Tag Archives: Satire

7 fake TSA -related headlines

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This topic makes for easy jokes. Of course, the disgust of the general public has made some fake headlines appear quite authentic.
(Two have emerged as most popular. First is the one about the Denver TSA worker and the girl’s basketball team; and the other is about “Perry Cummings,” from San Francisco.)

SNOPES reveals the truth about these two most commonly-mistaken-for-true, TSA related headlines here.
Come up with one of your own related-headlines in the comment section, and see if you can last through reading these 7.

Let’s just say, it seems we have crisis on our hands.

1. Phrase heard most often by TSA workers, “Sir, that’s not a gun.”

2. Joe Biden admits thinking TSA stood for “Touch Someone’s Assets”
(Actual definition of acronym here)

3. Vegas Sex Worker sues TSA worker for not paying her standard fee-for-service

4. TSA worker offers boys candy before pat down, because “he’s a new friend”

5. TSA workers agree to mutual fondling with travelers

6. Advocate magazine names TSA work “Best New Job of 2010”

7. Texas Prison Work Release Program trains convicts to work as TSA agents. “Oh, yeah, man. This is my dream job!” says inmate.

8. [this one is for your to write]

Hipster Pundit, Brett McCracken Responds to 5 cool questions

Here is the much-anticipated interview with Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide. Thank you, Brett! This was fun.

Brett's face in the City

5 Questions for
Brett McCracken


1. Does the hipster Christian phenomenon pivot on the “Be in the world, but not of the World” Scriptural directive?
I think the hipster Christianity phenomenon is absolutely about this notion of how to be in the world but not of the world (with emphasis, perhaps, on the “being IN the world” part). Christian hipsters want, above all, to engage with the culture at large. They want to have a meaningful dialogue and cooperation with the wider world, rather than being cut-off or segregated from it. Rather than having a Christian music industry, a Christian movie industry, Christian this-that-and-the-other, these Christian hipsters long for a faith that is relevant in and among the culture. They don’t want to be set in opposition to the culture, but rather they want to be productively engaged with it. Their instincts tell them that if Christianity is true, it is not something meant to be separatist, overly legalistic, and anti-everything. Rather, it should be something that speaks into every aspect of life and illuminates the beauty and wonder of existence. They resonate with the famous C.S. Lewis quote that says, I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

2. If you could communicate one thing to your readers that they would remember forever (and in so doing, change them forever), what would it be?

Wow, that’s a big question! I guess I would want to communicate the notion that the “coolest” thing about Christianity has little to do with how trendy, cutting-edge, and “of the moment” it appears to the culture, but has everything to do with the transcendent truth of a Gospel that changes lives.

3. Every writer has “haters”, what do yours complain about? (Mine complain about nipples, but that’s a rather long story, and this interview is about YOU.)
A lot of the critics of the book suggest that I’m not giving enough due to the cultural context and “mode-of-delivery” through which the Gospel is communicated. They maintain, rightly, that the Gospel always has to be presented in ways that are embodied, formed, packaged, and specific to the context/audience in which it is being presented. I totally agree. I’m not suggesting that the Gospel is just some nebulous cloud of ideas or concepts that we can communicate apart from form. Of course we have to consider the medium, the context, etc. All I am saying is that form influences content, and we have to be careful that the various new strategies we are undertaking (placing tons of emphasis on looking cool, cutting-edge technology, etc) are not negatively impacting the content of the message or distracting us from making sure we are communicating a deep, rich, transformative message. At it’s core, my caution in the book is that we not get so preoccupied with hip/cool/attractive packaging that we forget what is actually rich and powerful about the message itself.

4. To you, is “cool” more of a state of mind than anything? Why or why not?

Hmm, that’s an interesting question, because I think it is and it isn’t a state of mind. In the sense that the pursuit of “cool” is very self-conscious and a sort of existential endeavor to be “in the know,” I definitely think it is a state of mind. But then again I think that there are plenty of “naturally cool” people who never really think about or try to be cool. It’s not something they consciously strive for as much as it is just a side-effect of them truly liking certain bits of culture that happen to be fashionable or appear cool in a given cultural context.

These days, it’s hard to tell where “cool as a self-conscious state-of-mind” ends and “cool as a natural outgrowth of who one is” begins. The problem is complicated by the fact that cool today (as in, “hipster” cool) is largely defined on the superficial “how one dresses” level, so you have “true” hipsters who dress in a certain way but then you have the “I want to be cool” hipsters who can simply purchase the exact same look at American Apparel or Urban Outfitters. On a phenomenological level, there is no difference between the two. Both types signify “cool,” which we take to mean “elitist/snobby/annoying.” So whether one actually IS elitist/snobby/annoying doesn’t matter, because “the look” communicates this regardless.

5. Have you ever considered offering McDonalds a signature menu item? (For instance, like the McCracken Sandwich: 8 crispy strips of bacon, melted sharp cheddar cheese, and sweet horseradish sauce on crispy, lightly toasted Sourdough bread pocket.) [Seriously, that whole thing came to me in one package like that. It must be a God thing.] If you have not, this could plague your mind, and I’m sorry about that. I too am feeling hungry.

If I were to have a McDonalds signature item, it would probably include arugula, grass-fed beef and raw goat cheese, just to cover my hipster bases.

For a signed copy (For beginners, that means eXtra cool) of Brett McCracken’s book, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide. You can link over, and leave YOUR comment. YOU might be the lucky winner.

Post here and share any questions, thoughts, comments, etc.

Thanks for reading.

Review: “Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide”

Um. Brett, Justin Bieber called, and he wants his hair back.

photo: Brett McCracken

I’ve finished with McCracken’s book and now it’s time for my “review” (which is an official sounding way of saying, I’ll be sharing my take on the thing.)

PLEASE NOTE:

You may (or may not) have read my previous post in which I set up a giveaway for a signed copy of Brett McCracken’s book, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide. You can link over, and give it  a try: Maybe you’ll be the lucky winner.

BOOK REVIEW:

My Rating: 4.45 of 5 stars

(For Liger fans, this apparently translates to 94.5% approval score. [High])

[Within text HC= “Hipster Christianity”]

One sentence assessment (“Tweet Review” version):

Author, McCracken may end our present era of “cool Christianity” single-handedly.

Summary:

McCracken does much to observe and detail the Christian (cultural, or rather sub-cultural) landscape. This book serves as a mirror for Christians so they may assess whether their “image” (whether they may be primping it consciously, or accidentally) helps or hurts the greater cause of Christ. For a certain percentage of readers, (perhaps from rural, or smaller congregations), this book will seems other-worldly and depicting that which appears to be on the fringes of Christian culture. But for many semi-rural, suburban, and urban church folk, between the ages of 21-50, McCracken’s depictions will seem, at first, like standing in front of an embarrassing Fun House mirror. Then, it will give you the reasons and how-tos to do better.

HC exposes the self-referential, pop-culture influenced realm of many Christian leaders, and laity. His 12 descriptions of hipsters varieties can make you both laugh and cry.

[Think: über irony to the point of deprecation. Sometimes funny “haha”, and sometimes funny in horrible, cringe way.]

Mental vignette: (While reading it I pictured Tony Jones reading it also and saying the F-bomb 18 times, followed by, “I’m RUINED!” near a group of pre-school children, or a Social Media Bootcamp (consisting 4 over-protective parents, 3 folks over age 81, and 17 recently ex-Amish); and then–with added and great displeasure–spilling his Ristretto Venti with soy, and a hint of nutmeg on his stylish skinny jeans.)

General Style of the book:

Adjectives: Informative, funny/clever, intellectual, helpful, jargon-heavy (not always in a helpful way), thorough (both in historic overview and cultural contextual), hyper saturated with cultural references and information, well-intentioned (constructive) and non-cynical (a nice surprise!).

Will Most Likely be enjoyed by:

18-50 year olds (anywhere on a spectrum of Mildly Stylish thru and including Tragically Hip & Techno Savvy) who will no doubt find themselves pictured in the descriptions, much to their [combined] amusement and chagrin.

Could be improved by:

Realizing many of the 12 varieties of hipsters, who are the likely target audience, won’t have the attention span to read the whole thing.

Recommendation 1: Tweet a version of the book, in a series.

Recommendation 2: Write a “translation” for non-hipsters. Possibly include an emerald green decoder ring.

One surprising find:

Mark Driscoll is practically pigeon-holed as a semi-pervert, “frat-boy testosterone” laden, misogynist who’s hanging on to his election by some sort of  tiny, irresistible thread, but doing well at really just not getting it.

(Which makes it all so HiLarIOuS!)

It may be that I’m too cynical, but my unsolicited guess for his strange hyper-masculinity syndrome involves the preventative tactic that goes something like: “I’m so very manly, so please, don’t think I’m gay..because, of course, that would be extremely ridiculous, and, duh, of course, I’m total %110 NOT even a smidgen gay, or even homosexual, nor do I like to gaze at really burly men who workout in tight clothing, who drive even guys crazy…so we hope our scantily clad wife at home can ease that sort of burden after for me, I mean, other hot looking guys, who are NOT like me, when we, er…they work out.” Not that any of us have witnessed this, from pro-wrestlers, or firefighters, or policemen, or interior decorators, or hairdressers, or rodeo cowboys, or anything. [For that brand of insecure men, maybe it only takes 1 weird or ambiguous camping trip experience, or communal shower situation, to instigate this sort of overcompensation…Right, guys?]

But,  hey, what do I know?

Did I find out I that was a hipster?

Yes, a bit more than I liked, but not as much as I feared.

Publishers Weekly said:

Being hip is about valuing independence, freedom, and reinvention. But when evangelical Christian culture adopts hip’s rebellious nature, what happens to the message of the institutional church? In his book debut, magazine editor McCracken steps outside of his own hip subculture to question whether the quest to be hip is “turning Christianity into a shape-shifting chameleon with ever-diminishing ecclesiological confidence and cultural legitimacy.” This critical analysis reads like a sociological study aimed at evaluating a demographic segment of churchgoers. From the Jesus People of the 1960s to the Missional Church movement of today, McCracken demonstrates how hip came to collide with the values of the church. By bowing to trends in order to reach youth, Christianity may be sacrificing content and authenticity. McCracken’s analysis isn’t wholly scientific and unbiased; with lists like the “12 common types of hipsters” and an appreciation of pop culture, he may unintentionally fuel the very subculture he’s attempting to question. Yet his “gut check” offers a much needed perspective that will make Christian leaders question the direction of their postmodern undertakings. McCracken successfully sets the stage for an important debate.
Copyright
© Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

(link to amazon)

Faux-hipster summary:

It’s not lame. It’s cool. You may feel like you’re a dork after he exposes you for your hipster ways–SNAP. But yet, HC transcends cool, and that’s really what we all should want, dude.

Potential ramifications:

By reading it you may realize it’s the Unforgivable sin if one is labeled a hipster. That will be the “end of cool” as you’ve known it. Also it’s possible the multiverse could implode; or a black hole could suddenly suck in every Whole Foods before one can blow a clove-scented smoke ring. (BUT-If you’re gutsy you’ll take your chances anyway.)

If you’ve read the book, share your thoughts.

If you haven’t, ask your questions.

COMING SOON:

You’ll hear from Brett McCracken himself. He’ll be answering my (oh, so exclusive) questions, and you can leave questions for him to respond to.

A Call from Nazareth swim coach-


Recent discovery of transcripts of a little-known telephone conversation with Mary of Nazareth show why Jesus never had a varsity letter in sports.

(Transcribed while Mary was chattin’ on her celly.)

Hello, yes this is Mary.

I was wondering if I would hear from you.

Yes, I understand Jesus doesn’t have his permission slip to be on the Swim Team.

Yes, I realize he needs one before 6 p.m. today, but I don’t agree with him being on the team.

Well, because he doesn’t even know how to swim, and….

Yes, well, I understand that he walks on water just fine, or skims, whatever, but that’s not really the same thing. Actual swimming is done quite differently. It seems like an unfair advantage…

Yes, it’s surprising. He’s been quite an interesting child.

What? Well, yes, he’s small and short. He takes after me, not his “father” on that. Genetics are a funny thing.

I realize the chances for winning the Galilee-wide championships are on the line, but our family won’t be going around all high and mighty.

Why don’t we let use his gifts? Well, there’s a spiritual side to Jesus that you might not understand. He’s um… different.

Yes…..Explain Different? Oh, God. How can I explain this? I’m not sure I can explain, Coach Josiah, but I’ve been treasuring all of those things in my heart for now.

Thank you, yes, Coach. Thanks for understanding. Actually, it would be hard for him to make the meets; he has his hands full multiplying…I mean, making food for the prom committee. (They asked him to help because their budget is really low this year.)

No, he’s not much of a cook, per se, but he manages alright. I’m sure everyone will have plenty to eat.

No, I’m not sure if he has a date, Coach Josiah. The girls seem to love him, but he likes to keep things casual…on a friendship level. He’ll probably go stag.

Okay, thanks for calling. Good luck this season. Mazel Tov!