Friday, January 29, 2010

Deconstructing Music's Biggest Night. . . .


Sunday evening is being billed as "Music's Biggest Night." It's the Grammy Awards. At 8pm Eastern Time, the annual music awards show kicks off. Culture watchers should be watching. The Grammys are one of a handful of annual pop culture events that I believe are "can't miss" opportunities for those who desire to take a walk throught the landscape of 21st century Athens (Acts 17). The room and the stage will be filled to capacity with the music movers and shakers who not only regularly throw ingredients into the cultural soup that serves to guide and shape kids in today's world, but who offer us a window into the world into which we've been called to live out and communicate the Gospel of the Kingdom.

This year, I want to encourage you to watch with a critical eye. . . an eye that thinks Biblically and Christianly about everything you see and hear. As you watch, ask questions. That's how we learn.

Here are some questions I've pulled from our How To Use Your Head to Guard Your Heart: A 3(D) Guide to Responsible Media Choices that I've written as a tool for use by youth workers and parents with their kids.

• What is the main topic and theme?
• What is the mood?
• How is the piece intended to make viewers/listeners feel? How does it make me feel? Does the piece manipulate viewer/listener emotions in any way?
• Does the piece make any overt or covert suggestions to viewers/listeners on how to think, talk, act, or live?
• What does the piece say about the way the world is? What does the piece say about the way the world ought to be?
• Is there right and wrong? What is portrayed as right and what is portrayed as wrong? How are right and wrong determined?
• Is there a hero? Is there a villain? What do they stand for?
• What values and beliefs are presented as virtuous? What values and beliefs are portrayed negatively?
• Who or what is the source of authority? What is the attitude toward authority?
• How is God portrayed? What does it say about God? Who or what is God (god)?
• Is the one true God replaced by some other deity (self, money, sex, etc.)?
• How are human beings portrayed?
• Where is human value and worth found?
• How is beauty established, portrayed and defined?
• What does it say about how to treat others? Are people “used” or portrayed as a means to an end?
• What is the source of happiness and satisfaction in life?
• Does the piece send any messages about what makes a person “successful” in life?
• What does the piece say about what’s wrong with the world? Does the piece suggest a solution(s) to life’s problems? If so, what are those solutions?
• Who or what is glorified?
• What does it say about peace and hope? Are suggestions made on where they can be found?
• Is it hopeful or hopeless?
• What character traits are portrayed as positive? Negative?

Go a step further and watch with your kids. Talk about the show as it unfolds. Then, take the opportunity to guide your kids into an understanding of how the Scriptures agree or disagree with the answer the Grammys give to these questions.

This is a great opportunity to not only learn about the way the world is, but to teach your kids about the way the world should be.

8 comments:

Patty Kachs said...

Walt, don't take this personally but if you think my child or any child is going to sit through these inane questions while watching the grammys you've got to be kidding.
Get real would you

Walt Mueller said...

Sorry Patty. . . not kidding. Of course you don't have to ask them all. Maybe one or two depending on the kids. Use your wisdom and choose an appropriate time to ask the question and get them thinking about what they're seeing and hearing. And remember, this is part of a process. . . a long, long process at times that early on will have some pushback.

Adam J said...

Hey Walt, just wanted to let you know that we are doing this with our students - just challenging them to take a closer look at the music that they listen to. It's had some great discussion with kids right where they live.

Good stuff - I'll be ordering more of the 3D guides this week too!

Patty Kachs said...

Mea Culpa

Rachel said...

watching right now! Looking forward to good discussions with "my kids" tomorrow.

anon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon said...

wrong move dude

Kevin Weeks said...

Hey Walt,

Great stuff! We've engaged in a year long study with our older youth about how to filter media messages through a Biblical worldview and think "Christianly" about these things. Your 3-D material has been very helpful. Deeply appreciate your ministry.