According to Andrew O’Hehir, Football Is in a Well-Deserved ‘Death Spiral’

As I write this, countless Americans are preparing to get together with friends and family to watch the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers square off against each other in Super Bowl XLVII. The Super Bowl is arguably America's biggest sporting event, but it's also the biggest marketing day of the year, as advertisers reveal multi-million dollar commercials during the game's primetime hours. Hollywood gets in on the action too and uses the game to air teasers and trailers for the year's bi … [Read more...]

3D Printers Create a New World of Possibility and Controversy

One of the biggest technological advances in recent history that you may not have heard much about are 3D printers. Just as the name implies, these devices allow you to print actual, physical objects—like a bicycle—using nothing more than tiny layers of plastic and polymer. And though they may have once been the domain of labs and factories, they're getting cheaper and smaller all the time. For less than $2000, you can get a device that fits in your garage or basement workshop, and you can start … [Read more...]

Can ‘Unconventional’ Music Really Turn Your Kid Into A Delinquent?

As they grow older, kids express independence in a number of ways, and embracing musical tastes that leave their elders perplexed and perhaps even a little scared is one of the most obvious methods. Musical rebellion is deeply ingrained in our culture, from such classic acts as The Beatles and Elvis Presley, to punk rock in the '70s and glam rock and heavy metal in the '80s, to rap and hip-hop in the '90s. Indeed, it seems like every generation does their best to find some form of music that … [Read more...]

Hopefully, The Force Will Be Strong with J.J. Abrams

When it was announced that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas, and was planning a new series of Star Wars movies starting in 2015, people immediately began to ask who was going to be in the director's chair. And as someone who is very fond of the trilogy (the only trilogy that matters, that is), any trepidation about Disney ruining the franchise were immediately offset by the nerdy speculation.Who would have the right mix of visionary film-making  mythological storytelling, and … [Read more...]

Of Little Boys, Violent Play, and Pretending to Shoot the Bad Guys

Like many boys their ages, my two sons possess an almost preternatural talent for turning anything -- and I do mean anything -- into a gun, or "shooter" as they say. It could be a stick, an assortment of Legos, a slice of cheese, or even a puzzle piece in the shape of Nebraska, but put it in their hands, and next thing you'll know, they'll be shooting freeze rays and fireballs at the bad guys. And it's not just shooters. Thanks, no doubt, to MythBusters, they've become quite skilled at explosive … [Read more...]

Chronicling Porn’s Damaging Effects

The Internet's increasing ubiquity has led to many good things, but it has had at least one negative side-effect: It has never been easier to access pornography, and massive amounts of it. But how much porn is actually being accessed? Last year, ExtremeTech ran a piece on some of the largest porn sites, to see how much traffic they generate, and the numbers they uncovered were simply staggering. One such site served over 100 million page views a day, which translated into 950 terabytes of data … [Read more...]

How did Science Fiction Become Science Fact in 2012?

Longtime readers of Christ and Pop Culture have probably realized by now that one of my pet themes concerns the ways in which science can impact our lives, especially in ways that seem more like science fiction than science fact. I find it fascinating when things that used to be conceptual, or even fictional, actually manifest themselves in reality in ways that you and I can see, touch, and use. Sometimes this can lead to moral conundrums and ethical dilemmas, but sometimes, it can also be … [Read more...]

Have the Literary Arts Become Too Secularized?

Last week, Gregory Wolfe -- the founder and editor of Image and author of Beauty Will Save the World -- wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal in which he pushed back against the claims of some -- e.g., Ruth Franklin, Paul Elie -- that secularization has grown triumphant in literature in recent years. He writes: In short, the myth of secularism triumphant in the literary arts is just that—a myth. Yet making lists of counterexamples does not get at a deeper matter. It has to do with the way th … [Read more...]

A Christian walks into a Church for Atheists…

In recent years, there has been something of a trend in some unbelieving circles to not throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to religion. While atheists disparage the supernatural aspects of religion, some are beginning to see value in its other aspects, such as its ability to build community and support structures for people, or to encourage people to approach life more contemplatively and selflessly. Perhaps the most famous recent example of this is Alain de Botton's Religion f … [Read more...]

Science Can Both Solve and Add to Our Moral Conundrums

Ah, good ol' science... With it, we make incredible advances that aid and benefit our lives immeasurably even as we wander into one moral quagmire after another. We increase our understanding of the world around us even as we are tempted to play God in ways that ought to make us shudder. Two recent articles serve as a perfect showcase for that particular dichotomy.First, the good: 2013 could be the year that the stem cell controversy goes away. Though stem cell research has been touted by m … [Read more...]