Staub & Mamet on popular culture.

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The first chapter of “The Culturally Savvy Christian,” due out in early April, makes the case that despite its influence popular culture (Hollywood products) is superficial, marketing driven and spiritually delusional.

I’ve been surprised at how many 20-30 year olds are irritated with this assessment or find it simplistic. Follow up discussions generally reveal a generation that so loves their popular culture, they are unable to critically assess it.

A few, though, agree with me, believing the self-evident truth of my observations makes it unnecessary to state them. On this point I find myself in the company of playwright David Mamet (Illustration upper right) AND NYT’s writer Walter Kirn who says of Mamet’s “Bambi versus Godzilla, “so many of Mamet’s beefs with Hollywood are familiar and indisputable that its blockbusters emphasize spectacle over story, that its bigwigs do too little work for too much money, that its market research techniques dilute its artistry and that its reliance on group decision-making fosters mediocrity.”

How is it that what so many of us find self-evident is denied by large segments of our population?

I fear the answer may be captured in the old quip of the student who when his professor wondered aloud ” I can’t tell whether you are ignorant or apathetic,” replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care!”

I am not saying defenders of today’s insipid product are unintelligent, I believe their infatuation and addiction to their drug of choice (TV, film, music, games) may render them incapable of forming reasoned opinions about it and/or unmotivated to take a closer look.

I start the “The Culturally Savvy Christian” with that chapter so I can then show how American Christianity bears a chilling resemblance to the popular culture in which it operates. Here again the case seems self-evident and my argument is bolstered by Christian Smith’s well-documented conclusions that for today’s Christian teens their operating theology is that of “moralistic, therapeutic deism.”

Since this book represents 40 years experience at the intersection of faith and culture, I am confident that my assessment is both accurate and important, and since I wrote the book to help the next generation benefit from the mistakes of mine, I am in hopes they will take my concerns seriously.

I could benefit from allies in the cause. Please pre-order “The Culturally Savvy Christian,” read it as soon as it arrives, and if you agree with the case being made–defend it to those you love in the next generation.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in February 25, 2007 by | No Comments »

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