Podcast #68: Tiger, War, Peace, and Climate Change

Ben and Rich discuss three elephants in the room this week: Tiger Woods' affair, Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and Climate Change. Something for everyone!Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture. We love feedback! If you’d like to respond you can comment on the website, send an email to christandpopculture@gmail.com, or go to our contact page. We would love to respond to feedback on the show, so do it now! S … [Read more...]

Looking Back: Books and Music in 2009

In January of 2009, I stated that I was looking forward to two new publications: Jonathan Stroud’s Heroes of the Valley and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. Stroud’s book was something of a disappointment, and I’ve barely started reading the Tolkien volume (perhaps I’ll finish it before 2009 is over, but not before writing this post). Among the 2008 books I was planning to catch up on in 2009, I had a similar track record: Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates was okay, but I have … [Read more...]

Sacred Time and Space: A Case for a Merry Christmas

We have entered what is often called “The Holiday Season.” Anchored by Thanksgiving and Christmas, this time of year often results in family visits, big meals, and presents. These holidays, especially Christmas,  also come under fire from multiple sources. Aren’t these just excuses for gluttony and crass commercialism? Don’t these holidays possess religious foundations that go against our separation of Church and State?What these questions imply is often called “The War on Christmas,” by one si … [Read more...]

Podcast #67: How Ben Stole Christmas

At the end of this podcast, Ben pleads for you, our listeners, to please refrain from sending him hatemail. Little does he know that Christmas is such a divisive topic among Christians that Rich is likely to receive just as much from those who take offense to his loosey-goosey attitude toward secular Christmas traditions. Why does Ben want to deprive his child the joy of seeing a bunch of presents around the tree on Christmas morning? And why does Rich see Christmas as some sort of crazy … [Read more...]

Looking Back: Politics in 2009

2009 is almost over, and America has clearly forgotten that HOPE WON AND ALL OUR PROBLEMS ARE OVER!  Okay, so perhaps our expectations were a little high.  But even so, I'd like to ask… what to think about politics in 2009?Let's take look at the ideas I raised in the "Looking Forward" post last year.  Keep in mind that these are primarily my take on politics... no attributing my comments to the other CaPC writers, please!President Obama; Pragmatist or Idealist?One of my oft-repeated sent … [Read more...]

Twas The Fight Before Christmas

Holidays are stressful for many of us. Christmas films and specials have picked up on that for years. Nearly every holiday special involves some major feuding, chaotic, family mess. Think of just a few holiday films and you'll see it: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, Jingle All The Way; A Christmas Story, and the latest addition Four Christmases. Okay, so I know this isn't any real news flash, but it's important to pause and give some thought to this reality. Why … [Read more...]

Looking Back: How Gaming Changed Us in 2009

One rule of the kind of yearly predictions that sites like these do every year is that you are bound to be somewhat wrong, which is one reason the biblical test for prophecy works so well: believe him, until he gets one thing wrong. Then stone him. When Alan and I made our video-game related predictions last year, we had no idea we'd be drowning in stones by the end of the year, but here we are.Quickly, because it is oh so embarrassing:Alan was anxiously awaiting Heavy Rain, writing "Even … [Read more...]

Why I Will Always Root for the Home Team

I grew up at the tail end of an empire. That empire was known as the Crimson Tide. As far as I knew, every living soul loved Alabama Football with the exception of terrorists and baby killers. Their number one fan just happened to be my old man. Once he traded our bunk beds for a blanket which had been custom made for a former Tide player. We had the commemorative Bear Bryant Coca-Cola bottles, as did all of my extended family. I had a helmet lamp with a battered shade and framed pictures … [Read more...]

Why 'Precious' Is Actually Too Comforting

Yes, you read that right. A movie about an illiterate Harlem teen raped by her father is too comforting. Here's why.In the 1993 Afterword to her 1970 novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison writes of the difficulty of achieving her desired effect of not only touching readers but also moving them. What’s the difference between being touched and moved? When you have a novel about a poor young girl who’s convinced she’s ugly, who is raped and impregnated by her own father, it’s almost impossible not t … [Read more...]

Podcast #66: A Thanksgiving Debriefing

Rich and Ben celebrate Thanksgiving like everyone else: with family. And they like it that way. In today's podcast, they discuss their Thanksgiving celebrations, whether it's a good idea, how the holiday compares to other holidays, and of course they also discuss that day that follows: Black Friday. Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture. We love feedback! If you’d like to respond you can comment on the website, send an email to c … [Read more...]