Podcast #34: Rich and Ben "Put a Ring On It"

Podcast #34: Rich and Ben "Put a Ring On It" December 10, 2008

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This week: Rich and Ben discuss an unlikely, but surprisingly imperative subject: Beyonce. Listen to hear why you should even care. Also, “Brighten the Corner Where You Are,” Facebook, and death on Black Friday. Special Bonus: Ben answers for his anti-Christmas sentiments in this week’s listener feedback segment.

Posts Discussed in this episode:

“Brighten the Corner Where You Are”–and Beware the Devil-Possum!

RetroPost: Your Life in 12 Words or Less

A Blackened Friday

Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett sit back and discuss the posts of the previous week on Christ and Pop Culture, acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture, and give a sneak peak at the week ahead. 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! Subscribe to us in iTunes by clicking here. While you’re at it, give us some good iTunes feedback! We’ll love you forever!

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  • Alan Noble

    Well, this podcast sounds interesting….Beyonce? Can’t wait to hear that conversation!

  • Alan, I feel like you give a lot more comments BEFORE you read or listen to things than AFTER. That’s, um, different.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..A Song and a Blessing

  • Heh, while Ben and I are pretty much in agreement about Christmas, I still disagree with you guys regarding the identification of persons by their tastes.

    Maybe you recorded this before I commented on Alan’s post (or maybe not), but I also referenced Rob Gordon in High Fidelity. But in a positive way. For your edification, I’m wholesale reprinting that part of my comment:

    I think that most of us recognize that while people are far more complex than whatever list of likes, dislikes, or Compare-Me percentages one can accumulate on one’s Facebook profile, that the things one identifies himself by really do matter. In some ways, High Fidelity’s Rob Gordon is not far wrong when he says “What really matters is what you like, not what you are like.” The things we like and the the things we do define us as much as the things we believe—sometimes more so. And not define us in the negative connotation of define.

    If I’m a huge fan of Colin Meloy but don’t like the Decemberists, that says something about me. If I loved Zelda I but didn’t care for Zelda III, that also says something about me. If my favourite television show is All in the Family, that says something about me. And the things these tastes convey are not just shallow harmless pieces of trivia. Our tastes our better windows into our souls than our eyes are.

    If we are what we eat, then we certainly are what we consume.

    I’ll continue along these lines with an example:

    If someone says that they are a Christian (a perfectly adequate one-note identification of a person), we know something about them, but not much. After all, both me and Rich can claim that identifier. And so can Benny Hinn and Doug Wilson and George Bush and Toby Mac. And I can almost guarantee you that we are significantly different sorts of people. But back to me and Rich.

    Let’s take just one thing that Rich likes way more than I like. Christmas. Is this just some whimsical taste? Or does it say something more for the person who cares to look. I think it points to characteristics deep with in each of us. We like or don’t like Christmas because of a fundamental difference between us. Rich being a huge fan of Christmas says something significant about him.

    And this kind of thing applies to all sorts of expressions of Like and Dislike. Let’s say you’ve got a guy who identifies himself as a Southern Baptist. Let’s also say that he’s a minister. Now when this guy let’s you know that his two favourite musical artists are Eminem and Alanis Morrisette, that tells you something about him. If he tells you his favourite is Toby Mac, that tells you something else. Further, if he says his favourite beverage is Basil Hayden’s bourbon (to which I will readily say, “Yummay”), that tells you something else significant. And if he says that he likes men, a whole tapestry of his life unfolds. These are binary pieces of information, meaning little without inspection, but when combined with everything else one knows about a person, the understanding revealed can be significant.

    So three cheers for status updates and Facebook profiles.

    The Danes last blog post..20081119.ChurchLies

  • Alan Noble


    Great points as always. As soon as I can beat my last seminar paper into textual submission I’ll respond.

  • Interesting thoughts, Dane, but I’m not convinced. Likes too often are quirky and do NOT reveal much about the character, unless you have so many data points that you’re basically describing the person’s life anyways.

    After all, if I told you a person likes Led Zeppelin, hates the beach, voted for Obama, likes science fiction, can’t stand cats, loves hockey and baseball, and prefers coffee with honey, you really don’t know much about that person. Especially if he also happens to be a conservative bookworm studying to be a pastor in Louisville, Kentucky.

    But if you got to know me and saw my odd mix of conservative values, personality traits, and qualities than you would be better able to project how I make decisions because you actually know me.

    Of course your likes say SOMETHING about you. But likes are far too sporadic and randomized to really get to the heart of a person.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..A Song and a Blessing

  • I never thought I would see this title for you’re guy’s podcast.. ever. hilarious

  • @Ben – I’m not saying that knowing five facts about someone’s likes are enough to say we Know a person anymore than knowing five things a person believes are enough to say the same.

    But these things are important in order to fill out our picture of someone and these tastes flow naturally out of a person’s personality, environment, and circumstance. You call these tastes quirky, but I think they’re much more natural than that. To this end, someone who knows me very well will be able to know if I’m going to likely like something before I ever encounter it. They’ll also be able to predict whether I will dislike a thing. Despite the fact that someone who has know working knowledge of me might find my tastes to be quirky.

    Again, I’m not saying that one’s likes are the be-all/end-all of who they are. Merely that these things are not inconsequential and that they probably carry equal importance as any other method for defining a person.

    Alan’s argument seems to be against the reduction of persons to their tastes. I’m with him so far as I agree that to reduce someone to their tastes is a poor method for definition, but I will say that Facebook does not actually encourage this. Instead, Facebook uses such kernels of information to encourage relationship rather than corral it.

    The Danes last blog post..20081119.ChurchLies

  • And also. I don’t know anything about Beyonce apart from the fact that she was in some singing group called Destiny’s Child—a group whose music I have never consciously heard.

    Much like someone named Jessica Simpson?

    The Danes last blog post..20081119.ChurchLies

  • Hey, I just finished the episode and enjoyed it very much. More great thoughts and I was happy to be quoted. I just thought it was funny, because when Rich first stated quoting someone named “Paul,” I thought he was referring to a strange interpretation of the something the apostle had said. Ha, anyway thanks for the clarification.

    Nick Keutzers last blog post..Spasmodic Syslogism #2

  • Carissa

    Re: Beyonce’s status as “the elephant in the room,” I’m curious: are your seminary colleagues more aware of Beyonce than, say, Rihanna, who’s had eight hit singles so far off her most recent album? If so, what is it that puts Beyonce more on the radar of generally-clueless-about-pop-music Christians?

    I’d say Beyonce’s a much better singer, though Rihanna has a knack for picking hits. Plus, Rihanna often does that yodel-thing that kind of sounds like what’s-her-face from the Cranberries near the end of “Zombie.” Know what I mean? Anyone? Anyway, I’d say Rihanna’s “Disturbia” is one of my favorite songs of the year.

    To Beyonce’s credit, “If I Were a Boy” is the first R&B song that I’ve ever heard my husband express admiration for. I think it’s pretty cool how the song uses different octaves to represent different kinds of reflections on what it would be like to be a boy (lower octave = wishing for the carefree life, higher octave = wishing her guy knew what it was like to be a girl). But I also like the harmonies in “Put a Ring on It.”

  • Alan Noble

    You all now officially know more about popular music than I do. All I know is, when I’m at the gym (I’ll wait for you to stop laughing………no really, I have been to the gym) and some popular song, be it R&B or otherwise, comes on, I am tempted to let the barbell strangle me.

  • Carissa,

    I think Beyonce has a couple of things that help her pierce the fog surrounding your average seminary geek.

    1. Longetivity… she’s been doing this stuff at a consistently high level for quite a while (in pop culture terms).

    2. Accessibility… her music is catchy enough that our friends, wives, etc. sing her stuff. Also, words from her stuff enters everyday life… even seminarians have heard the word, “bootylicious” (even hearing the word before the song).

    3. Multiple mediums… She sings. She dances. She is in movies. She does songs FOR movies. She advertises. She’s on the radio.

    4. And the number one reason seminary guys know her… she was in a lot of commercials during college football games a couple weekends ago (something something UP-grade…)!

    By comparison, Rihanna has a long way to go before she can overwhelm the defenses of the chronically oblivious.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..A Song and a Blessing

  • Carissa

    See, Alan, your ignorance of pop music actually makes you cooler than the rest of us. It’s so tragically unhip these days to listen to Top 40 radio. Oh well. I do anyway.