Issue 33 | September 25, 2015

Issue 33 | September 25, 2015



Nothing unites the Internet like a rat carrying a pizza through the subway. A New York commuter uploaded the video to YouTube on Monday, and it already has nearly 5 million views.

Why It's Important: There’s a little "pizza rat" in all of us. Biting off a little more than we can chew, fighting the odds, just trying to make it home in a busy world to enjoy a slice of Americana. This article shows the three stages of how a video like this goes viral.


2. 1989

If #PizzaRat didn’t shut down the Internet, Ryan Adams and Taylor Swift nearly did. Adams recorded cover versions of Taylor Swift’s wildly popular album “1989.” The full album is now available on iTunes. Swift called Adam’s rendition “surreal and dreamlike.”

Why it's important: The buzz surrounding the album was generated primarily on Instagram and Twitter. Artistically speaking, dad-rocker Adams “reverse engineers” Swift’s songs to sound like “real music,” instead of Swift’s polished, synthetic, computer-generated sound. But is this music really authentic if he is merely copying her lyrics and using her popularity to promote his product? Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate…



#MasculinitySoFragile started trending on Wednesday with over 165,000 mentions on Twitter.

Why It's Important: Intended as a dig at the “toxic masculinity” that equates male identity with violence, sexism, homophobia, athleticism, and retaliatory aggression, the hashtag ironically proved the fragility of male identity by exposing how so many men in general are terrified of being perceived as kind, thoughtful, or sensitive because they inherently associate these qualities with weakness.

Question: As parents and educators, how can we provide a Christ-like alternative to male identity that cultivates the courage needed to suffer injury rather than inflict it, to protect rather than harm, to nurture rather than tear down?


After the US House of Representatives voted to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, pro-choice activists launched a social media campaign to change the conversation surrounding the abortion debate from one of stigma and shame to a public proclamation about female rights. Using the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion, women were encouraged to share their "positive" stories of abortion on social media. Over 80,000 people contributed to the conversation. The movement started with a Facebook post by Amelia Bonow, publicly expressing gratitude for the ability to terminate her pregnancy by saying, “Why wouldn’t I be happy that I was not forced to become a mother?”

So why does this anecdote matter? Because stories shape our imaginations. Because approximately 1 million teenage girls in America become pregnant every year. Because 78% of those pregnancies are "unwanted," and 35% of those pregnancies end in abortion. Pro-choice activists are attempting to reframe the conversation about abortion to "normalize" the experience through the medium of story, and our students are listening. But as Christians, our call is to speak and live the truth of another story, the story of God’s good creation. In the biblical narrative, the normal response to pregnancy is one of rejoicing for God’s gift—even if that gift comes unexpectedly. Use this opportunity to help your students understand their roles in God’s larger story, that we neither create ourselves nor belong to ourselves. The truth is that life itself is a gift, that we are stewards of that gift, and we dare not attempt to dispose of a gift that does not belong to us. That is a story worth telling...


Last Sunday was the 67th annual Emmy Awards show. Here’s the list of nominees and winners. Below are a few notable moments and ideas that were talked about. See if you can choose one or two of these things about which to start a discussion with your student.

  1. The most talked about moment on social media was the speech by Viola Davis, the first African-American woman to win the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
  2. Uzo Aduba, from “Orange Is The New Black,” won Best Supporting Actress and had an emotional speech. The Netflix show has been criticized for its gratuitous vulgarity, which is accessible to teenagers. Read a review of the show here.
  3. The Emmys were hosted by SNL alum Andy Samberg. Samburg poked fun at different political issues inside and outside of the film industry, including, but not limited to: racism, sexism, and ageism.
  4. Samburg made a quip about HBO’s CEO, who recently said he did not mind if individuals shared their accounts on HBO’s streaming video service with their friends. Thus, Samburg shared login information for an actual account. HBO took the joke in stride, but the account was shut down. This "sharing" has become common with platforms like Netflix.
  5. Jeffrey Tambor wins first-ever Emmy for an Actor Playing a Transgender Role in Amazon's show "Transparent." His speech discussed transgender rights, saying he acts “because people’s lives depend on it.”
  6. HBO destroys other networks with number of awards.
  7. Jon Hamm, from “Madmen,” finally won an Emmy after 16 nominations. Hamm literally crawled up on stage, and his acceptance speech was humble and gracious.
  8. Frances McDormand’s speech reminds us of “the power of a story well told. Sometimes, that’s enough.”
  9. HBO's "Game of Thrones" wins for Outstanding Drama Series.
  10. Lady Gaga presented an award and shocked audiences by dressing prim and proper. Her look was a throwback to the classic glamour of Hollywood’s bygone era.

Questions: TV shows influence us, not through arguments, but by capturing our imaginations through the power of story. How can we provide an alternative, imaginative influence on students by embracing the truth, beauty, and artistry of good stories told well? Are we aware of the type of content available on streaming services, and are we competent with parental controls, while understanding their limits?