Issue 38 | October 30, 2015
THREE THINGS THIS WEEK
What It Is: Outdoor recreation and sports equipment retailer REI announced they will be closed for Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
Why It’s Important: It’s a clever and marketable stand against our consumer culture. REI CEO Jerry Stritzke will still pay his 12,000 employees but says “We believe that being outside makes our lives better…And while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently.” Well done REI.
2. THESE WALLS
What It Is: Hip-hop recording artist Kendrick Lamar dropped a new video for his latest single “These Walls”. Rolling Stone calls it “Epic.”
Why It’s Bad: Everything. This 8 minute video intercuts between a prison scene and a party scene using graphic language and sexually explicit material.
Why It’s Important: Lamar claims to be a Christian, yet his lyrics and lifestyle point in a different direction. Your students will know this song, and will watch this video. Talk with them about the damaging consequences of living a life where “everyone deserves to play.”
3. HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
What It Is: Every year, pop culture influences the hottest trending Halloween costumes from music, movies, politics, and entertainment. This year is no different, with Minions, “Suicide Squad”, Hillary Clinton, and Star Wars.
Why It’s Important: Though costumes are mostly a parody of extreme aspects of culture and society, they do reveal iconic messages and people who shaped the hearts and minds of the next generation. So, when Ted the Bear comes knocking on your door tomorrow night, ask yourself, what does this costume say about what is normative in our world?
ONE THING YOU SHOULD KNOW:
With over 30 million Americans (80% are men) spending $800 million annually to create mock NFL franchises, fantasy football is changing the landscape of online, legalized gambling. Sites like DraftKings and FanDuel are attracting younger players that are becoming addicted to the fast-paced, incentive laden game. In fact, ESPN created the REDZONE network primarily for the fantasy football viewer, in order to better track scores and stats. The craze is so mainstream that it garnered a question in the most recent GOP debate. Far from an innocent game, recent research is leading experts to conclude that this recent phenomenon is actually addicting because like other addictive behaviors, it “promises the illusion of control“. The chance to win significant amounts of money creates an altered psychological state of euphoria, leading the player deeper and deeper into his online addiction. For the sports purist, it’s also ruining the game. Now a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles is forced to root for the hated Dallas Cowboys against his hometown team in order to garner points to win his league. Loyalty to your own individual, randomly selected team trumps the fun of rooting for your favorite team. Ask your students if they play fantasy football. If they answer yes, ask then how many hours a week they spend researching, drafting and assembling their team based on injury updates, bye-weeks and schedules.
Is this a good use of our time and talents? Are there better opportunities to cultivate and create that don’t lead us further and further into ourselves and this fantasy world that has no bearing on reality?