Friday, January 19, 2007

Enough Already!

I love my entertainment. I check the Internet throughout the day for Hollywood updates. I read my People magazine. I even watch the occasional (okay, frequent) E! and Entertainment Tonight. And yes, Hollywood lets me down on a regular basis. But I've officially had it. Monday and Tuesday night of American Idol was the last straw.

In my classes this week we are talking about how words carry weight and they are burdens that can stay with someone the rest of their lives, like a cancer. I always joke to my students, "Be careful how you treat people. Don't you be the person who gets their tires slashed at their ten year high school reunion."

I was totally disgusted with American Idol this week with all the meanness. To a certain extent, we expect it from Simon and know that contestants know what they are walking into. But this year's crop of wannabe's inspired especially cheap and malicious barbs from ALL the judges--even the ones who are typically kinder. Things were said to contestants that can never be taken back. That aired before MILLIONS of people. There will be people going back to home towns in which the entire population saw or heard of their humiliation, of their ridicule. When Simon said one guy looked like some sort of monkey from the forest, I wanted to bawl. I was so outraged at the cruelty--words these people will carry with them forever. Then I realized, I'm the one holding the remote. Am I any better? If people would take a stand and turn the TV off, American Idol and FOX would get the message. So I turned it off. (Okay, it took a while. In fact, it took a long while. But eventually that TV did go off. I have witnesses.)

And don't even get me started on the verbal spewage between Rosie O'Donnell and Mr. Donnie Trump. These people are wearing me out. But it's entertainment. And was I the only one tuning into The View to see what Rosie or Barbara would say next? Was I the only one who tuned into AI to see if Paula Abdul would be able to hold her head up and coherently complete a sentence?

In the second chapter of Titus it says to set an example by doing what is good. To show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned so that no one can say anything bad about you. So that no one can say that you frequently pull a Simon. Or you call people names like a Donald. And I would even go one step further and say don't hang out with people who DO stoop to that level.

So Rosie, Donald, Randy, Simon, and're fired.


Donita K. Paul said...

Oh, wow! do I ever agree! At a teen meeting tonight, I was listening to some jokes, and I said hold it. Those jokes are cutting down real people. Michael Jackson was one of them. Now, I don't particularly like this guy, but the habit of making fun of people is not one to encourage. It is too common in our culture.

b said...

Hey Jennifer! I agree with what you're saying - people tend to be really rude in real life AND on TV. However, from what I've heard (I don't watch TV at all, most of the stuff on TV is junk. There's not exactly a bunch of nourishing stuff on there. So, I guess as a sister in Christ, what I'm trying to say is 'Why are you watching this stuff?' Magazines like People and TV shows like the ones you talk about aren't something that will build you up in Christ.

- Let His light shine

Jenny B. Jones said...

Interesting thoughts for sure! But as a teacher and an author for teens, it's vital I stay relevant. We all minister differently, but I'd like the idea of meeting people where they are, and for me that entails dipping into pop culture. I want to be relevant and connected like Christ was. My heart is for teens, and I am convicted that I have to understand and live in their world if not a little bit. And honestly, on a scale of 1-10 of things that are out there in mainstream culture, People magazine and American Idol would rank about a 1 in terms of offensive compared to what else is out there.

I love being able to really connect with my students. When they look at me/eventually read my book, they are thinking, "What do you know about me? What do you know of teen life, of my world?" I love having discussions on things they are involved in and interested in, and through that we can always discuss wrong/right. If I come at them with no clue what they're reading, listening to, viewing, or where they're at, my personal testimony and outreach carries little weight. Our teen culture is in a new world, and while at times it's a sad, overwhelming place for the rest of us, we gotta meet them there.

Thanks for the response. Definitely something to think about, and I applaud your conviction and cultural purity.

b said...

Hmm... Interesting thoughts.

kaysi said...

Hi Jenny,

I loved your comments about being culturally relevant! You could probably say that I have an "unnatural affinity" for Hollywood culture, and over the past few years I've come to believe that God actually MADE me that way for a reason! I love trying to keep up-to-date with what's going on in pop culture, and something I realize more each day is that the people we see on our televisions or movie screens are -- as "donita k. paul" said in her comment, "real people."

At different times, God burdens my heart for certain celebrities -- not out of judgement, but out of love -- and I am moved to pray for these people. It has been a lesson in faith for me, because most of us wouldn't generally think of the Hollywood crowd as being very prime candidates for coming to know God & His love in a personal way. Yet when I begin to pray for any given celebrity, my heart is always overwhelmed with the thought, "This person is NOT out of God's reach! Unlikely as it may seem, I know that God in His wisdom & mercy can reach 'even this person' with His love." I find a genuine love for the person I'm praying for growing in my heart each time I pray for someone in Hollywood. This all might sound a little eccentric or goofy, but I really believe this is how God has made me!

Besides all that, I find there are reflections of God -- whether purposeful or "incidental" -- in much of pop culture today. Even in Will Ferrell's movie "Talladega Nights," the mealtime blessing scene where Ferrell prays to "8 pound, 6 ounce baby Jesus," which drew up some controversy in my circle of friends -- I was encouraged by this, because to me, that's just one small way that God is coming up on people's radars. I liked to wonder, "What sort of thoughts might this scene provoke in Will Ferrell's real life? Is it possible he has gone home at night pondering this 'dear sweet baby Jesus' that was addressed in his movie script?" Who knows how God could use something like that!

And additionally, I am encouraged to hear of faithful Christians who are actually a part of the Hollywood community -- people such as Tony Hale or Stephen Baldwin. I thank God for these people and pray their involvement in Hollywood matched with their faith in Christ will reach the people they come into contact with. It excites me to think of that!

So I appreciate other Christians who recognize the value in being tuned in to pop culture. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!