Issue 08 | March 23, 2015
SUMMARY: In Issue 08, we take a closer look at another popular song, show you a movie trailer about how technology is affecting us, give you an update on the Burnbook app, and offer another thing you should know.
This week's major pop culture happenings:
- Zayn Malik Decides to Leave One Direction, Internet Is Flooded with Crying Teens
- Mad Men Actor Jon Hamm Completes Stint in Rehab for Alcohol Abuse
- All the Changes Coming to Facebook as Announced at the F8 Developer Conference
- Duck Dynasty Star Getting a Lot of Backlash over Prayer Breakfast Speech
- Twitter App Now Allows Streaming of Full-Length Songs for Free
- Kendrick Lamar Pulls a Beyoncé and Drops a Surprise Album, Debuts at Number 1
WHAT STUDENTS ARE LISTENING TO THIS WEEK
This week, the song "GDFR" by Flo Rida has reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 list after weeks of slowly working its way up. Surprisingly, GDFR is nothing vulgar: it just stands for "Goin' Down For Real." But what starts off promising goes downhill very quickly:
Key Lyrics from "GDFR" by Flo Rida ft. Sage the Gemini and Lookas
Your girl just kissed a girl?
I do bi chicks?
Shake for a sheik?
I'm throwing these Emirates in the sky?
Spinning this As-salamu alaykum?
Peace to M.O.N.E.Y
I love my beaches, south beaches?
Surfboard and high tide?
I could just roll up, 'cause I'm swoll up?
So that birthday cake get a cobra
Bugatti for real, I'm cold bruh
That autobiography rover
Got the key to my city, it's over
It's no thots, only Anna Kournikovas
I said rackets, ratchets hold up
(I said rackets, ratchets hold up)
I know what you came here to see
If you're a freak, then ya coming home with me
And I know what you came here to do
Now bust it open, let me see you get loose
It's goin' down for real
This is just the first verse and chorus, but you can see where it's going. It's all about being the best and the baddest (money, a Bugatti, doing "bi chicks," beaches, limos, knowing different cultures, being important enough to meet other important people, etc.), as well as reinforcing the stereotype that women are attractive because of their sexuality.
For example: the line "It's no thots, only Anna Kournikovas. I said rackets, ratchets hold up." "Thot" is a slang word, most likely an abbreviation for "that ho over there" or "thirsty hos over there." The term is used for women who are willing to sleep around but aren't considered high quality. It's basically another derogatory synonym for "ho" or "slut." "Ratchet" is another similar term and is used as an extreme insult.
On the other hand, Anna Kournikova was a professional tennis player who became famous for being beautiful (her subsequent modeling career was more successful than her tennis career). The line basically means that they don't mess around with less attractive or trashy women, only women who are extremely attractive AND "freaks" who want to go home with him.
(NOTE: "As-salamu alaykum" is a standard Arabic greeting that means "Peace be upon you." Probably the first time it's ever been in a top 10 song.)
Ask Your Students: How does listening to songs like this impact how guys look at girls? How does it change what guys think it means to be men? How does it affect how women view themselves? How does it change what girls think it means to be women? How do the lyrics of songs shape our culture or sub-culture?
MOVIE TRAILER: MEN, WOMEN, & CHILDREN
Last fall, Men, Women, & Children, a movie about how the Internet and smartphones are changing our lives, became a critical and commercial flop. However, we think the trailer for the film is poignant and relevant. The trailer itself has some pretty suggestive stuff, so be warned. But in two minutes, it tells a perfect story of the dynamics of our ever-growing technology problem. It's complicated and won't be simple to solve. Another reminder that we need to be intentional in how we talk about and use technology!
(And just in case you think it's only younger generations with technology problems, check out these photos by a photographer of the world around him...he called them "The Death of Conversation.")
WARNING!! This movie trailer may be disturbing.
Discussion Questions: How do we use technology negatively? Positively? How is it changing our world for good? For bad?
SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: "AF"
In the last issue, we covered Internet-speak, so we'll just keep the slang theme going. This is only for people who use the Internet or texting, so the rest of you can tune out 😉 If you've ever seen someone type "af" in a tweet or post or text, it means "as f***."
Some common uses are: "drunk af," "cool af," "lame af," "good af," "lazy af"...
AND Christians use it, too, because it's not as offensive as saying the actual phrase (and/or their parents don't know what it means!). Though it may not be quite as popular as Christians using WTF or OMG, it's still being used frequently. When most people see the letters, they say the actual phrase in their heads, not the letters. So though it looks better, the meaning is the same.
Ask Your Students: Does using abbreviations make it ok to say things we know aren't good? Why or why not? What does God's word tell us about how we speak, the power of words, and what we should think about? (See Proverbs 18:21, Ephesians 4:29, ?Matthew 12:36, Colossians 3:8, and Philippians 4:8)
UPDATE ON THE BURNBOOK APP
This is a great article by Mashable about the Burnbook app that includes images of posts on the app, how some people are responding to it, and some advice for parents. Interestingly, students from one school decided to try to force their school's community on the app to steer clear of bullying by posting only positive comments, and it's catching on. On the other hand, a student in San Diego used the app to threaten to bring a gun to his school, which prompted the CEO and developer of the app to say that changes need to be made: "Anonymity is a privilege, not a right."
We'd like to hear from you about this issue!! If your students, school, church, or family are dealing with this app, tell us your story! If you or your community have found good ways to talk about cyberbullying (or bullying in general) with students, let us know.
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!