jersey before he’d ever played a pro game, who don’t just argue that he’s “doing it the right way”, but who also need to believe that he is, because his success validates everything they believe in.

As a Christian I have a deep respect and appreciation for Tebow’s courage and conviction.  I also harbor significant fears for him.


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