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Culture Watch

Keeping abreast of what’s going on in secular culture is key to engaging with unbelievers. Not only does it give you something in common, it can also give insight into what the felt needs are and how the gospel speaks into that. This is why I’ve previously blogged about Twilight, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. In this same spirit, here are some briefer thoughts on what I’ve heard being talked about recently.
Pop Culture
Hamish and Andy got themselves into trouble this week when Hamish, quoting his girlfriend’s obsession with the series accidentally gave away the major plot line of the fourth book. There were angry emails from girls still reading as well as emails from men saying things like, “Thank you Hamish, my girlfriend is always comparing me to this perfect albino who doesn’t exist.” The trailer for New Moon came out on YouTube as well (hello Jacob Black!) and has been eagerly watched and re-watched, commented on on Facebook, etc.
Dr Phil is coming to Melbourne for a show at Rod Laver arena. It’s advertised on TV and there are big billboards up. To get a ticket in C Reserver it’s about $150. Self-help is still big business!
I had lunch with my uncle, a lawyer from Sydney. He’s been reading ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ (where Dan Brown allegedly stole his idea for ‘The Da Vinci Code’). He was asking where he could get a copy of ‘The Gospel of Judas’ since the catholic church supressed it (his words, not mind). This area continues to be of huge apologetic importance. 
Film
Incidentally, his interest didn’t seem to be connected to ‘Angels and Demons’ which has just been released. I haven’t seen it yet or read the book but I’m told that the book is a prequel to ‘The Da Vinci Code’ while the movie is a sequel. Have you seen it? What did you think?
Friends of ours who are huge Harry Potter fans asked us if we wanted to come with them to see it and offered to pre-book our tickets when they do theirs. Which got me thinking about the book. It’s been a while since I read it, but it’s my recollection *SPOILER ALERT* that Snape turns out to be a good guy who’s been masquerading as a bad guy as considerable personal cost. Is that right? I know there are inconsistencies here but I was wondering whether his daily humiliation and dying to self in the service of a bigger cause might have parallels for the Christian life? If you’re a bigger Harry Potter fan than me, perhaps you could comment?
We say Night at the Museum 2. Almost as good as the first one. I loved the monkeys but Arthur said I was the only adult in the cinema who laughed at their slapping scene! The moral of this feel good family film was “Do what you love with people you love”.
Politics
Indian racial attacks have dominated news headlines around Melbourne (and apparently India) and have caused quite a stir. Apparently the issue has also moved to Sydney. This hasn’t come well on the back of ….. accusation of Australia being racist, although Good News Week and Rove had a ball playing up to that one. Hack has done a few pieces on it as well, from a more serious angle, but seemed to have difficulty pinpointing who the attacks are being carried out by.
The Obama family continues to be big news. Michelle Obama was on the cover of Time Magazine last month, sales for Portugese water dogs are skyrocketing and Malia and Sascha’s visit to France has had both American and European press in a stir. Oh year, and Obama made a speech about a two state solution in the Middle East.
There seems to be less talk about the Global Financial Crisis. Is that right or is it just me? I’m just not hearing the same level of hysteria. What do you think’s going on? Am I just not listening to the right sources? Has the media got bored with it?
Sport
Seems like Andrew Symonds has finally been rejected for his conduct. It seems that even his cricket prowess couldn’t save him from the last straw. Although the greatest tragedy the media saw was that it could endanger the hopes of the Australian cricket team.
The Netherlands beat England in the cricket. And it was celebrated for days in Facebook status updates.
What have you been hearing

Keeping abreast of what’s going on in secular culture is key to engaging with unbelievers. Not only does it give you something in common, it can also give insight into what the felt needs are and how the gospel speaks into that. This is why I’ve previously blogged about Twilight, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. In this same spirit, here are some briefer thoughts on what I’ve heard being talked about recently.

POP CULTURE

Hamish and Andy got themselves into trouble this week when Hamish, quoting his girlfriend’s obsession with Twilight accidentally gave away the major plot line of the fourth book. There were angry emails from girls still reading as well as emails from men saying things like, “Thank you Hamish, my girlfriend is always comparing me to this perfect albino who doesn’t exist.” The trailer for New Moon came out on YouTube as well (hello Jacob Black!) and has been eagerly watched and re-watched, commented on on Facebook, etc.

Dr Phil is coming to Melbourne for a show at Rod Laver arena. It’s advertised on TV and there are big billboards up. To get a ticket in C Reserve it’s about $150. Self-help is still big business!

The Chaser has been publicly condemned for its recent skit about children’s charities. Labelled as heartless, the show has been pulled from the ABC for two weeks and the guys have apologised. But the public outcry points to a very real value in our society. I suspect it’s got something to do with the idolatry of childhood as well as the fear of death and dying. I’m not saying it wasn’t ‘bad taste’ but I do wonder whether it could equally have been labelled ‘too close to home’.

I had lunch with my uncle, a lawyer from Sydney. He’s been reading Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (where Dan Brown allegedly stole his idea for The Da Vinci Code). He was asking where he could get a copy of The Gospel of Judas since the Catholic church supressed it (his words, not mine). This area continues to be an area of huge apologetic importance. 

FILM

Incidentally, his interest didn’t seem to be connected to Angels and Demons which has just been released. I haven’t seen it yet or read the book but I’m told that the book is a prequel to ‘The Da Vinci Code’ while the movie is a sequel. Have you seen it? What did you think?

Friends of ours who are huge Harry Potter fans asked us if we wanted to come with them to see HP6 and offered to pre-book our tickets when they do theirs. Which got me thinking about the book. It’s been a while since I read it, but it’s my recollection *SPOILER ALERT* that Snape turns out to be a good guy who’s been masquerading as a bad guy as considerable personal cost. Is that right? I know there are inconsistencies here but I was wondering whether his daily humiliation and dying to self in the service of a bigger cause might have parallels for the Christian life? If you’re a bigger Harry Potter fan than me, perhaps you could comment?

We saw Night at the Museum 2. Almost as good as the first one. I loved the monkeys but Arthur said I was the only adult in the cinema who laughed at their slapping scene! The moral of this feel good family film was “Do what you love with people you love”.

POLITICS

Indian racial attacks have dominated news headlines around Melbourne (and apparently India) and have caused quite a stir. Apparently the issue has also moved to Sydney. This hasn’t come well on the back of Sol Trujillo’s accusation of Australia being racist, although Good News Week and Rove had a ball playing up to that one. Triple J’s Hack has done a few pieces on it as well, from a more serious angle, but seemed to have difficulty pinpointing by whom the attacks are being carried out.

The Obama family continues to be big news. Michelle Obama was on the cover of Time Magazine last month, sales for Portugese water dogs are skyrocketing and Malia and Sascha’s visit to France has had both American and European press in a stir. Oh yeah, and Obama made a speech about a two state solution in the Middle East.

There seems to be less talk about the Global Financial Crisis. Is that right or is it just me? I’m just not hearing the same level of hysteria. What do you think’s going on? Am I just not listening to the right sources? Has the media got bored with it? Where is human nature and selfishness in this?

SPORT

Andrew Symonds had finally been rejected by the sporting world for his conduct. It seemed that even his cricket prowess couldn’t save him  as Ricky Ponting and other team mates expressed their disappointment, saying that he’d has his chances. And yet, the greatest tragedy the media saw was that of the Australian cricket team’s victory might be endangered. Though Ponting hinted that Symonds may make the Ashes team, it seems his transgression was too great and he missed out. How will the Australian team work out redemption for this sinner? 

The Netherlands beat England in the cricket. And it was celebrated for days in Facebook status updates. It’s a great underdog story.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN HEARING?

Categories: Uncategorized Written by Tamie

Tagged as:

Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.

7 replies

  1. I think the media when from “financial crisis” to “swine flu crisis” and are still stuck there a bit!

  2. You’ll hear more unemployment crisis talk than financial crisis in the next few months i reckon. The lastest is that we’ve avoided a recession (technically) and the sharemarket and $AU have been gaining.

    Great idea for a post! look forward to more.

  3. Yay, I found your blog! Hope you don’t mind if I comment.

    Re: HP6 – you’re a movie ahead of yourself. In 6, you are led to assume that Snape is the great traitor. It’s not until the final book/movie that he is revealed as being on the good side all along. You’re right, the final book in particular has some…familiar ideas about sacrifice, both around Snape and around Harry.

    I also thought your comment about the Chasers interesting. I fail to understand the controversy myself (isn’t controversy and bad taste what those guys do?!), but the idea that they are poking at an idolisation of childhood is one that bears some thought. I do think our society puts too much emphasis on the importance of children, but I’ve never thought of it quite like that.

  4. My son works in a bookshop and tells me what people are buying. Self-help books are ever-popular, and of course the quickest way to get rich is to white self-help books about how to write self-help books. And yes, Twilight.

    When I see some aspects of popular culture I feel more and more drawn to the countrcultural aspects of Christianity.

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