Billboards Reflect Culture

It’s true. Billboards reflect the human heart. Sometimes a billboard tells you that you need an oil change or perhaps a different cell carrier. The human heart factor? Making money. And I guess that’s okay in the right doses. I saw a billboard that spoke against abortion — human heart factor = pro life. We see the human heart on billboards. It’s a great way to get a sense of at least some cultural values.
Remember that billboards cost money, too. Reflections of the human heart don’t get put up on a huge flat surface for cheap. Someone believed that the message in their heart was worth the investment to make it known.

But this billboard says something that is getting national attention:

It says “You KNOW it’s a Myth” and is paid for by the American Atheists, placed just outside the Lincoln Tunnel in New York. The employ of the Papyrus font combined with the silhouettes makes it look almost like Christmas, except for the message, which also says “This Season, Celebrate REASON”.

Some Christians will get very upset by this. Perhaps someone will launch an anti-campaign and try to lease the opposite billboard. Someone might try to burn it in the name of religion. Parents might tell their kids to look the other way. And the media will cover the responses with great delight — the more zealous, the better.

I don’t get upset by this billboard. At all. I don’t agree with it and I’m not glad that it’s there. But I don’t freak out when a reflection of the human heart hits the surface. What else should we expect? Sometimes we get mad that a factory makes junk, so we picket the junk but don’t do anything to address the factory. And we also forget that we, too, are the junk factory, in that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The grace and mercy of Jesus is the only way to fix the problem, which is always found in the human heart. When Christians get mad, it’s often for the wrong reason, which only makes us look more heartless and disconnected.

Don’t get mad that the billboard is there and please don’t launch a thoughtful line of tee shirts as a rebuttal. Ask God to break your heart for broken hearts and let a billboard like this, which slaps Christmas in the face, act as a prompt to live missionally so that we can get some better billboards.

I Own The Sun

A woman in Madrid, Spain, claims ownership of the Sun. Not a Sun. THE Sun. As in, the thing that makes it so we can see and be warm and not become a giant ball of ice, etc. She even has documentation from her government (thanks, Spain) that declares her to be the rightful owner. Oh, and one more thing… she wants to charge all of us for using her Sun. If you’re enjoying the benefits of Mr. Sunshine right now, which I may or may not be doing, you owe her cash. Don’t worry, though, because she has promised to use 10% of what comes in to do Sun-related research. So no, it’s not totally crazy or anything.

Here’s my idea: I’ll send her a check. I’ll get a receipt. Then, I’ll start making some connections. For example, our curtains are starting to fade. My sunburn is in the shape of a giant question mark on my stomach and won’t go away. Also, I ran into that bus full of Elvis impersonators because I was driving Westward into the — no, your blinding Sunset.

Calling Sam Bernstein now.

You think I’d make something like this up? No — here’s irrefutable internet proof.
You think I’d go through with it and sue, choking our legal system even more with pointless bickering and superfluous neck braces? Nah. Let’s save that for Judge Judy.

Boxing Day

Today is, of course, Thanksgiving Boxing Day. This morning I am at the studios of home dot fm to broadcast mornings at home, then a brief stop at church dot fm to make sure that this Sunday is good to go, then it will be straight home dot fam to start scheming operation: Christmas Tree. It’s been a good Thanksgiving Boxing Day so far.

Some people spent their Thanksgiving Boxing Day standing in a line, both to get into a store and then, inversely, to get out. In order to get out of the store, they had to offer money that was equal to the value of the box they were holding. For some people, spending 14 hours standing in line at Wal-Mart so that they can save 30 bucks on an Emerson TV that will most certainly stop working exactly 1 minute after the 6 hour warranty expires is a good use of time. I suppose it’s all about the experience and bragging rights. I mean — 14 hours for 30 bucks — there are some people who would call that pretty good value. And those people are the ones that get paid 2 American dollars per hour to oversee the factories that build the TV.

But I’m no economist.

Some stores (Sears, KMart, Kroger and aforementioned Wal-Mart) were open yesterday, AKA Thanksgiving Boxing Day Eve, AKA Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, Sears was open for the first time ever on Thanksgiving Day. From what I hear, there were enough customers there to justify doing the same thing next year. There will come a day in the near future that all stores will be open always, and the suggestion that a retail employee have a holiday off will be fondly remembered but unacceptable to our culture. “Hey — we all have to work” or “Hey — we all need to save 20 percent on band saws” will be the new answer as to why a family can’t have a meal all together at one table on Thanksgiving. Sad.

I suppose we’re all part of the problem. How do we fix this? Does it need fixing? Am I overreacting? Did I accidentally eat some neck meat with yesterday’s Turkey? I’m not sure. I do know that the internet renders some pretty good deals that, according to some people who know far more about this than me, are as good if not better than the brick-and-mortar deals we see on days like this. With the internet, there’s no line — not since the days of Prodigy and CompuServe, at least — and there are no employees missing family time because they had to respond to “Cleanup, Aisle 4 — and bring the Shop Vac”

By the way, if you’re looking for a good deal on Shop Vacs, I have one that will rival any black Friday sale, by which I mean black mold.

Documentaries Needed?

Like you, I was just ruminating about the movie Man On the Moon, in which Jim Carrey plays entertainer Andy Kaufman.  After seeing that movie, I became a fan of Kaufman because, let’s face it, sometimes the medium can use a good mockery — and Andy played ’em like a foo.  I know that the film isn’t an actual documentary per se (thankfully, Michael Moore isn’t even a Key Grip), but it does tell a true story about a real person and actual events, a few of which were caught on film and then re-made in the 1999 movie.  Even if you haven’t seen Man On The Moon in particular, I’m sure you know what I mean.

My progression of thought went like this:

  • I sure do like that movie, especially because they did such a good job of remaking scenes like the 1975 debut of Saturday Night Live where Andy Kaufman lip sync’d to Mighty Mouse.
  • There are other scenes that they remade that I would love to see the actual footage.
  • Too bad YouTube and Flips weren’t around when Kaufman was around, otherwise we could all see pretty much everything in the movie — for example, an original act involving Tony Clifton.
  • Heeeeey…. wait a minute.  Now YouTube is around!
  • Heeeeeeeyyy…. wait a minute.  Since YouTube and sites like Vimeo are uploaded to by probably millions of users, thereby documenting everything…
  • Heeeeeyyyyy…. that Cat just sprayed the UPS guy!
  • Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  So, I guess I’m wondering now if we need documentaries since everything is being documented and uploaded like never before, instantly available to nearly everyone everywhere and for all time, amen.

A good documentary involves 1) footage I don’t have at my fingertips and 2) logical sequence and 3) accuracy.  Since we already have 1 — seemingly limitless supplies of 1, no less — then the new documentaries will feature less footage and more guided tours.  Maybe documentaries won’t be in sequential film order anymore but rather a digital historian who points you to the right links.  In some ways, this is WikiPedia, but in other ways, especially as it pertains to accuracy, it’s not.

We won’t need footage. There will no longer be a shortage of information. The ache will be for someone to sort it out and highlight the highlitables, and, more importantly, to help us ignore the ignorables.

Ha! Looks like that old cat doesn’t like the Postal Service, either!

R. Adam Davidson is a blogger who daily surveys his 1/3 acre in Spring Arbor, Michigan.


Oh, that TSA

Their job is to ensure the safety of airline passengers and staff. If they go too far, though, people get really uncomfortable.  And if the American People are uncomfortable, chances are good that something will change, even at the expense of safety. “Yes, there might be some bad stuff that happens on my flight, but at least I didn’t feel uncomfortable.”  Or, “There’s only a small chance that something will happen on our flight involving a terrorist and some flaming underwear, but I just cannot handle a 100% chance that someone might see my underwear.”

If the American people are made too uncomfortable, something will change.  That’s our history as a nation and as a people.  I’m not saying one way is right and the other is wrong, mostly because I am too busy having my dislike of air travel confirmed.  I’m interested to see what happens on Wednesday as the masses board planes.