Vol. 3 Issue 29 | July 21, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Why it's teen fodder: Incredible visual effects. Action. Romance. New worlds. All the stuff that makes science fiction so popular...minus any of the stuff that makes it great. The sci-fi genre has made a mark on us because of its ability to envision insane futures and worlds, yes, but also because of its ability to ask hard questions about humanity, race, class, life, AI, purpose, identity...the list goes on. Valerian, unfortunately, lacks anything of substance, simply offering eye-candy. Yet, if your teen can’t wait to see it, go with them, then take some time to compare and contrast it with a substantial sci-fi hit (e.g. Arrival) together.
What it is: Christopher Nolan’s epic war film chronicles the miraculous rescue of 330,000 Allied soldiers trapped at Dunkirk during WWII.
Why it's so human: Marvel and DC dominate the teen movie market with a blitzkrieg of hyper-individualist, modern versions of Nietzsche’s ”Ubermensch” (Spiderman, Batman, Iron Man), but Dunkirk is different, “both sweeping and intimate.” It recalls the power of ordinary people who were mobilized to save a nation from Nazi oppression. It’s the story of vulnerable soldiers and sacrificial citizens uniting for one communal goal: to bring their boys home. Watch it with your son and ask him: What’s the difference between love of home (patriotism) and jingoism, and why is that distinction important for global Christians? Was it morally right for British Christians to kill German Christians during World War II? Why or why not? Finally, ask him what values he is willing to suffer for?
What it is: A new video-chat app that first released in May and is gaining steam with younger generations.
Why it's noteworthy: It’s similar to Tinder because it connects you with other users based solely on your age, gender, and birthday. But instead of simply messaging with your connections, the app automatically takes you into a video chat—and by “automatically,” we mean instantly. We signed up for the app, and within 2 seconds with no warning, it had already started a video chat, which we couldn’t leave for 5 seconds. It’s also easy to bypass the age requirement (13+), and there’s literally no guarantee of what will be on the other side of the video. Regardless of the ability to report an account, it’s easy to imagine how the app can be exploited. Though users cite ease of use, video quality, and a less-shallow approach to making friends—because somehow video chatting makes you “really get to know others”?!—this is an app to watch out for. Thanks to @mrsreid118 for tweeting us about the app!
Join us for our next parent webinar: https://axis.org/webinar-registration. We will help you help your teens understand where The Bible came from, how to navigate common challenges with it, and how to use these conversation to build lifelong faith.
Know What They Know
Part of The Culture Translator’s mission is to increase your cultural literacy, to help you know what your teens know when they know it! Here are 10 cultural artifacts from a busy week in pop culture.
- SocialStar Camp: Is anything more American than summer camp? Well, maybe YouTube celebrity summer camp. Teens can now go to Los Angeles to learn how to become overnight viral sensations. For real. As historian Jacques Barzun reminds us, “When people accept the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent.”
- “Despacito”: Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s remix ft. Justin Bieber is the most streamed song ever with 4.6 billion streams in the last six months (with the vast majority of those streams on the non-Bieber version). Have you read the translated lyrics or the writer’s notes on the song? Are the lyrics less influential because they’re in another language? This country has banned it because “the lyrics are not suitable to be heard.”
- Mad Men: Ten years ago this week, little-known network AMC aired the pilot of what has become the “last great drama of TV’s golden age,” putting AMC on the map while cementing the relatable, flawed-but-ultimately-good anti-hero as a teen culture staple.
- InstaBully: A new survey revealed that Instagram is the most commonly used social platform for cyberbullying, causing a spike in depression in teen girls.
- New Dr. Who: The BBC announced the 13th rendition of Dr. Who will be played by a female, actress Jodie Whittaker of Broadchurch fame, and this little girl couldn’t be happier.
- To The Bone: Similar to 13 Reasons Why, Netflix just premiered this new movie that “shines a light on eating disorders,” but not without controversy. Meanwhile, Feed, another film about eating disorders from Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario, was released to digital platforms on July 18. We’ve created an informative Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders to help you understand and deal with this sensitive issue.
- Game of Thrones: A record 16.1 million viewers tuned in for Sunday night’s season 7 premiere.
- Chester Bennington: The Linkin Park singer sadly committed suicide this week. He was vocal about his struggles with alcohol and depression, stemming from sexual abuse as a child. Though Linkin Park reached peak popularity in the early 2000s, their music has continued to influence younger generations, and many are heartbroken over the loss.
- Incognito Mode: Teens may be hiding their browsing history using Incognito Mode or InPrivate browsing. Here are several solutions for overriding private browsing. Ask your children if they’ve ever used Incognito Mode and why.
- Comic-Con: More than 100,000 people are donning capes and costumes dressed as their favorite pop culture character at Comic-Con 2017, the largest event dedicated to comics, film, and TV.
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