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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Sex and Self-Righteousness at the Superbowl

There is great wisdom in accepting that we are made in the image of a God who created with words. He spoke, things happened. We do that, too. We speak, things happen. We alter mindsets, outcomes, personalities, and people when we open our mouths and let words come out.

If you’re a parent, you know the power your words have over the formation of your child. If I tell my child he is unkind, unworthy, a failure, and ugly then he will believe these things about himself. The words I spoke over him become his truth and he feeds that into the world. But I also have the power to call him creative, strong, kind, gentle, and loyal – and watch as those become the bedrock of his identity and are poured out into the world.

So, when I consider what 118 million people had chanted over them by a beloved American celebrity – I cringe. I fear the outcome of individuals waking up this morning and humming these lyrics as they go about their work. This wasn’t a small concert somewhere. Not something that a tiny portion of the nation did or did not elect to hear. This was performed at the largest sports event in the nation, a part of the fabric of the culture here. Do you know the lyrics of the Beyonce song “Formation” that she performed last night? Here’s a sampling [warning: foul language]:

courtesy HollywoodLife.com

courtesy HollywoodLife.com

Oh yeah baby, oh yeah I, ohhhhh, oh yes I like that
I did not come to play with you hoes
I came to slay, bitch
I like cornbreads and collard greens, bitch
Oh yes, you best to believe it

I see it, I want it
I stunt, yeah, little hornet
I dream it, I work hard
I grind ‘til I own it
I twirl all my haters
Albino alligators
El Camino with the ceiling low
Sippin’ Cuervo with no chaser
Sometimes I go off, I go off
I go hard, I go hard
Get what’s mine, take what’s mine
I’m a star, I’m a star
Cause I slay, slay
I slay, hey, I slay, okay
I slay, okay, all day, okay
I slay, okay, I slay okay
We gon’ slay, slay
Gon’ slay, okay
We slay, okay
I slay, okay
I slay, okay
Okay, okay, I slay, okay
Okay, okay, okay, okay
Okay, okay, ladies now let’s get in formation, cause I slay
Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation, cause I slay
Prove to me you got some coordination
Slay trick, or you get eliminated

Verse 1:

When he fuck me good I take his ass to Red Lobster, cause I slay
When he fuck me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster, cause I slay
If he hit it right, I might take him on a flight on my chopper, cause I slay
Drop him off at the mall, let him buy some J’s, let him shop up, cause I slay

Cosmopolitan called this “the most perfect song since the Paleozoic Era…”

This is how we, as women, use incredible gifts like music and television? This is how we better the world? This is how we use the equal voice we have? By singing about sex and what we do to reward a man if he’s good at it? By encouraging people to, Get what’s mine, take what’s mine?

“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you…”(Mark 6:29-31)

There is no power in selfishness.

No joy in being stingy.

No strength in taking.

No actualization of the mature self is found in demand.

Your best self doesn’t take; it gives.

Thankfully, the halftime show ended with Coldplay’s “Fix You” with slightly adjusted lyrics.

We gonna get it, get it together right now
We gonna get it, get it together somehow

The crowd held up signs that read, “Believe in love.”

“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking…” (I Cor. 13:4-5)

I wonder if Beyonce read those cards in the crowd? Did she feel a twinge – even a tiny one – that she’d just spewed self-righteous ugliness all over a crowd now encouraging millions to focus on the opposite of her diatribe? Did anyone at CBS pause and wonder if maybe this wasn’t the highest use of their ability to reach millions?

 

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Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Industry Reflections

 

Living Out Loud, Defined (LOLv1)

“I’m not like you. I don’t live out loud.”

The woman before me kept talking, but the rest of her words floated over my head. “Live out loud?” Me? Um, no. I’m an introvert. [small smile to you other introverts here) I may have learned how to “turn it on” for public events, but I go home from those exhausted and in need of non-people, no-talking time to recover.

I lose my mind if I don’t have at least some alone time every day. By that I mean I get agitated, fidgety, exasperated, easily angered, and feel as if the world is caving in too close to breathe easily or think fully. My mind tries to shut down, to stop the inflow of experience.

It’s kind of like going underwater in a swimming pool. I can glide through the cool environment, feel the water slide over and around me, hear the dull thud of someone jumping in, see the blurry edges of pale legs all around, watch the sunshine play on the surface above, kick into the deep to retrieve the pennies or dive sticks, put my hands down for a handstand, twirl my arms for a somersault, and revel in the sensation created by each…but the whole time, I also acknowledge my chest getting tighter and tighter as I do not give it the oxygen it craves.

At some point, I have to surface and gulp the life-giving air up there.

My hubs and kiddos know this about me. If we go out – to one of their basketball games, to a birthday party, to an event – or have a lot of people over, they know that afterward Mom will retreat to her bedroom and crave quiet. I need to let all the communication and sensory experience settle. I must sort and sift the tidbits, casting aside what has no further use and pondering and testing the rest for wisdom and lesson. I participate in the events, talking and laughing and letting the experience flood in (swimming), but it doesn’t mean I am energized by it or need it to feel alive/useful/worthy/genuine.

Interestingly, my son is this way as well. He’ll say, “Mom, I need some non-people time,” and go off to his room to lie on his bed and stare at the ceiling a while. I’m grateful to know exactly what he’s saying and feeling.

So, having the “living out loud” concept applied to me struck a wrong chord. I’d always known that phrase to be interchangeable with “life of the party” and “social butterfly.” Words for those mysterious people who breathe underwater.

Now, though, I think I know what the speaker meant behind those words. And I plan to spend a lot of my foreseeable writing here on the topic.

The speaker was a woman who is very dutiful to authority. She does what is expected of her, even when she does not want to and does not appear to get particular fulfillment out of it. For her, to fulfill expectations is its own end. There is worth in living out the life others mapped out for her, in doing as she should.

And that might very well feel like she is only living on the inside, quietly.  By day, she is what she ‘should” be. In her mind, where no one else can know, she is her real self.
When she declared that I live out loud, I think she meant, “You do what you believe you were created to do, you pursue the becoming of what you were created to become.”

I think ultimately she meant:

Girl makes the graceful throw at sunset“You live with abandon.”

The more I learn about others and myself,

the more the race and pace swirl around me,

the more I see loved ones living but not alive,

the more I watch a decaying world age passionate minds and stop courageous hearts,

the more I think it’s worth spending some time writing about life like that.

 

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2016 in Life Lessons, Living Out Loud

 

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