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Blogs February 2004

February 23, 2004

Who killed Jesus? The new movie The Passion of the Christ (More info) has stirred controversy about who is responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But here's something for you to think about: If Jesus were alive today, would you have him crucified?

Keep in mind that most people in Jesus' time had no idea who he was. Ancient Judea was a dangerous place with revolution fomenting, dozens of people claiming to be the messiah, and religious cults popping up everywhere. Many people may have looked at Jesus the same way we look at Marshall Applewhite and the Heaven's Gate cult. Jesus' talk about the kingdom of heaven would cause them to roll their eyes, stories about him raising the dead will elicit incredulous snickers, and his growing group of followers would frighten them, especially with the ever present fear of a Roman crackdown. Who wouldn't want to eliminate another troublemaking crackpot? Wouldn't you?

Now, consider how quick we are to condemn people whose viewpoints don't jibe with ours, whose lifestyles we don't approve, or whose appearance offends our aesthetic sensibilities. When you look at the homeless man, the single mother at the trailer park, or the tattooed and body-pierced supermarket checkout clerk, ask, "What if they were Jesus?" How can you be sure that they aren't? (Matthew 25:3740)

Update February 25, 2004: See what scholars have to say about the crucifixion of Jesus on MSNBC. (More info)

February 6, 2004

A correction: March is editing month at the National Novel Writing Month (More info). The next writing month is November. So, mark your calendar and start thinking about your novel ideas.

If you're looking for a writing contest to join now, visit Arcane Artistry (More info). Per their announcement: "Currently Arcane Artistry is having a writing contest for all writing willing members! The contest is free and is open to any genre you feel comfortable writing. Also...we are giving away prizes to those who win."

February 5, 2004

Plenty of harsh words and "boob" puns have been uttered about Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's performance at the Super Bowl (not to mention all the other tasteless halftime performances and commercials that overshadowed one of the few truly "super" games in the series' history.) But I have a question for all these performers and advertisers:

Who is your audience?

Judging from what I've seen, these performers and advertisers either think their audience consists of drunken 18-to-24-year-old males who have seen all three American Pie movies, or, more likely, they consider their only audience to be themselves.

Many of the performers and advertising agencies we saw at the Super Bowl exhibit a narcissistic attitude towards communication. They are not interested in connecting with an audience, but in showing off how clever they are. They care more about "expressing themselves" than the audience they are expressing themselves to.

But by grasping for attention for themselves, they fumble the connection with the audience. We know that there is a commercial where a horse farts, but do you know what product that commercial was trying to sell? Isn't the point of an ad to get you to remember the company's product?

Some have called for Jackson and Timberlake to be duly punished for their sophomoric attempt at "shock value". I think the most appropriate punishment will be dealt by all of us in the audience they cavalierly disregarded. From now on, when you listen to a Janet Jackson or Justin Timberlake song, can you think of anything else besides "wardrobe malfunction"?

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