Issue 01 | February 2, 2015

Issue 01 | February 2, 2015

SUMMARY: In this issue, we review some Superbowl XLIX Commercials and the Katy Perry Half-Time Show.

Weekly Rundown

This week's major pop culture happenings:


When we think of the Super Bowl, we also think of the commercials and the halftime show. (Some of us, ahem, may wonder why they ruin the commercials with all that football in between, but we love those people, too!) As usual, this year's commercials caused a lot of buzz (a lot of negative and some positive). This isn't just from a marketing perspective, but also from a worldview perspective. Here's a rundown of the highlights.



Nationwide Insurance

The vibe from social media is that this one may be the least liked! Main message: Your kid is going to die, and it will be your fault, so you should buy insurance for when that happens. Yeah, it was that bad. A kid starts talking about how he won’t ever learn to ride a bike, kiss a girl, or fly because he's going to die. And then it goes to the tub where he drowns. And then to the sink where he swallows poison.

What’s the problem? Insurance is all about the fact that bad things happen in life, right? Sure. But the tagline of the commercial is “Make Safe Happen,” and Julia Roberts says, “Together we can make safe happen.” But this is not true. Accidents will always happen, and we need to understand that. In particular, many parents need to grasp this. They are trying so hard to keep anything bad from happening to their kids that they’re willing to sacrifice their kids' childhood to obtain it. This "helicopter parenting" mentality is what causes Child Protective Services to be called when fully functioning children walk a short distance home from the park. This is what leads neighbors to fret over children mowing lawns. This is why playgrounds have become boring and why young adults know next to nothing about proper decision making and calculation of risk. Could this ad be a lot of what's wrong with childhood in America?

Discussion Question: What are the consequences of trying to eliminate ALL risks in life?



This one's right up there in terms of negative buzz for a commercial! It's about a father who, from what we can tell, is a great and upstanding father, as well as a race car driver who is very successful at what he does. His success dictates time with (or without) the family. Nissan must have thought they were portraying this absentee father sympathetically. But with 24 million children in America truly living without fathers, this isn’t a great idea. The child wouldn’t even qualify as a child living in a home without a father; he just has a father who is busy. But REAL father absence plays a significant role in poverty, emotional and behavioral problems, infant mortality, incarceration, crime, teen pregnancy, child abuse, sexual abuse, alcohol and substance abuse, and educational lags. Showing up one day with a new red car isn’t really a solution to these problems.

Discussion Questions: What makes a Godly father? How are fathers portrayed in media today?




Overall, this year's halftime show was very entertaining and many would argue, not that inappropriate . . . which is what scares us! Those who know Katy Perry know that the halftime show was one of her most PG performances, complete with dancing beach balls and sharks. She even sang I Kissed a Girl with Lenny Kravitz instead of another woman. However, those who aren't familiar with Katy Perry's career now have a faulty perception of what her music is all about. But let's not let one performance distract us from what's at the heart of her career: lyrics that glorify bisexuality, advocate teen sex and provocative dressing, celebrate binge drinking, streaking, skinny-dipping, and group sex, and promote black magic, all of which are topics that students need to hear a compelling biblical perspective about...often.

It is music like Perry's that Christian teens constantly battle against, whether they know it or not. They hear her words and see the images in her music videos, then wonder why they've been taught that living that kind of life is bad and wrong. They begin to feel like they're missing out on fun, pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment. And they struggle with living a life that is pleasing to their Savior.

But what they don't realize is that those images aren't real life and that the ideas she promotes don't bring true fulfillment or flourishing, but rather the opposite. It is up to us as parents, teachers, and administrators to peel back the facade and help students see the lies and dysfunction that vie for their hearts and minds.

Discussion Question: In light of Isaiah 5:20, how does media portray life?

We'd love to hear from you if there are any topics that you'd like us to address in future versions of the Culture Translator. Please click here to submit your ideas!