Monday, March 02, 2015

Fifty Shades of Red, White and Blue

A lot of people didn't like this Saturday Night Live spoof ad with Dakota Johnson and Taran Killam: 

It's not my favorite either (I own the Best of SNL Commercials DVD and have seen most of the others, so I have lots to choose from), but I think it's a success.

Solid satire will always have some edge to it. That's the point. In this case, the spot mocks overly treacly commercials that equate a product with serving in the military. The sketch injects that with recent reports of Western teenage girls joining ISIS. That second part might make this an artifact within a year (though it works now), but the first part will always be timely.

Some insurance companies cater to military families and thus incorporate the armed-forces element into their ads. Fair enough. Other product lines occasionally run a shout-out spot to the troops. Still, there's much fodder for satire any time someone uses the military (or any other patriotic trope) to sell things. Or even to sell itself, as is the case with the Kid Rock/NASCAR National Guard ad. (Seriously, that one's not far from the over-the-top Family Guy spoof that I'm pretty sure preceded it.)

For me, just as when an advertising campaign mars a formerly beloved song, so can it cheapen patriotism. The least we can do is joke about that once in a while, hit or miss. That's also very American.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Church chat

Prudie's answer: Yes, because of enlightened reasons, but —

... you have a requirement he needs to fulfill. You want him to write an essay (minimum two typed pages) about the progression of his (dis)beliefs, and he must cite examples of people who have struggled with lack of faith—Biblical sources get extra credit. Then, if he takes this assignment seriously, release him. But say this doesn’t mean he gets to watch TV or play video games while his brother is getting religious instruction. Have your husband agree that Sunday will be bonding time for the two skeptics. Maybe when they hike to the top of a mountain one day, your son will look around and feel a spiritual awakening.


This advice is the equivalent of a particularly rude smoker who insists everyone else step outside the hospital if they don't like the secondhand smoke.

While I'm sure the kid (who is 12) could easily articulate his beliefs in two pages (or, for that matter, 20), why should he have to? After two years, it's beyond clear that church does nothing for him but make him miserable. That alone should be enough to seal it. Especially given that 1) the father no longer goes either; 2) attendance brings out the worst in him (and no doubt bums out everyone else); and 3) the mom herself admits she was bored by her church at the same age.

I see no reason why the kid should have to justify not going through the motions. Maybe his mom should write an essay about why she's made her son endure two years of living a painful lie. Though that might teach her more than her son.

Prudie's advice is especially puzzling given what she says right before proffering it:

There are some people who believe that one’s degree of religious belief has a large genetic component. That means in societies in which everyone appears to be pious, many are secretly saying to themselves, “This is a crock.”

Well said, though I wouldn't necessarily say merely "many" or even "secretly." It's fairly easy to tell between who goes to church because they want to, and those who go out of some family or social obligation. I'd guess the ratio is near 50-50. 

I'm a big fan of not doing something you hate for no reason. My stance, solidified in childhood, is that you should go to church only if you want to. It should give you something. If it isn't doing anything for your mind or soul, not only are you not benefiting, but you're probably harming yourself in the form of discontent and resentment.

Who knows? Maybe not going will eventually compel you back in the fold. But if it doesn't, so what? Then you can do something more satisfying with your Sundays. 

I don't think the deities take attendance. But if they do and your spiritual honesty gets you in trouble in the aftersphere, at least you'll get to hang out with me and some amazing bands.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The absolute final word on the color of that dress

The color of that dress is ... whatever the color of that dress is.

Hard to argue with that, right?

Also, it's blue and black, says both basic exposure technology and a woman who saw it in person.

(If only people could be this blind to color in society ... )

Well, back to the burning Team Edward/Team Jacob debate.