Everything Bad is Good For You: Part I

"You know what your problem is?" Not too many good conversations start off in this manner. However, recently I was at a retreat when one of my friends, Kari, started a conversation in this very way. I wasn't really sure where this was going because the question seemed to have no context, but she quickly went on to say, "You try too hard. You actually try not to like things and you even seem happy of your ignorance on not knowing much about pop culture. You may be missing out on some good things you know."

She was right - to an extent. I sort of like saying that I have no clue what happens on Gray's Anatomy and am very proud that I could probably count the number of reality TV episodes I've watched on one hand. But, with all things, I'm inconsistent and can't keep up to my own standards of pop culture snobbery. I do watch things like Everybody Loves Raymond, West Wing, and starting this past weekend - Lost. I also started a book entitled Everything Bad is Good for You which discusses the merits of popular culture and how it is actually making us more intelligent. I grew up with the mentality that watching TV pretty much made you less intelligent, and so this book is definitely trying to blow that paradigm out of the water. But more on that in a later post.

Last night Stephen, Jen and I got to talking about what was actually good for us to consume from pop culture and what was not. We all admitted to the guilty pleasure of laughing at things that perhaps were funny but very inappropriate. In fact, in thinking about it, the standard seems to be if it is funny or highly entertaining than it is ok. God surely knows we wouldn't ever contemplate living the way those characters would and its ok if we laugh at their foolishness and the humerous situations their lifestyles create. A great example of a show that is definitely on the edge of questionable is Seinfeld. I find that show as funny as the next person, but I will admit to watching episodes that made me blush where sex was talked about so flippantly that the show totally defied the Christian concepts of purity, holiness, and honor within marriage.

I'm conservative but I don't go to the extent that we should banish Harry Potter and have a public book burning because he is a wizard. Indeed, we can decipher between fact and fiction. And perhaps, while I'm not a huge consumer of popular culture, I should only partake in what is actually good for me. What do you all think? When and where do we draw the line between being conservative and enjoying what popular culture gives us?

I'll end with this -- "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." -- Phillipians 4:8


ann said...

Well Blake, another good blog. And in a timely fashion, I might add. :) First of all, mad props on the template. Hahaha... you trying to fight it, but I think I influence you. ;)

Anyhoo, pop culture. Good questions. I think your last thought there with the passage from Phil. is a good guideline. I, too, find myself laughing at things that might be inappropriate. I´ve been thinking, though, and I really think that the majority of things I watch like this are in the context of mocking the pitiful reality-- I´m thinking of the Daily Show and Simpsons, etc. I think satire is a powerful and good tool. I think Seinfeld would also fall into that category-- the reason we laugh is because we know that society would collapse were the world as selfish and hedonistic as the characters. :)

Good thoughts, dude.

Gabe said...

Dude, you should start watching Heroes on Monday nights on at 8 on NBC. It's great and you'd dig it. Then stick around for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip -- which is actually a critique of American Popular Culture. Both excellent shows.