Cultural Rot

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

My wife and I often joke that we are going to raise our children Amish so as to shield them from our depraved culture.  We jest, but there’s a sliver of truth in our jesting.  And of course  Donald has written a series of excellent posts here at TAC on the signs of our cultural decay.

It’s not exactly a newsflash when a bunch of cranky bloggers at a website called the American Catholic bemoan our hedonistic culture.  But when others of a less socially conservative bent join the fray you know that things may have reached a breaking point.

Ace of Spades is a conservative blog, though one that tends to a certain amount of, err, frivolity with regards to cultural matters.  I don’t think Ace deviates from most social conservatives on the core issues, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a rant like this one a site like his.  But Ace completely lays into the singer Katy Perry and the awful message that she spreads to our youth.

Ace posts the lyrics to one of Perry’s new songs: Read the rest of this entry »


Genius, Weird Al Yankovic

Monday, September 6, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

That is a word that many music entertainers use to describe “Weird Al” Yankovic.

All of the songs that Weird Al parodies he gets approval for.  In fact after the Coolio controversy about his “Amish Paradise” music video he now makes sure he speaks with the music entertainer directly before he proceeds in the production of any new venture.

Weird Al also parodies music styles, ie, pastiche, in addition to pop music hits.

In another cult classic which is a rare original from Weird Al, he pokes fun at the pop music group Devo and their brand of music which is New Wave.

Shortly after the song was released, Weird Al received a letter from the lead singer of Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh, congratulating him on writing “the perfect Devo song”.  He has also said that the song is “beautiful … and I hate him for it, basically.”

An apocryphal story has been recounted where the lead singer of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, said after viewing the video for “Dare To Be Stupid” that Weird Al is a “genius”!

Dare To Be Stupid is the title song of the same album, and in my personal opinion his best album ever.

Enjoy!

[Warning: The following videos are without profane lyrics or any form of nudity.  You may finally realize that you can enjoy “contemporary” or “pop” music without all the vileness that emanates from the black hole that is MTV.]

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Yes, It Is a Weird Al Weekend

Sunday, September 5, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.

I’m coming out of the closet, I’m a “Weird Al” Yankovic fan.  I don’t listen to him much these days, but I do keep up with some of his latest hits like my post from yesterday.

So here are some of his more enjoyable hits that some may not be aware of…

[Warning: The following videos are without profane lyrics or any form of nudity.  You may finally realize that you can enjoy “contemporary” or “pop” music without all the vileness that emanates from the black hole that is MTV.]

In 2006 AD the music video “White & Nerdy” re-introduced “Weird Al” back into the mainstream of American culture.  This video was his first Top 40 single since 1992’s “Smells Like Nirvana”.  It also eclipsed the greatest single he ever had, “Eat It”.

In between those to seminal hits he has been very active releasing albums every other year or so, but this new hit of his re-established himself as an icon of parody videos and clean fun.

“White & Nerdy” is the second single from “Weird Al’s” album Straight Outta Lynwood.  It parodies the song “Ridin'” by Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone. (OK, I’ll admit it, I have no idea who Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone are, but that’s what it said in Wikipedia)

This song makes fun of nerds everywhere from Houston, Texas to Springfield, Illinois.   It includes constant references to stereotypically “nerdy” things, such as collecting comic books, playing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), and editing Wikipedia, as well as stereotypically “white” things, like watching Happy Days and playing ping pong.

Chamillionaire himself put “White & Nerdy” on his official MySpace page, and commented that he enjoys the parody. In an interview, he also stated he was pleasantly surprised by “Weird Al”‘s rapping ability, saying: “He’s actually rapping pretty good on it, it’s crazy … I didn’t know he could rap like that.”

Enjoy the cameo’s, especially from Donny Osmond!

Yes, there are more funny and highly entertaining video’s from Weird Al.  I compiled a short list of his most creative hits.

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Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Silver Screen

Saturday, July 31, 2010 \PM\.\Sat\.

A new documentary on the life of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen will be shown in movie theaters as pre-release screenings.  It will also be available in DVD format (TBD).

A brief synopsis of the film is provided by the distributor (with minor editing):

“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Servant of All” is a one-hour documentary that tells the story of Sheen and the tremendous impact he had on individuals, the Catholic community, the American public, and the world. Divided into five main sections, the film uses still images, video footage and interviews with those who knew Sheen to tell the story of this remarkable man, gifted teacher, missionary, priest, and loyal son of the Church.

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Michael Scott Resigns From Dunder Mifflin

Sunday, July 4, 2010 \AM\.\Sun\.

Michael Scott, the head sales manager of Dunder Mifflin is calling it quits at the end of the 2011 television season.

The Office is one of the few shows that I enjoy watching because the comedy and writing are top-notch and just as importantly, it isn’t as depraved as most shows on television.

Viewing The Office is like watching elementary school cliques try to behave as adults.  It’s entertaining and sometimes difficult to watch, especially when the Michael Scott character embarrasses himself to the point that I cringe at the tv set.

Regardless, the show will definitely be different without him if they choose to continue, which I hope they do.


Live Long and Prosper

Friday, April 23, 2010 \AM\.\Fri\.

Leonard Nimoy is calling it quits as to any future portrayals of Mr. Spock, and is retiring from show business.

Leonard Nimoy, the actor who has famously portrayed “Star Trek’s” original alien Spock for over 40 years, has announced he’s officially hanging up the pointy Vulcan ears for good. Nimoy, 79, plans to retire shortly from show business and the “Star Trek” convention circuit, according to the Canadian newspaper Toronto Sun.

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As Our Modern, Western Culture Begins To Implode, The Catholic Church Is Our Last, Best Hope

Sunday, January 31, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.

Channel surfing the other night, I came across a slew of 1980s “coming of age” movies on cable television. With all of their flaws (too much sexual innuendo, which is mild by today’s comparisons,) one can easily see a positive theme of a bright future and endless possibilities running through this genre of films. I had almost forgotten that in the 1983 film Valley Girl, Julie played by Deborah Foreman actually chastises her hippy parents for their suggestion that if she and her new boyfriend Randy, played by Nicholas Cage, want to explore their sexuality it would be alright by them.  Julie rebukes her parents for having such beliefs as well as the nostalgia surrounding their involvement in the 1960s anti war movement; after all it was the era of Ronald Reagan. Everything seemed possible; it was Morning in America again. Many of these movies were set in California which at the time exuded excitement for those of us growing up in colder, Midwest climates. Economically, California was booming and it was also the heart of a growing and diverse music scene.

Fast forward some 25+ years later and many of today’s films have a dark undercurrent with more than a little subtle leftwing political and cultural propaganda running through them. While there are certainly hopeful signs in Hollywood, especially with the advent of stars like Eduardo Verastegi and his movie Bella and associated Metanoia Films, (Click here for my interview with Eduardo Verastegui,) the secular film industry has fallen even farther into the cesspool. Sadly the Golden State’s economic boom seems but a distant memory, which was bound to occur when California’s Big Government mentality rivaled that of Sweden or the Canadian province of Quebec. The bigger question remains; is California setting the trend once again for the nation and the western world, and if it is what hope is there? The hope remains as it always has not in mortal man and the latest left wing hypothesis about the world’s failings, but in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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Mel Gibson Needs Our Prayers

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

Last night I was exercising and flipping through the channels and saw Mel Gibson on the Jay Leno Show- very disturbing stuff.  He joked about having a lot of off-color jokes, he offered up some profanity to quote some girls he ran into while filming in Boston. To top it off he promised Leno that if and when he decides to get married again he would announce it first on Leno’s show.

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Hollywood Angelology

Friday, January 15, 2010 \PM\.\Fri\.

I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but I am.

Last fall I saw a trailer for a new movie that’s coming out next week called Legion, in which Michael the archangel defends humanity against the armies of (good?) angels which God has sent to wipe out humanity. Here’s the plot summary from Wikipedia:

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Thank you, Mister President!

Friday, January 8, 2010 \PM\.\Fri\.

For not scheduling your State of the Union address on February 2nd, feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the night of the season premiere of the final season of Lost, the greatest television show in broadcast network history.  🙂


Team America Meets Avatar: Special Guest Appearance By Matt Damon

Saturday, December 12, 2009 \AM\.\Sat\.

Avatar, a film produced by JamesI found the tomb of JesusCameron, is being spoofed by the people over at Big Hollywood with clips from the low-brow film Team America.

(Biretta Tip: Big Hollywood)


Libs Go After Obama, Why?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

In this most recent SNL skit President Obama was skewered… royally.  It’s as if the SNL writers downloaded my thoughts on President Obama’s recent Asia trip, or what is sometimes referred to as his World Apology Tour: Asia Edition, and wrote this skit

The sarcasm is biting and the humor is hilarious.

The question is, why does it seem that his base is turning on him?  Are they realizing that their previous efforts to poke fun at President Obama failed miserably so they turned it up a notch?  Or is this genuine creative license that sometimes hits or miss and in this instance it hit?  Or are they really upset with the excessive spending that President Obama is pushing for?

My guess is that it’s their creative license that finally hit its mark.  I like SNL, but watch it infrequently now that I don’t even have rabbit ears on my tv set to watch the broadcast networks.

This skit certainly got me to smile and lifted up my day ever so briefly.

The most memorable line from this skit is:

“I am noticing that each of your plans to save money involves spending even more money.”

Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

(Biretta Tip: Big Hollywood)


Magnificent

Monday, October 26, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

The song is called Magnificent by the musical group U2.  It was a minor hit in both the United Kingdom and the United States in A.D. 2009 (and a major hit in Greece).

Some entrepreneurial YouTuber recreated the music video and turned it into a pretty decent contemporary ‘Christian’ music video.  The music video now celebrates the Triune God, the Eucharist, of course the love of God all coupled within a strong Pro-Life message.  There’s even a guest appearance of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI!

(Biretta Tip: Meg)


Harry Potter and The Half-Witted Media

Thursday, July 16, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

My family and I are fans of the Harry Potter films, so we will definitely be joining quite a few other Muggles in trekking to a theater to do our bit to make J. K. Rowling wealthy enough to buy a few smallish nations.  I have never read any of the Harry Potter books, although one of my sons and my daughter have read all of them, as has my wife, who has read them in several languages other than English.  (Yes, I did marry above my intellectual station in life.)  I don’t read any great message into the Harry Potter phenomenon, other than that there will always be a market for escapist fiction with good guys, bad guys, and a definite beginning, middle and end, laden with action, humor and sentiment.

I did find it intriguing that L’Osservatore Romano gave an overall enthusiastic review to the latest film, or rather I found the reaction to the review intriguing.  Damian Thompson  celebrates this here as a Vatican about face on Harry Potter and takes a swipe at Americans and Italians while doing so, reminding us yet again why Brits are so beloved the world over.  Robust British ethnocentrism notwithstanding, I think Mr. Thompson and much of the media are wrong as playing this as some sort of reversal in Vatican policy.  (As if the Vatican has a Harry Potter policy!)  True, L’Osservatore Romano had previously published a negative piece on Harry Potter in January of 2008.  A translation of the article is here.  However, this piece ran with a positive assessment of Harry Potter in an article which may be read in English here.   A balanced look at the current review is here.

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I’m Down, But We Can Still Dance!

Friday, July 10, 2009 \PM\.\Fri\.

It’s been a rough time going for me these past few weeks financially, but I’m still in good spirits thanks only to God.  In the meantime it is Friday and I’m in the mood to dance!

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No Opinion

Sunday, June 28, 2009 \AM\.\Sun\.

Mr. Jackson and colleague

Farrah fawcett

When you are a blogger, opinions, usually strong ones, are your stock-in-hobby.  Regular readers of this blog know full well that I am never short of opinions.   However, in regard to the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and the volcanic media eruption upon the death of Michael Jackson, I confess to having no opinions.  I recall Farrah Fawcett vaguely from Charlie’s Angels, a show that sometimes came on when the tv was providing background noise during my college and lawschool years, but if I ever watched more than a few minutes I would be surprised.  Her poster was ubiquitous in the dorms at the time, but the attraction eluded me, something about the smile I found off-putting.  Other than that, nothing as far as I was concerned.

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The Degenerate David Letterman

Saturday, June 13, 2009 \PM\.\Sat\.

David Letterman Degenerate

[Updates at the end of this post below]

I enjoyed viewing David Letterman when he first came out.  He was nerdy, goofy, and most importantly funny.  I eventually stopped viewing his show not because he wasn’t funny anymore, but because I was no longer in college and I needed a good nights rest for the real world, ie, a job.  Once in a while I would catch his show and remember fondly my days of cold pizza and late night study sessions.

I was well aware of his politics, but unlike most liberals, conservatives do have a sense of humor, especially at our own expense.  I was able to suspend my politics to enjoy good humor because I loved to laugh.

Sadly Mr. Letterman went too far recently in one of his jokes.  Maybe he has been doing this for awhile, but I haven’t noticed since I no longer watch his show for the reasons I mentioned above.

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No, We Aren’t Changing The Name Of The Blog To The American Star Trek

Monday, May 11, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

Get a Life

My last post on Star Trek for a while, I promise.  Here we have a Saturday Night Live update where Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine and Leonard Nimoy confront hard core Star Trek fans, and here we have the classic Shatner telling Trek fans to get a life Saturday Night Live skit from December 20, 1986.

Update I (by Tito):

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Reboot Trek

Monday, May 11, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

Reboot Trek

Saw the Star Trek movie with the family on Saturday.  It was exciting, full of good humor, fast paced, with magnificent and imaginative cgi shots.  The acting was competent.  Karl Urban gives an eerily on target portrayal of McCoy and somewhere Jackson DeForest Kelley should be smiling.  Anyone who enjoys a good action movie should rush out to see it.  The actors and actresses involved in this film have grabbed the golden ring and will probably be able to go on making these films until they are as old as the surviving actors and actresses of Classic Trek are today.  The film was largely family friendly.  Some relatively minor swearing, one reference to Kirk having carnal relations with animals, said as a put down by Uhura to Kirk during an unsuccessful pick up attempt by him, and a scene of Kirk in a bed with a female cadet, an Orion non-slave girl, with both of them in their undies, which is played strictly for laughs and is not salacious.   So, all in all, we felt that we got a good return on our entertainment dollars.   Only one small problem.  It isn’t Star Trek.

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Star Trek Betrayal!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

From the only reliable news source on the internet, the Onion.  The new Star Trek movie opens today.  We will quickly learn if there will be a divergence of reaction between the hard-core “yes-this-Star-Trek-uniform-is-what-I’m-wearing-for-jury-duty” and the rest of us Terrans.  I hope the acting is several notches above what can be seen for free on the net in the  Star Trek Phase II episodes.

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Colbert Trounces Ehrman

Monday, April 13, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

ehrman1colbert1

Normally the humor of Stephen Colbert eludes me, but I do appreciate the trouncing he gave Bart Ehrman and which is here at Creative Minority Report.


Christianity and Mainstream Entertainment

Monday, April 6, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

Typically if one discusses the reflection of American culture in mainstream entertainment, there are very little positive things to be said—especially in Christian circles. But there is rarely a clear solution to the problem. Some discussions of the issues, in my experience, fail to reflect the gravity of the matter. I think it matters, more so than just casual condemnation in conversation. The entertainment center in America—Hollywood—matters because it is the global center of art and entertainment. Art is the way we humans respond to the cosmos. Every generation delivers something beautiful for future generations to brood over and take delight in. Storytelling is the way human beings learn. It is the way we define our values. It gives us heroes and noble dreams. Entertainment is the way we stretch beyond the limits of our day to day work to experience the depth of our human nature. Entertainment should lead us to laugh hard, to cry with empathy, and to feel exhilaration and wonder.

It is frightening to think that Christians are missing from this unbelievably influential and urgent landscape. Christians have something to offer that is direly missing from Hollywood. We bring hope, the mandate of concern for the world, and most importantly, the glory and creative energy of the Holy Spirit.

This is needed terribly in movies, television shows, videogames, and the Internet. We need not only to be donating to and praying for organizations such as ActOne, which has a Christian vision for entertainment, we need to encourage faith-filled artists and professionals to be writers, directors, actors, and so forth, in order to change the landscape and give our youth better idols to look up to. This is a moral imperative for all Christians.

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Serious Musicians

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

Since the blog has, of late, become the site of intense discussions on the quality of rock versus classical music, I think it’s important that I as a classical music partisan take a music appreciation moment and recognize that while rock may in some ways be a limited genre compared to classical music, it is none the less capable of evoking deep and powerful human emotions, and many rock musicians are in fact very talented and deeply influenced by the classical masters:

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It’s. Only. A. Rock. Band.

Sunday, March 8, 2009 \PM\.\Sun\.

Ok, so I liked their latest album as much as anybody else — but what is it that causes U2’s fans to indulge in such theological embellishment? — Consider America magazine’s Tom Beaudoin:

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