I had one of those days today that took no prisoners. Somebody must have drawn a line in the sand at some point, and I stepped over it without knowing what I was doing. Texans and John Wayne fans will get that reference. Anyway, I feel sort of washed out and silly. Which means that I think it's time to boldly demand that Newsweek publish a correction for the terrible error in this week's edition of the BeliefWatch column, the story by Lisa Miller with the simple headline "GodTube."
The story, of course, focuses on GodTube.com, a kind of Contemporary Christian Homemade Video version of the real YouTube. The site was created by a former Internet and television professional named Chris Wyatt, who is now a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. Here is the somewhat predictable opening of the piece:
What would Jesus download? One of the hottest sites on the Internet is GodTube.com, the Christian answer to YouTube. It's a goofy, fascinating window into the world of Christian youth. There's a clip of Ray Comfort, the popular evangelical preacher, demonstrating the perfection of God's creation with an actual banana. It's hard -- OK, impossible -- not to see it as an (unintentional?) dirty joke. Another clip sends up the hip-hop anthem "Baby Got Back": This version is called "Baby Got Bible" and contains hilarious lyrics like "Bless me, bless me and teach me about John Wesley."
The article goes on to pounce on several other examples of what, in my mass-media classes, I have always called the "photocopy the culture" approach to Christian life in the modern world. You know, that's the worldview that allows entrepreneurs to insert the word "Christian" as an adjective in front of almost any commercial product (take Christian Cappuccino, for example). It's a worthwhile subject for coverage, believe me.
However, did you catch the error in that Newsweek lede? If you Google the phrase "Baby Got Bible" you'll discover that -- oooohhhh my gaaawwwwd -- the actual name of this music video by Dan "Southpaw" Smith is "Baby Got Book." Actually, it is pretty funny, especially when compared almost shot by shot with the MTV original.
I also think that the story fails the funniest-line test, with that John Wesley reference (full lyrics here). Anyone who grew up in the Bible Belt knows that the laugh-out-loud moment in this baby is hearing Southpaw riffing on the phrase "Thompson Chain with big red letters," a reference to the lofty place that the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible holds in evangelical culture.
I also rather like this section:
Baby got Book Yeah baby ... 39 + 27 = 66 books And if you're Catholic ... there's even more
So what's your favorite riff in this piece of work? Any other nominations?