Again, I'm a Proud Parent

Sicily was watching TV the other night when she ran up to me and said, “On Friday, the exterminate show is coming on.” I nodded, having no idea what in the world she was talking about. I assumed there was some kind of bug exterminator reality show coming on (an idea which sounds oddly intriguing). Since I wasn’t too excited, she repeated herself, this time with an odd voice. Again, I had no idea what she was talking about.

Then, she got down on her knees, started flailing her arms around, yelling “Exterminate!” It clicked in my head, she was pretending to be a Dalek. I’m not ashamed to admit I weeped openly, for my daughter is about to become a Whovian.

Out of Touch Shaq Blames Atari for Obesity

Shaquille O’neal is promoting his new show “Shaq’s Big Challenge” where he takes obese children and whips them into shape (the irony of such a show is mind boggling). In an interview with ESPN.com’s Sam Alipour he gives several reasons as to why so many kids are overweight, like fast food and the lack of PE in many public schools. Then he comes out with this gem:

[K]ids aren’t as active as they were when me and you were growing up. They have Sega, Nintendo, Atari. Video games aren’t allowing kids to be as active as we were.

Grammatical mistakes aside, I wonder what in the world Shaq is talking about.  Kids these days aren’t active because they have Sega, Nintendo, and Atari?  What?  Maybe people my age are overweight because of those things (although in my case it’s just laziness), but not kids of this generation.  And the funniest thing is that the Nintendo Wii is the only console that encourages physical activity.

Friday Five: Comic Book TV Shows

Comic books are increasingly rising in popularity in film and TV; Spider-man 3 broke all sorts of box office records, Heroes is one of the highest rated shows on TV, and Batman is cool again. While many see this as a trend that is bound to fail soon, I see this as a great opportunity to get more comic books on TV. So, here is my list of five comics that should be made into shows.

  1. Sandman by Neil Gaiman. This would be a bit odd and very dark, but it’s one of the best written comic books ever.
  2. The Swamp Thing by Alan Moore. Forget the cheesy 90’s TV show, Moore’s Swamp Thing was dark and scary. Plus, Superman shows up in some very surreal scenes.
  3. Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski. It probably wouldn’t work now because the story is similar to Heroes, but Rising Stars is a great comic series. It centers around a group of people who have been given super powers and the search for a super hero serial killer. (Again, Heroes totally ripped off this premise.) Plus, it was written by the guy who gave us Babylon 5.
  4. Preacher by Garth Ennis. This would definitely never make it to mainstream TV, but could work as an HBO show. The story centers on an ex-preacher who gets fed up with God and goes on a mission with his killer girlfriend and vampire friend to give Him a piece of his mind. It really is a good story.
  5. Stray Bullets by David Lapham. This book (volume 1) almost defies explanation, but I’ll try. There are three friends who are on the run from drug dealers after stealing a load of cocaine. They hide out in a city called Seaside that is actually 100 miles from the coast; it was developed by an odd guy who was obsessed with earthquakes. The story only get weirder from there.

Well, there’s my list (although, no doubt I’m missing many). Anyone want to add anything?

Edit: Much to my chagrin, HBO read my post, went back in time, and started production on a Preacher mini-series.

Culture Lite

Steve McCoy had a good post this past week suggesting people not listen to music passively, but instead seek out good music and avoid the bad stuff. In other words, don’t sit around and listen to the radio waiting for a good song. In this day and age, with virtually any song we want at our fingertips, we don’t have to listen passively but can listen only to good music we enjoy.

I’ve been thinking about that this week, about how true that is for all media, not just music. With DVRs, iTunes, and network websites, we don’t have to sit down and channel surf, waiting for our favorite show to come on; we can watch it any time we want. TVs are big enough that we can have a more enjoyable experience watching a movie in our home (again, when we want to) without having to put up with the horrible movie-going experience.

We have a lot of control over media and even if we can’t find anything good to watch, there’s always You Tube to entertain us with videos of guys getting hit in the groin (come on, admit it, everyone thinks that’s funny). In fact, we can bypass big media altogether and be thoroughly entertained by independent artists, producers, podcasters, and authors. There’s no need to soak up the lowest common denominator drivel Hollywood tries to throw at us.

But that raises a question: if this is true, why do we continue to buy the garbage? Why do we (in general, not specific) still buy The DaVinci Code and Left Behind? Why is Two and Half Men the number one show in America? Why did anyone go see Ghost Rider?

Despite all the good choices, Americans (and maybe other countries too, but I don’t live anywhere else) still flock to the crap. We’ll line up for days to see a mediocre-at-best Star Wars movie while avoiding anything with substance like the plague. Take Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth, for instance; these two movies, in my opinion, were by far the best films of the year (both narratively and technically) yet more people saw Click than either of these movies combined.

Our tastes definitely lean toward the sugary sweet; this is a country that almost overwhelmingly drinks watered down, yellow fizzy [insert crude word] otherwise known as light beer. When we’re feeling especially uppity we’ll drink a Guinness.

And Christians are no better; slap the name of Jesus on something, anything, and we’ll go out and buy it. Left Behind? Sure, I’ll read it, and even convince myself it’s good fiction. John Hagee movies? They don’t have modern graphics, but it’s Christian so I have to spend my money on it. CCM? Christian Rock? Rap? TBN? INSP? I don’t care what it is, I have to spend my hard earned money on it. Heck, I’ll even buy Testamints and Samson energy bars.

We consume just for the sake of consuming, not even thinking about what we’re doing. Just sit in front of the TV, shut off your brain’s critical filter, and ingest crap. We’re not even thinking about it anymore, we’ve become too accustomed to taking in whatever’s dished out for us (look, you’re reading this blog instead of something worth reading).

The answer is to think critically about the media we consume. Why do we listen/watch/read? Is there any benefit? Any damaging effects? Is this good for me in any way? Is it possible to shut off my brain and just be entertained? Am I wasting my precious life doing this? Am I contributing to the Bud Lite-ification of society by consuming this media? What about society at large, are we ruining our brains and the potential for a better future because we’re too stupid to actually do anything?

Think about it.

(Note: this started out as a review for Rusty Truck’s Broken Promises; an older, but very good album that I just put back on my iPod. In case I don’t get around to that review, check them out.)

What Love Is This?

I was watching Dr. Phil today (I know, you don’t have to tell me) mainly because they were having a couple from Springfield on who had deaf blind triplets.  Actually, the woman had the kids, the guy married into the situation.  From the promos you were lead to believe that it was success story, but in reality the family was a mess (as you can well imagine).

The husband was a well-meaning guy who thought he could make a difference in this woman’s life, but life soon proved him wrong.  Within a short amount of time he realized having triplets who could neither hear nor see was an incredible burden to bear.  And he wanted out.  In fact, the guy was incredibly transparent in his desire to get out of the marriage because of the difficulties involved.

One thing he said had me scratching my head, however.  He said he loved his wife with all of his heart and he loved the children (including an older daughter) as well, but he just didn’t know how long he could put up with stress.  Again, he wanted out.

And the whole time I’m thinking to myself, what kind of love is this?  This guy knew what was going on when he married her, thought he could handle it, and upon realizing he could not he decided to bail.  And he professes to have a deep love for her.  What?

This is what happens when love is reduced to a feeling, a chemical reaction that is very often fleeting.  When love consists of how you feel, a man can honestly say he loves his wife while he walks out the door, leaving behind three children who desperately need a father.

As great as the feelings are, they do not define love.  Love is defined by St. Paul like this:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)

To learn more about this family, go here.  To donate to help the children out, go here.

Weekend Digest

Pat Robertson

Everyone seems to be talking about Pat Robertson (again) saying something stupid. At this point, can we revoke his Christian ID card? Can we ban him from the Kingdom? Steve Hays says he can’t stand Pat, and I tend to agree.

DVDs

I have two DVD reccomendations for the weekend. First is Rebound starring Martin Lawrence; most people didn’t like this movie, but I thought it was okay for a cheap rental and a few laughs. Second is Fantastic Four (which probably everyone has seen), but I saw for the first time the other day. It’s a good action movie, one of the better 2nd tier comic book movies made recently.

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