Should We Enjoy Problematic Media?

We watch shows or play games for many reasons—usually, they’re fun or interesting in some way. Sometimes the reason is because they contain good representation or have compelling characters. Unfortunately, there is a decent amount of content in many shows that is offensive or problematic. Even more unfortunate is the fact that some of those shows are our favorites. So the question is, what do we do when something we enjoy might bother us or someone else?

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Theatre Thursdays: South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

Before there was the Book of Mormon, there was South Park. The creators of both, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, had previously dabbled in musicals with things like Cannibal! the Musical and various episodes of South Park, but it wasn’t until South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut that viewers really got to see Parker and Stone’s musical talent.

South Park LGG&FThis musical movie sets out to tackle censorship issues, and it parodies everything from Disney’s animated movies to big name musicals like Les Misérables and Oklahoma. Even Stephen Sondheim stated that South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut was one of the best musicals he’d seen in years. Is it any surprise that Parker and Stone would go on to take Broadway by storm?

So let’s take a look at South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut! Continue reading

Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: The Case for a Genderqueer God

2012-12-17-ImageofGodWell, ladies and gentlemen, I have just finished and defended my thesis and can now proudly say that I have a Masters in Theology. My thesis discussed the idea of gender fluidity—basically, whether or not a more expansive view of gender could help to limit stereotypical views of gender in theology. That’s not what this post is about, but these ideas did get me thinking about how God is portrayed both in theology and in pop culture.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: The Myth that Atheism Will Fix the World

I love being a theologian. Studying theology is just awesome, but some hazards come from working for God. I don’t get paid much, people assume I’m a prude, and drunk people in bars like to tell me why I shouldn’t believe in God. Telling someone in a bar that you are religious, let alone a religious scholar, is a very dangerous thing to do. The two biggest questions I get are “why do you believe in God?” and “are you okay with pre-marital sex?”

We… aren’t going to talk about that second one.

The “do you believe in God?” question is often followed some kind of accusation that if there was no more religion then there would be no war, no violence, and all would be right with the world.

While most atheists I know are extremely wonderful and reasonable people, I have encountered a few that are rather militant, whether they are drunk or not. And this idea that without religion everything would be better really pisses me off.

I’m not denying that religion has its problems, but many times in history religion has been used as a smoke-screen for less noble motives like taking money, land, power, etc. But still this implication that our world would be better without religion comes up a lot in our society.

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