Boys State Shows Us Democracy in Action—For Better and Worse

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As you hop across your channels and streaming services, looking for something (anything?) new to watch, you might cross paths with Boys State, a documentary that just hit Apple TV+ today. It’s a fascinating, depressing and oddly inspiring look at politics in America—if it was driven by high school guys. A little background: The Boys […]

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The Plugged In Show, Episode 38: Navigating the Impact of Television on Our Lives

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Since its inception, television has exerted enormous influence in the myriad ways it can influence us and shape our culture’s values. That’s arguably been even more true over the last six months or so. The unwanted arrival of COVID-19 has meant more screen time than ever for families, including opportunities to binge on TV during […]

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What We Get—and Lose—by Turning History Into Entertainment

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History, they say, is written by the victors. We might also say that history’s written by the entertainers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—but it does bring its share of asterisks to the party. Take Hamilton, the smash Broadway hit that became another smash on Disney+ this year. The musical comes with some issues that […]

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What Should Parents Know About the Parler App

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So, you’ve been hearing some mixed messages about a new social media platform called Parler and you’re wondering if there’s some connection to an old poem about a certain talkative spider and an innocent fly. In short, the answer is no. (Although, the app’s creators have compared it to a parlor room where an open […]

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Can’t Keep a Good Evil Empire Down

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The empire did indeed strike back: The Disney empire, that is. We’re back again with an encore Movie Monday, but only because the box-office charts are just too interesting to let go without comment. According to Deadline, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back climbed back to the top of the box-office 40 years after its […]

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Disney’s Hamilton is Cleaner Than the Broadway Version. But That Doesn’t Make It Clean.

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If you’ve ever participated in theater—or even just been exposed to theater—you’ve probably heard the phrase “the show must go on.” And while this is usually applied to when a star singer loses her voice or an actor breaks his toe while performing a stunt on stage, Disney took these words to heart during this […]

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The Plugged In Show, Episode 32: Remembering the Good Old Days

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We all know things were better in the past, right? And that’s especially true when it comes to pop culture, we think. Today’s stuff is just full of problems, enough to make us yearn for the kinder, gentler movies, music and TV shows of the past. It’s an inviting idea. But is it actually … […]

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The Plugged In Show, Episode 31: Cause and Effect in Entertainment

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Each week on The Plugged In Show, our team (including author and youth culture expert Jonathan McKee) gathers to take a deeper dive into the overlapping realms of entertainment, technology, faith and youth culture—with an eye toward how parents can navigate the issues we find there. In our 31st episode this week, we’re talking about […]

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Words Can Hurt Us. Especially the Bad Ones.

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Sometimes when people ask what I do for a living, I tell them I count profanities in movies. That’s not entirely true, of course, but it is an important part of my job. But why is it important? In a culture that grows ever coarser and, linguistically, less creative, it’s a fair question. And today, […]

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Culture Clips: We’re All Playing Games

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As our coronavirus-addled country does its bunny hop toward some semblance of normalcy and takes stock of the economic wreckage, some industries would say that COVID-19 has been good for business. At the front of the line? Video games. According to Nielsen, 82% of folks worldwide have played games or watched video game content during […]

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Pictures Don’t Lie? They Do If They’re Deepfakes.

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Have you ever watched a video where a face swap was involved? On YouTube, you can find plenty of satirical videos featuring celebrity swaps like those of Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd, or Bill Hader and Tom Cruise. One moment you think you’re looking at someone, only to see their face change mid-video. It’s called […]

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An Interview With Dallas Jenkins, Creator of The Chosen

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Faith-based entertainment has something of a spotty history. The best of intentions don’t always translate to the screen as well as we might like, and sometimes a Christian movie or show that can move a believer to tears might leave a secular viewer … unimpressed. Maybe that’s one reason why I was so impressed by […]

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