when we postulated about the time we were gangstas, then figured out what to do with richard sherman and robin thicke.

Maria: I don’t know if you guys are into football, but did you see the guy on the Seahawks team last week who went all crazy on the post-game interview?

Katie Sorry. Nope. Seahawks=birds near the ocean? Or somesuch nonsense?

Maria It’s Seattle’s football team. They played the 49ers for some big game. (Not the Superbowl, but one of the lead-up games?) I only know this because we got our annual 3-month cable subscription for KU basketball season and Chris sneaks in other sports.

 Katie I really hope we have diehard football fans reading our blog. Instant street cred.

Maria: Well, I happened to see this interview after the game. A reporter asked a football player about his thoughts on the last play, when he stopped the other guy from getting a touchdown. And he went all crazy on her, started yelling at the camera with wild eyes.

Katie That sounds like an appropriate response.

Maria Whatever. I thought it was kind of funny and way more interesting than the usual mid- or post-game interviews. Besides, those guys have to become total machines when they play football and we expect them to have a thoughtful, calm analysis of whatever brutality just happened?

Katie OK, I googled it. After I finished googling Ryan Gosling reading “Hey Girl” memes, which is also quite funny.

Maria Oh, yeah. I’ve seen that. It is funny.

So through Twitter I found out that people were all upset about this football player. (Can we find out his name?) (And by “we,” I mean, “you”?)  That he didn’t conduct himself more appropriately. Parents thought he wasn’t a very good role model for their kids.

Katie We always get in such an uproar, especially on the Internet.

Oh, and it’s Richard Sherman.

 Maria Yeah, I’ve been wondering if everyone is really as crazy as they sound on the Internet.

 Katie So you’re saying that football players are bound to not say anything worthwhile and that we shouldn’t give them microphones but instead just let them pound the crap out of each other for our enjoyment?

 Maria That is absolutely not what I’m saying.

 Katie Oh. OK, well, I was going to agree, but I guess now you’re changing your story.

 Maria I have a huge amount of respect for athletes, actually.

But that respect (and my expectations of them) end at their athletic ability. I read a blogger who said perhaps parents who expect professional football players to be role models for their kids need to work on their parenting skills. I guess I tend to agree.

Katie Oh, absolutely. I hate those silly questions, anyway. Even a very learned, philosophical person with loads of public speaking experience will have trouble responding to the request, “So take me through that last play.” It’s like when they ask celebrities at the Oscars how it feels to be nominated. Umm… good?

I also agree that expecting a professional athlete, or celebrity, or musician to be a role model is pretty ludicrous.  Or…Ludacris? Ha. See what I did there?

It begs the question, though, about how to “make” your kids choose a certain role model. That seems like something a little bit out of parents’ control. Evie is only two and she has decided that Minnie Mouse is the pinnacle of cool. I do not support this decision. I keep showing her pictures of Mother Teresa and Michelle Obama, but she doesn’t really seem to care.

Maria That Minnie Mouse business is inevitable. You can hold off exposure to the world for a while, but eventually kids will gravitate towards something you don’t want them to.

Growing up in small-town, white-bread Kansas, I was in high school when the whole ‘gangsta’ stuff was at it’s pinnacle. My friends called me Mer-Dawg. Friday was my favorite movie and I drove around singing “Regulators” and quoting Dr. Dre. 

Katie I preferred Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony.

Maria I wonder, though, where does an entertainer’s responsibility begin and end? Like, I heard another parent upset about The Beibs getting arrested for a DUI.  Or, take Robin Thicke. I’ve lightened up a bit about “Blurred Lines,” but it’s still not my fave. Am I expecting him to be a role model for me or something?

Katie Oh, I have NOT lightened up about that. I don’t know if the term “role model” is right in that situation, acutally. It’s not like I’m looking at Robin Thicke to show me how to behave. But he is a culture-shaper, so I think intellectual push-back is sort of important.

Maria A culture-shaper or a culture-reflector? And how is it different than your kid looking to a football player to teach him decorum? 

Katie I think he’s a shaper and a reflector because of his fame. I think you go into the music business (pop music, especially) partly for the fame, so you can’t want the fame without at least respecting that you have a certain measure of responsibility. But I’m not Robin Thicke’s mother, so I have very little control over that.

(Oh, thank you God, that I’m not Robin Thicke’s mother, by the way.)

Maria I decided to give Robin Thicke a break when I found myself rapping I’m mutha-fucking P.I.M.P., conscience-free.

50 Cent’s my favorite to work out to.

Katie We are all a little bit hypocritical, aren’t we?

Maria I shouldn’t speak for anyone else, but I can say, yes, I am a hypocrite.

Katie Oh, that’s very good of you. But I’m pretty sure every last one of us is at least some kind of hypocrite.

 Maria I’ve just been thinking maybe I’ll stay out of all the opinions on pop culture. But, deciding not to have an opinion is still having an opinion.

Right now it’s easier too, because my kids are still at an age where I almost completely control the input. I’ve just been thinking, as they get older, my challenge is teaching them how to think about the things they see and hear.

How, as opposed to What.

Katie Yes! I was just writing something like that, but I’m glad you wrote yours because yours sounds better.

Maria Joseph Gordon-Levitt was on Ellen the other day and said when he was growing up, his mom would point out the Laker Girls on TV and how their job is to be sexy while the athletes’ job was to be strong or fast. It reminded me that, if the TV’s on and the kids are around, they are listening not just to it, but also to the way Chris and I respond to it.

Katie I saw that interview. I cheered audibly for his mother.

MariaSo, no pressure, but I can’t even zone out to the TV 3 months out of the year. Little eyes. Little ears. It makes the rest of the non-cable months less stressful, I guess.

Katie I do think that’s the trick, though: to teach them how to interpret what they’re seeing and make strong choices despite what the culture-shapers and culture-reflectors do or say.

Maria With some grace for the times the choices aren’t so strong? (Just picturing myself driving around in high school,  sippin’ on gin and juice.)

Katie Absolutely. At least I hope so, because I’m zoning out just like you are. And I say stupid things like how football players don’t deserve microphones (that was a joke, Very Strong Football Players).  How in the world would we get on without some grace, for the love?

Maria Does Miley Cyrus also get grace?

Katie No.

Just kidding. Yes.

Maria I’m really feeling sick of the fabricated scandals. It’s like, we don’t want to do the difficult work in real life, so we tune into the TV and then the Internet to talk about what an outrage it all is.

I would take a break from all of it, except I have this blog. On the Internet. Where I’m talking about things that happen on TV…

Katie Me too. But it is an outrage. Such a blasted outrage.


9 thoughts on “when we postulated about the time we were gangstas, then figured out what to do with richard sherman and robin thicke.

  1. Missed you two! Glad to see you back posting a little bit, and I laughed the whole way through your conversation. I’d take a break from it all myself, except…hahaha! What would I do without all this outrage?

  2. I wouldn’t call myself a diehard football fan, but I was watching the game, and I did see the interview at the end. And my first reaction was, “stay classy!” And then, I found myself laughing because it was highly entertaining. And then, I decided not to look at facebook for the next couple of days so that I didn’t have to see all the reactionary posts to “Sherman-gate.”

    Entertaining. What do we find entertaining? Frankly everything you talked about here is entertaining to me. With the exception of Robin Thicke. I think calling the song “rapey” was fairly accurate and very difficult for me to enjoy.

    PS. I’m not a mother. However, I was very sheltered as a child (not that I’m accusing either one of you of this). In retrospect and with much therapy, I would have preferred a little more exposure to reality, and the encouragement to make up my own mind when the time was right. I guess what I am saying is I agree with you both that allowing exposure of your children to cultural phenomena at the proper developmental stage while helping them navigate their morals and life choices is much appreciated by me. To me how that translates into our world is the nurturing of our future leaders who can think critically and be tolerant of other valid, and possibly contradictory, points of view.

    PPS. I love your blog!

  3. As a new parent of 2 young girls (both less than 18 months)… I already find myself concerned with what influences to allow into their lives. For me, the best thing that my parents ever did in regards to shaping culture and my role models, was to introduce me to people in these glorified roles. I was forced to volunteer at shelters, clinics and food pantries where I met people who could not hide their brokenness. Lyrics like “I’m mutha-fucking P.I.M.P.” have a different meaning when you actually know one and how they actually treat the prostitutes that work for them.

    How and when to do this, I am not certain. I was often shocked after coming in contact with undeniable and unhidden brokenness. Now, as a parent, I am forced to think about the real elements of danger that come with that type of exposure… but isn’t that what the gospels call us to? Finding ways to make the imagery of culture tangible is, in my opinion, the best way of combating the allure of temptation.

    Who are the women who “want it”… “big enough to tear your ass in two”… I don’t know where to find them, but I guarantee that if I found them, the tune would not be so catchy.

  4. Great comments ya’all! Someone from my church just had a status that said “is there no grace left for Bieber” and I liked that. It’s like when Jewel said its fun to watch tv to see people more screwed up than you.

  5. You can host a one day sale for your products at a local fashion store or a boutique and promote the same through your fashion blog. Although you are quite capable of capturing the contact information of people who land on your website by using a squeeze page, blogs can do this better.

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