Vol. 5 Issue 48 | November 27, 2019
Happy Thanksgiving! This week’s edition of The Culture Translator is early and abbreviated so you can focus on your families and loved ones over the weekend. Enjoy!
Two Things This Week
1. The Silicon Six
What it is: In a rare, out-of-character public appearance, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen called social media “the greatest propaganda machine in the world.”
Why it’s worth watching: Attacking Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg particularly for their failure to regulate controversial political content, Cohen said social media “spreads hate, conspiracies, and lies.” Regardless of whether you agree with his partisan political comments, we encourage you to watch Cohen’s speech and consider these questions. What role does social media play in normalizing conspiracy theories, fake news, bigotry, and hate crimes? Should social media platforms regulate and censor content that promotes lies, like Holocaust deniers? If what you are seeing or reading online promotes stereotypes, stirs up hatred, destroys empathy, and causes you to fear “the other,” you are most certainly being exposed to propaganda. Here’s a troubling article to read with your teen about how the Nazis exploited ordinary Germans to believe fake news and therefore create a false reality.
2. He’s Coming for You
Why it’s everywhere: The character—not actually baby Yoda, but “The Child”—is from The Mandalorian, and fans everywhere have become enamored with the adorable pointy-eared, bug-eyed creature. Not only have memes and GIFs begun proliferating, but Twitter accounts dedicated solely to Baby Yoda have sprung up, amassing thousands of followers. Truly, the cuteness level should not be underestimated, which is why it’s quite possible your teens will add either official or unofficial merch to their Christmas wish lists this year, even if they haven’t seen the show. Thankfully, the trend is quite wholesome—something we could use more of these days.
The Gift of Gratitude
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 out of every 3 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 will experience an anxiety disorder. Whether the culprit is social media, lack of sleep, increased scholastic pressure, or screen time, the verdict is simple: Our kids need help.
Thankfully, emerging evidence reveals an organic way to combat anxiety and depression: gratitude. According to author Jerusha Clark, “Gratitude and anxiety are mutually exclusive neural pathways. You physiologically cannot be grateful and anxious at the same time.” One way to foster gratitude is to simply pay attention to your life. Be fully present in every single tiny moment, and remember that life itself is a gift. So, in a world filled with darkness, we’re choosing to see the light, to be grateful for the good.
As you come together as a family this Thursday, consider placing a journal on the kitchen table and encourage your family members to write down all they are thankful for. Then, as you gather around the table, take turns reading what everyone shared. You just might be amazed at all God has done in and through your family this year.
We wish you a happy and grateful Thanksgiving!
—Melanie and Gary Alan, editors
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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