Here’s an updated index of all 2009’s “Summer of Pop-Culture” posts. For more information about CaPC’s “Summer of Pop-Culture, read the explanation below.
Star Trek – Spock’s New Cultural Relevance
Star Trek – Star Trek Gets Real
Terminator Salvation – Terminator Salvation and Human Worth
Up – Why Up is the New Down
Year One – Very Silly, Sometimes Thoughtful
Transformers 2 – Not That Great, but That’s Not the Point
Transformers 2 – The Dangers of Dumb Movies
Public Enemies – Why So Serious?
Son of Rambow – ‘Son of Rambow’ and the Ultimate Summer Fantasy
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Already Nostalgic for Hogwarts
The Summer Movie Season Podcast – Ben and Rich are the Kids of Summer
The Lost Finale – Lost in Religion
John and Kate Plus Eight – John and Kate + Date
The Summer Television Podcast – Jon and Kate + “Oh Great it’s the Summer TV Season”
The Wordy Shipmates – The Wordy Shipmates and American Exceptionalism
Tigana – Memory and Ethical Complexity in Tigana
Flannery – Flannery O’Conner and the Christ-Haunted Biography
The Year of Living Biblically – What Does True Biblical Literalism Look Like?
The Vacation Podcast – Obama Fail, Vacation FTW!
If you’re a fan of pop-culture (and most of us here basically are), this summer is a big deal. The hype is unavoidable. The movie industry has the most pronounced hold over the season, particularly this year with the already hugely successful and widely lauded Star Trek, the first Terminator movie in years, the next sure-fire Pixar hit, Judd Apatow’s first self-directed movie in quite a while, Michael Bay’s sophmore Transformers effort, the most anticipated Harry Potter film yet, and G. I. Joe bringing in the rear.
Exhausted yet? Well suck it up, because Green Day is finally following up their critically praised “American Idiot” in May, which is just the first of many high-profile albums threatening to attack our ears by force this summer. Also look for new albums by Bob Dylan, Eminem, Marilyn Manson, Dave Matthews Band, Rancid, Taking Back Sunday, Sonic Youth, Lil Wayne, Spinal Tap (!), The Jonas Brothers, Daughtry, and others. We may not like these bands, but we will hear from them.
And in June, Microsoft’s CEO has said we should “Pay attention to the stuff we’re announcing… on Xbox,” at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as the E3. This will be, as it always is, a hyped up week in which video game companies unveil their big guns to the mainstream press. The statements from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are hinting at big things this year and Microsoft has done more than hint, claiming their E3 keynote will “completely transform how people think about home entertainment.”
So, for better or worse, it’s a big season for popular culture. And let’s just admit it: we play right into their hands. Summer is the time when many of us like to take a break. We like to see films that don’t challenge us quite as much. Instead, we just want them to be the Best Movie Ever, at least until we wake up the next morning and forget what exactly made it so great. We like to play games with our friends, just for the fun of it. We like to read books that give us a break from our homework. Summer, in other words, has the tendency to give us a break from thoughtfulness. This is not quite ideal for the Christian who is challenged to remain sober and vigilant.
In light of this challenge, we thought we would make it our business to cover the craziness that is the Summer of Pop-Culture. We will be covering as many films as possible the week after they come to theaters, addressing E3’s announcements and unveilings thoughtfully, addressing the phenomenon of summer reading, and covering some of the bigger album releases and pop singles of the summer. This all starts this week, with a review of Star Trek and a defense of “meaningless fun.”
Because our goal is to be thoughtful and edifying about these things, our strength will not be rapid-fire response (though we’ll do what we can publish articles in a time-frame close enough to the actual release as to remain relevant). Instead, we seek to demonstrate what happens when pop-culture’s biggest offerings collide with a Christian worldview, that is, a worldview that not only hates sin, but loves beauty.
We both anticipate and dread the summer, and likewise we will be both critical and glowing about the entertainment and artistic offerings we take in. But most of all, we will be thoughtful and prayerful, believing first and foremost that while much of the offerings of this world are flawed and misguided, they are also created by those created by God. And as such, they are worth considering.