Last night, we went to a toy store to buy some marbles. I think our family is going through an “old-timey” phase. Who plays with marbles? A marble app on the iPhone? That makes sense. But real marbles? I think we are about 10 minutes away from churning our own butter and chasing a hoop down the street with a stick.
During the marble excursion, I noticed that the store we were in was playing music over the loudspeakers. Christmas music? No. Holiday themed favorites? Not exactly. They were playing Lady Gaga songs sung by little kids. While shopping, I was serenaded with a 5 year old’s intepretation of the song, “Paparazzi.”
I can’t stand that kind of thing. I get that it’s cute that kids are singing songs that aren’t really meant for kids, but the window of childhood is already so narrow. Why do we have to slam it shut even faster by teaching our kids Katy Perry? As I’ve said before, you can fast forward a kid’s childhood, but you can’t really rewind it.
Pop culture is funny like that. There are so many tricky ways it influences us, so many weird ways we bump into it and one of them is what I call the “1 yard pop culture fumble.”
What’s that? Simple, the 1 yard pop culture fumble is when you’re about to share an Internet link with a friend or a funny video or maybe even make a movie recommendation when the item in hand fumbles at the 1 yard line. Right before you send it, you realize there’s something horrible at the end that no Christian should ever tell another Christian about. It’s so bad you can’t even throw out a “Christian disclaimer.”
Case in point, the other day I saw a really funny video about the iPhone game “Angry Birds.” Someone had arranged a peace treaty between the pigs and the birds, the two warring parties of this popular game. And it was really funny, for about 30 seconds. Then the birds started dropping the f bomb all over the place and it fumbled like a football player who is about to score a touchdown.
How does this happen? Here are the most common 1 yard pop culture fumbles:
1. Random nudity
For years, I’ve enjoyed watching the Christmas movie, “Love Actually” on the USA channel. So one year my wife got me the DVD. We threw it in and whoa, nudity. All of it was removed on the television version but the DVD was jam packed with naked. That’s a pretty obvious fumble. You’re in love with something and are about to recommend it until for no reason there’s a naked parade at the end of the movie.
2. Sweary McCusserton
You love that clip. It’s brilliant. It’s the funniest online video you’ve seen in months. This is a homerun. You can’t wait to tweet it and post it on your blog! People are going to love it. Except here comes Sweary McCusserton, a character whose only role is to swear, a lot. Right as you get ready to send it out there are words you’ve never heard before strung together like the scene in “Christmas Story” where the little kid beats up the bully.
3. Jesus Hatin’
This happens on the Onion pretty regularly. They write a hilarious article like, “Cockroach King Concerned Over Recent Rise of Bedbugs,” and you think, “that’s funny. I could see people laughing at that. I think I’ll tweet it.” But then the article next to it is titled, “NFL Star Thanks Jesus After Successful Double Homicide.” Aww man! That whole article is going to be about hatin’ on Jesus. I can’t link that.
4. Political Grenade
I don’t write about politics that often because it’s not what I’m good at. It’s not something I feel skilled at and there are so many other great blogs that do that topic justice already. But it’s also one of those topics that gets people crazy instantly. I once had a guest post on SCL that was about being liberal. It was a great guest post and it was post #819 on this site. Someone tweeted me after it was posted and said, “Remember when Stuff Christians Like was funny instead of being all political?” There are had been 818 non political posts. There was 1 political post. If you’re going to send out a link to an article, beware the fallout from politically flavored fights.
Maybe this has never happens to you. Maybe the 1 yard pop culture fumble is only something I suffer from. But I wish it didn’t happen and not because people Jesus Juke me when it does. I wish my filter was not built to find reasons not to send something, but instead designed to find reasons to send something. I wish that I was more focused on finding things that were going to encourage and challenge, instead of counting the things Sweary McCusserton says. You have to call into question the pop culture stuff I’m digesting at the very least.
But maybe this has happened to you too. Have you ever experienced a 1 yard pop culture fumble?