Culture Clips: The Holy Throwers Edition

Case Keenum

Anyone who watched the Minnesota Vikings pull off a near-miraculous win against the New Orleans Saints last weekend probably saw Case Keenum—a one-time backup quarterback was thrust into the starting lineup due to injury and who’s having a career year—literally jump for joy. But if fans turned off the telly before the postgame interviews, they would’ve missed this:

“You ask me about this moment, what this moment has meant to me,” he told Fox Sports’ Chris Myers after he tossed a 61-yard touchdown pass. “It’s probably going to go down as the third best moment of my life behind giving my life to Jesus Christ and marrying my wife. And this is right there, close.”

This weekend, Keenum’s Vikings will face the Philadelphia Eagles—another team helmed by a backup QB with a strong, Christian faith. In fact, Nick Foles might’ve retired had it not been for prayer.

“I kept reading Scripture, I kept praying, I kept asking God—and so many of us ask God for signs, we ask God, ‘Hey, please just put it on the wall, like, I want to know,’ but that’s not how it works,” Foles said in a video for the YouVersion Bible app. “He’s not always going to do that. He was shaping me. He was bringing me down to my knees … At that moment, through that prayer, He said, ‘Hey, just take a step of faith. You’re either going to stop playing the game of football and you’re going to go onto a different area of your life and I’m going to be with you, I’m going to be the most important thing in your life, or you’re going to step back into football and you’re going to continue to play and I’m going to be with you every step of the way and you’re going to play to glorify Me.”

‘Course, as people keep telling me for some reason, life isn’t all about football. It’s also about television. And there’s more of it than ever before.

According to FX networks’ annual look-see at TV, nearly 500 scripted television series aired in 2017 (including, of course, those on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon). Indeed, the 487 scripted shows available last year was a record—up from 455 scripted shows in 2016, which was also a record, and in itself more than double the number of scripted shows that aired in 2009. But viewers are beginning to show signs of fatigue. “For a lot of consumers, there’s so much stuff they need to watch it’s sort of like homework,” Toby Chapman, an associate partner at global strategy consultant OC&C, told Quartz.

And all this content can be bad for us in other ways, too. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu offer plenty of fare for documentary addicts—but some of the docs are, to put it charitably, questionable. Writes Mark Laslo for NBC, “Any wacky hot take is given equal footing with the works of the nation’s most acclaimed and honest historians.”

If streaming services are replete with fake news, Facebook seems inclined to clean up its own streams of misinformation. Mark Zuckerberg announced that it was redesigning its news feed—this after a design ethicist at Google called the service a “living, breathing crime scene” for its role in facilitating the distribution of misinformation during the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, YouTube star Paul Logan may not be a star anymore. In the wake of blowback after Logan posted a controversial video that showed an apparent suicide victim in Japan, YouTube removed the popular web personality from its premiere Google Preferred tier and booted him from a planned YouTube movie. But while some have been critical of YouTube for its slow response, some experts note the inherent difficulty in managing a site where 400 hours of new video content is uploaded every minute. And according to author Kevin Allocca, YouTube stars are having an incredible influence on the world around us. “I think it shows how today we have entered this time in which individuals actually play a role in shaping popular culture in a way that was never really possible before,” he told CBS.

Case in point: Teens are eating Tide pods—tiny sealed bags filled seriously concentrated and highly toxic laundry detergent—and posting them online. The dangerous fad is, naturally, being called the Tide Pod Challenge.

If you thought you were going to get through a whole Culture Clips column without me mentioning new waves of sexual allegations, sorry. Eliza Dushku has accused stunt coordinator Joel Kramer of sexually assaulting her on the set of True Lies when she was just 12 years old. Since her accusation, two more women have also come forward with allegations about Kramer’s misconduct toward them.

Old allegations against Woody Allen have drawn renewed interest, too. More than 25 years ago, Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow alleged that he abused her when she was a child. Now, Farrow’s talking to the press, asking why folks have turned a blind eye to those allegations. “Why shouldn’t I want to bring him down?” she said on CBS This Morning. “Why shouldn’t I be angry?” And at least one actress—Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig—says that she won’t be in any future Allen pictures. “If I had known then what I know now, I would not have acted in the film [To Rome With Love]. I have not worked for him again, and I will not work for him again.”

All that said, there are now some, including French actress Catherine Deneuve, saying that the #MeToo movement has gone too far. “Rape is a crime,” reads a letter signed by Deneuve and more than 100 other Frenchwomen. “But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a chauvinist aggression.”

But we hate to leave you on that note, so in conclusion, let me offer this: A couple of weeks ago, Frederick Joseph started a GoFundMe page to raise $10,000 to send 300 underprivileged kids from Harlem to Marvel’s Black Panther. It’s since raised more than four times its original goal, which means that a lot more kids could potentially see the superhero movie when it finally comes out Feb. 16.

Hey, that’s nice and all, but I sure hope they all read Plugged In’s review first.

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.

Julienne Dy More than 1 year ago
Me: (reads part about the Tide Pod challenge) o_O (stunned pause)  Why?!  Honestly, who comes up with this kind of stuff?  Do more people on the internet have a death wish or something? o_O
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It kind of started off as an ironic joke on the internet considering that Tide Pods look a lot like gummy candies and there has been a lot of serious conversation surrounding said design and other laundry pods that have colorful designs that make them appealing to little kids. But, because this is the internet, once the meme went mainstream on sites like Facebook, stoopid teens hungry for attention (and Tide Pods) with a desire to be seen as hip began taking it as a serious challenge. It's times like this that I'm happy that most internet memes when I was a teenager were just poorly drawn stick figures, ponies, and cat photos with intentionally misspelled captions. :/
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For once we both agree on something. I remember I saw a video a few days ago of a candy maker making hard candy that had a similar blur and orange pattern to the Tide Pods (but safe to eat) that had a citrus flavor.
Andrew Gilbertson More than 1 year ago
Yes, a chore is exactly what it feels like. My wife and I are both big fans of CW's The Flash, but we've gone from following that, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, down to just the Flash, and are now deciding to wait out the rest of the season coming to Netflix, specifically because it does feel like a chore to keep up with all of those series anymore. And sometimes I suspect that we are on the very low end of the number of shows we follow compared to a lot of others...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Hey Plugged In, do you know if you guys are going to review the game Hidden Agenda? That game looks interesting.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PG 13 for Action (Duh) Drama, and Sci Fi (Also Duh)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That, and it looks like it'll be a good movie in general. Always loved the "techno-tribal" aesthetic that they're going for.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off, it's PG-13. Second, as an African American who grew up in a white church, I cannot explain how important it is for kids to see heroism in adults who look like them.

The church I grew up in was not overtly racist, but I constantly heard people complaining about how black people were on welfare and how black men always left their wives. This horrified me because I was turning into a black man. When I was in first grade I remember getting far away from other black kids because I didn't want their blackness to rub off on me.

Recently, I had a conversation with a missionary to India who said that he wished more people of color could join them on mission trips. Not because they needed to be more diverse, but because the Indian girls idolized the white missionary women and began to dislike the color of their own skin.

For a child, it is important to have a hero who looks like you. And whether you believe it or not, taking a child from Harlem to see Black Panther could change the trajectory of his whole life for the better.