From Bad Guy to Bond Girl | January 17, 2020
Three Things This Week
1. The Name’s Eilish, Billie Eilish
What it is: When No Time To Die hits theaters in April, singer Billie Eilish will become the youngest artist in history to write and record a James Bond theme song.
Why it’s out with the old: An aging franchise with an aging star (Daniel Craig) needed a youthful shot in the arm, and Eilish seems happy to oblige: “James Bond is the coolest film franchise ever to exist. I’m still in shock.” The filmmakers hope the move will be enough to capitalize on the 18-year-old’s success and coax her decidedly younger audience to become the next generation of Bond fans. But it’s yet to be seen if her appeal will be enough to draw in Millennials and Gen Zers when the franchise’s central figure has historically represented sexist perspectives of both males and females, something both generations are moving away from. Ask your teens if knowing Eilish will be singing the theme song will make them want to check out the film. Why or why not?
What it is: Lil Huddy, aka Chase Hudson, is an embodiment of a new type of TikTok-influencer-turned-heartthrob whose rise to fame is due to their crushingly good looks, emo-influenced fashion, and online persona.
Why it’s profitable: E-boys and e-girls, “hip young people whose defining qualities are that they are hot and online” (language), are creating a subculture of influencers cashing in on their newfound fame by inking deals with fashion brands, talent agencies, and film producers. Like monetized YouTube stars or esports players, e-boyhood is “now a viable career option.” If your kids are on any form of social media (including Twitch), they’ve definitely come across e-boys or e-girls and may feel inspired by these “normal” teens’ success (perhaps not yet plotting a move to LA to try to become the next big e-thing, but at least trying to get on the #foryou page of TikTok). Only time will tell if this trend is sustainable, or if it’ll blow over in an internet minute.
3. Just Mercy
What it is: Michael B. Jordan stars as an Alabama death-row lawyer in a new tragic film about injustice, racial profiling, and the horror of capital punishment.
Why it’s convicting: We often head to the movies to escape reality, but you can’t do that with this film. It’s a fictionalized account of Walter McMillian’s wrongful verdict, highlighting systemic racism and political corruption. Like Selma, it refuses to let you look away from the fact that even though we live in a democratic society, some are more free than others. To commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, consider taking your teens to see the film (PG-13). Then, as a family, read Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” aloud and discuss their reactions to it and the film. Is it surprising that this happened in the ‘90s? Do they see evidence of it continuing today?
Team Meghan or Team Kate?
Whose side are you on, Kate’s or Meghan’s? Oh, you didn’t know you had to choose? Well, you do, at least according to British tabloids, superfans, and even evangelical writers. “The two duchesses have been assigned to opposite sides of the culture war,” pitting conservative Kate as the archetype of domestic femininity against progressive Meghan and her “woke” attitude toward traditional Royal Family values.
Whether the feud is fake or real is mostly irrelevant, but it does reveal just how easy it is to move the masses into polar opposite camps. This strategy feeds on the normal pattern of brain function most dominant in adolescents and immature adults. The developing brain wants to divide everything into neat categories in order to make sense of the world, convincing us that all of life is neatly divided into tall vs. short, left vs. right, good vs. bad. Within this way of thinking, everything you’re comfortable with, already exposed to, or that you understand is called “good” or “true,” while everything that is foreign, different, or new is deemed “dangerous.” That’s why it’s so easy to love Kate and hate Meghan, or vice versa. Psychologists and theologians call this “dualism,” and the dualistic mind always compares, competes, conflicts, conspires, condemns, cancels, and crucifies the other with impunity. Is it any wonder our political, religious, and international discourse is so toxic?
We Christians need to help ourselves and our children take the higher—and more difficult—road of moving beyond such simplistic and harmful ways of thinking and taking on the mind of Christ, who was always welcoming to the outsider, moving toward the foreigner, and including the outcast. We do this by putting ourselves in others’ shoes, seeing their perspectives, feeling their feelings, understanding their hearts. We do it by challenging our assumptions, never being so dogmatically committed to something that we are unable to let go of it, even when proved false. And most importantly, we do it by loving those we don’t want to love, those with whom we disagree, those whom we see as “other.”
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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