Culture Clips: Hey, Siri! Can You Tell Me How to Pay for You?

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new iphone

Apple unveiled its nifty new iPhone yesterday—one that weighs in at a delicate 6.14 ounces and costs a hefty $999. What do you get for that kind of moola? A phone with a wall-to-wall screen (sans home button), better cameras, a wireless charging system, and … well, some other cool stuff, apparently. And while some folks say that, yes, the iPhone X is indeed a super-duper product that they’ve been waiting their whole lives for, others say that, eh, they’d trade all those nifty new features for a headphone jack and TouchID. Just ’cause it’s newer doesn’t mean it’s better, they say.

Naturally, any new iPhone reveal marks the perfect time to speculate on the future of Apple itself: Will the iPhone X rekindle iPhone mania? Might it push Apple’s value to $1 trillion—about the size of Australia’s national economy? Might it mark the day when we all looked at a phone and said, “Yeah, these things are worth $1,000, easy“? Will Apple funnel some of its iPhone windfall into its new and serious effort to get into the television content biz, à la Netflix? Will people begin marrying their iPhones, just like one guy apparently got hitched with his MacBook?

Those are all worthwhile questions, I guess. But there’s no question that Apple’s made lots of money from its various iPhones—so much so that the $5 million the company donated to Monday’s national “Hand in Hand” telethon was the equivalent of the change found in Apple’s living room couch.

Others gave more sacrificially—some perhaps forgoing a shiny new phone to chip in to that celebrity-soaked hurricane relief effort. The benefit—leveraging some heavy-duty star power—raised more than $44 million for the victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Everyone from Oprah Winfrey and Usher to Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake showed up to help. Celebs such as Justin Bieber and George Clooney were relegated to phone duty. America’s superstars are sometimes celebrated for rather flimsy reasons, but there’s no question they have some significant power in our culture. And it’s nice to see them using that power for a positive end.

“Natural disasters don’t discriminate,” Beyoncé said during the telecast. “They don’t see if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor. It doesn’t matter if you’re from [Houston neighborhoods] Third Ward or River Oaks, we’re all in this together.”

(‘Course, the hurricanes turned some ordinary folks into stars as well—such as the gospel choir whose shelter-centered worship song went viral, resulting in an invitation to  perform on The Tonight Show.)

Americans spent their discretionary income in other ways this week too. As I mentioned in Monday’s blog, plenty of folks ponied up a few bucks to see the R-rated horror flick IT, based on the 1986 novel by Stephen King. Some familiar with the book noted that the movie omitted the book’s most controversial scene—essentially a tween orgy amongst the members of the Losers’ Club.

Why get rid of it? Well, duh. But Gary Dauberman, who wrote the screenplay for IT, offered a bit more detail into the scene’s omission to Entertainment Weekly: “While it’s an important scene, it doesn’t define the book in any way I don’t think and it shouldn’t. We know what the intent was of that scene and why he put it in there, and we tried to accomplish what the intent was in a different way.”

For his part, King says he never thought of the scene as sexual, but rather as a connection between “childhood and adulthood. “Times have changed since I wrote that scene and there is now more sensitivity to those issues,” he said in 2013 (and quoted in the same EW story).

Even without that scene, the movie is plenty problematic enough. And be warned: Director Andy Muschietti says that, as difficult as the first one was, it’ll seem like a comedy compared to a “much darker” Chapter Two. (All that aside, Relevant’s Tyler Huckabee thinks that King’s works actually has some interesting things to say about good, evil and heaven.)

IT helped rejuvenate a box office that had seen its worst summer in ages. But if things were looking up for Hollywood, YouTube star PewDiePie saw his own brand plummet after he dropped the n-word in a live video. (Warning: While the link bleeps the n-word in its copy, it doesn’t censor other profanities dropped by the star during that same video, including multiple uses of the f-word. Oh, and he’s since apologized for the slur.)

Finally, we give you the unusual case of a selfie-snapping monkey. The macaque monkey apparently swiped photographer David Slater’s camera and took a smiling picture of itself. Slater believed that he owned the rights to the now-famous photo, but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals argued that the monkey—as both the subject and the photographer—should receive any proceeds garnered from the shot. PETA filed a case on behalf of the monkey (who, apparently, was too busy to attend the legal proceedings in person). Attorneys for both sides have now agreed that Slater can continue to distribute the photo as long as he donates 25% of any future revenue to charities dedicated to protecting macaques in Indonesia.

Personally, if I was the monkey, I would’ve at least held out for a new iPhone.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 5 months ago
By CbinJ
It's extremely unfair that my comment was deleted and that my account is on probation. I was completely on topic and wrote nothing inappropriate or mean or anything. What did I do wrong exactly? My comment was one of the most on topic on this thread (unlike some people who have copied and pasted song lyrics and spread memes and discussed personal beefs--no offense.) 

I was talking about how the movie It is detestable and, when reading the review, I was quite disturbed by the thought that people could watch something like that for fun. That given some of the sexual, violent, and profane content that is played out with children, no less, maybe we should ask ourselves if it is even appropriate to review such a thing? Just putting a question out there--not saying that it is absolutely wrong or not within PIO's rights and mission to do so. I was just in particular disturbed just by reading what was contained in this horror flick moreso than I ever have been compared to when I've read other reviews. I was trying to put myself in the reviewer's shoes--I could never go see a movie like that to review it. And I do think it is wrong for children to take part in such an evil movie. To think that the content involving children could have been, and probably eventually will be, more extreme is problematic. To read that culture clip was very informative about where we are heading. Make believe or not, there is some measure of sin in it, in my opinion.
By CbinJ
Holly B. 5 months ago
Just checked our Trash folder, CbinJ, and for some reason your post was blocked because of the word "flick..." Our apologies, friend!
Evan Weisensel 5 months ago
Hey, while we're on the topic of deleted comments, I just noticed that my comment about how coming out swinging in the comment section and treating others the way you want to be treated was also deleted. Can I get a reason why, too? Thanks.
Holly B. 5 months ago
While it’s encouraging to see the great feedback to our posts, we want to just to let you know that we do look over your comments regularly, and we occasionally remove posts. This happens for a number of reasons. For example, there may be a personal attack, misleading information, or harmful advice. Our goal is to stimulate good conversation in a safe, inviting community. Thanks for your part in making it so!
seraph_unsung 5 months ago
Ah. The word filter interpreted that word as being a euphemism, I take it?
Holly B. 5 months ago
Probably :)
seraph_unsung 5 months ago
I personally think that there is no "line" of what should or shouldn't be reviewed.  Of course that doesn't mean that Plugged In must or should review everything--they have finite resources, and some things will inevitably be too obscure to get a mention, but I'm also reminded of when Plugged In was (unnecessarily) criticized for making the effort to review Fifty Shades of Grey.  We live in a secular nation where media producers for the most part are free to create and distribute the content that they wish, and Plugged In Online, Common Sense Media, and similar sites have established themselves as being resources for informing parents and content-concerned viewers about the nature of a work even when that work does turn out to be horribly offensive or in some cases just isn't very good.  Plugged In's refusal to review this work or that one based merely on content grounds would arguably come across as arbitrary--why be willing to comment about one work's level of inappropriateness but not another's?  I think there really is no content line that is so egregious as to be unworthy of a review or organized critique--if anything, I think that's the kind of work that, dealt with from a mature perspective and strong heart, needs it the most.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I have a few things I want to say about these comments.

First, I never intended to make my joke an insult aimed at bobed. While I'm not apologizing for posting it, I'd like for him to know that I meant no offense by it, and that I did not intend to bully him.

Second, I do not want bobed to leave Plugged In. His opinion about the kids who starred in IT are accurate and on the nose (there's no reason he'd be jealous of not getting a free balloon from Pennywise when he doesn't even exist!). But while he should be allowed to post his opinions, it would be nice if he'd be willing to debate it civilly. And the same should be said likewise to the people who disagree with him. Let's not make the Plugged In comment section into one of those Marvel vs DC arguments that fanboys of both sides often have.

Third, why on Earth is Evan quoting VeggieTales? And how does this comment section resemble anime? I'm sure there's a joke behind all of it, but I'm not getting it.
Anonymous 5 months ago
By CbinJ
At least you're still allowed to post. My completely on topic and appropriate comment was deleted. I hope it was by mistake, but if not that is absolutely ridiculous. And my new comment has to "await moderation", then gets deleted. I post a comment with regards to one of the culture clips and it gets deleted, but the nonsense below gets to stay? 
By CbinJ
Evan Weisensel 5 months ago
I was namely just making a bit of a goof and trying to be fun in my previous two comments, don't read too much into them. :)
Evan Weisensel 5 months ago
The Plugged In blog comment section is my favorite anime! :)
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Evan Weisensel 5 months ago
I hope everyone in this thread hits Super Saiyan Blue soon!
[removed] 5 months ago
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Evan Weisensel 5 months ago
Beeyotiful.
bobed 5 months ago
My teenage daughter has been accessing my account while I was out of the room. She is in deep trouble and I will never stay logged in when I'm out of the room again. I don't know what Naruto fight music is. This is embarrassing for me.
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Anonymous 5 months ago
And when *you* start the name-calling, what does that make it? ("Never called anyone names"... er, really?) http://pluggedin.focusonthefamily.com/culture-clips-13-reasons-really-dangerous-science-says/#commentsDiv
Let's bring this all to the light, yeah?

I am a "callous, thoughtless, cold, calculating and horrible" (and, later on, "inhuman") person because I believe people are responsible for their own actions. My "heart has been darkened by the lie of the enemy" to believe such a thing. From that same discussion thread, Inkfeather1's thoughts (along the same lines of "people take responsibility for their own actions") are "strange and callous" - which, by the way, has since caused you to rant at Inkfeather whenever they maturely, calmly, and rationally respond to you. "Stop replying to me!" you repeatedly say. "Stop replying to me. Stop replying to me. Stop replying to me, I know what kind of a person you are! Stop replying to me. Stop replying to me." Heck, you even go out of your way to reply to Inkfeather...to tell them to stop replying to you.

People here only know you by your comments on these threads. No, we don't know your personal life, we don't know who you are in person, because our only exposure to your behaviour is through these blog post comments. And because of that behaviour, you come across as extremely rude and judgmental. Frankly, I think I speak the truth when I say people are getting a little sick of it. Take this as constructive criticism. Please. We're all Christians, and this is not a unified body of Christ. You have valid points; no one's saying you have no right to your opinions, but the way you say them comes across as extremely self-righteous. No amount of righteousness or Biblical truth justifies acting like a jerk.

- Lionsong
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Evan Weisensel 5 months ago
Hey bobed, there is an important, Christian thing you're missing here and I think I know what it is....

God is bigger, bigger than the Boogie Man
He's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV
Oh, God is bigger, bigger than the Boogie Man
He's watching, watching, watching
Watching out for you and me

So, when I'm lying in my bed
And the furniture starts creeping
I'll just laugh and say, "Hey, cut that out!"
And get back to my sleeping

'Cause I know that God's the biggest
And He's watching all the while
So, when I get scared I'll think of Him
And close my eyes and smile!

God is bigger, bigger than the Boogie Man
He's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV
Oh, God is bigger, bigger than the Boogie Man
He's watching, watching, watching
Watching out for you and me

Come on, come on, come on
In bed
I know, I know, I know
I'm not scared

Come on, come on, come on
Because
I know, I know, I know
God's there
Watching out for you and me

Now instead of getting clammy
You just trust that God is gonna
Give that Boogie Man a whammy

God is bigger, bigger than the Boogie Man
He's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV
Oh, God is bigger, bigger than the Boogie Man
He's watching, watching, watching

God is bigger, bigger than the Boogie Man
He's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV
Oh, God is bigger, bigger than the Boogie Man
He's watching, watching, watching
Watching out for you and me

Watching, watching, watching
Watching out for you and me
Anonymous 5 months ago
Actually, that wasn't my post that was deleted. Truthfully I don't remember whose post it was, but it wasn't mine. I do remember how weird it was that it got deleted, though, because from what I recall it wasn't offensive in the least. ...yeah, I do wish I could tell you what was in that post, because now I'm curious. :/

The evidence for what I said in my two posts is still there, yes. Teenagers *do* buy into a culture of victimhood that teaches them they have no responsibility for their actions. And that is the lie they buy into. That is what we must guard against. THAT is the root cause of the evil in shows like Thirteen Reasons Why. But we've already dragged out that argument into oblivion, which ended - and is ending again - in more childish name-calling.

We're not getting anywhere with...any discussion, it seems. So be it, then. May God soften your heart. I will pray for you.

- Lionsong

(As for Evan's song - aww. :) I love that song. Thanks for making me smile with fond childhood memories.)
Evan Weisensel 5 months ago
No prob! Just trying to bring a little humor to the situation at hand. ;)
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bobed 5 months ago
Very good advice, and I will try to take it to heart. Now, can everyone else do the same?
Evan Weisensel 5 months ago
Probably yes, now that you'll hopefully start treating others the way you wanted to be treated. You might find that the less confrontational you become, the less confrontational others will become in response. :)
bobed 5 months ago
Let me do the math. For $100 tops, I could buy a phone that calls, texts and goes on the Internet. Or for ten times that amount, I could buy a trendy phone that does all those things with a slightly better screen display, a privacy-invading unlock method, and no headphone jack. Anyone who actually buys this ridiculous thing deserves to have it break on the first day. No phone is worth that, unless it's plated in gold or something.
bobed 5 months ago
It is entirely ridiculous to give a monkey copyright of a photo. It's a monkey! It's not going to buy a Lamborghini with the profits! How insane in this day and age that this is even a question.

As for IT, I am disgusted that children were involved in this movie. Children having to pantomime having the worst imaginable violence performed upon them. This ought to be considered child abuse. The judgment of their parents is MORE than questionable.
Inkfeather1 . 5 months ago
It's not child abuse. For the most part they were acting opposite absolutely nothing. What you see in the finished product isn't what they were seeing.
bobed 5 months ago
I have to respond. Your words are so ridiculous to me.

There is a scene where a girl is assaulted by her human father, and about to be sexually assaulted before it is stopped. Was that CGI'd as well? There are many scenes where children swear, bully each other, and act in very adult ways. Were those also CGI'd? What about scenes where children had to pantomime their limbs being ripped off and dying in horrible ways? Perhaps they didn't see exactly what we see onscreen, but they had read the script - they knew what was happening - and they imagined it, and pantomimed horrific fear and agony as the worst imaginable violence was performed on them. Kids. All of them under 14. I don't know about you, but I have children and I have never witnessed them playing a game called "let's pretend to murder our friends in horrible ways."

Would you honestly say that these things do not cause any harm or damage, morally or mentally or psychologically? Can you honestly, with a straight face (metaphorically of course), say that you think this is all perfectly alright? Your moral compass is severely flawed if so.
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bobed 5 months ago
I thought very carefully about what I said, and it is my firmly-held opinion. I never called anyone a name and I don't think I'm acting holier than thou. You, on the other hand, are being passive aggressive and rude and turning this whole thing into a popularity contest. (You mention how I'm not the most popular person here, and someone else told me they're right and I'm not because they have more thumbs up than me. Honestly, what is this, fifth grade???)

You're right, there are no adult conversations here. I am sorely tempted to leave because of the quality and maturity of the people here, neither of which are very high. It's too bad - I love this website and I like commenting on various social issues, but I have been bullied and insulted and called names left and right. I know I will be accused of turning myself into a victim, but try to look at this from my perspective. Often, no one agrees with what I say, and I'm okay with that, but now you've devolved into name calling, dredging up past posts to discredit me, and insulting me - without even replying to, or refuting, the point I was actually trying to make!

Again, I'm sorely tempted to just leave PI. This is a toxic place full of immature people who call me unChristlike while they themselves certainly don't display his qualities either. Hypocrites and bullies, all of you. I won't stifle my opinions to make you happy, by the way. You'll have to talk to a sheep about that, because I'm not interested.
Anonymous 5 months ago
By CbinJ
I read the review for It and that was enough for me to be disturbed beyond words. I can only imagine how desensitized you must have to be to watch something like that for fun. I normally don't have this reaction, but while reading the review I was thinking that maybe PIO reviewing this one was a step too far. Regardless, your points are absolutely correct and I was thinking similar things. Indeed, what kind of parents would allow their children to participate in such an evil movie--especially with all the cursing and sexual stuff? I'm sure we've gotten into some spats on here, but you're discernment is commendable and, imo, adds to the conversation.
By CbinJ 
bobed 5 months ago
Thank you for your agreement. In my opinion, many parents whose children are actors are forcing their kids into it for their own enjoyment, and it's not always - indeed, hardly ever - to the benefit of the kids. Especially when they're participanting in a movie like this.
Anonymous 5 months ago
It doesn't matter that the children actors were acting to a green-screen or whatever. What matters is that the Director coached the children into pantomiming the emotions of the horror in the many scenes of this movie. What matters is that the children actors no doubt read the script; they KNEW what they were acting and imagining. And lastly, what matters is that the child actors will no-doubt go see the finished movie -- and be required (I suppose they're actually eager) to participate in interviews and such to promote the film.
I am a filmmaker myself, and I agree with "bobed" that this ought to be considered child abuse, and the judgement of their parents is more than questionable.