Thursday, January 27, 2011

'Generation Y' the Media and Beyond

Sonny Bill Williams, Anthony Mundine and Michael Clarke make interesting high profile case studies in how the mainstream media, their traditional sports and we the public deal with the values of their generation. I'm not bringing solid analysis of academic rigour here, just a few observations and hunches which will no doubt be tested in time. Toss in the 'party boy' Cory Worthington for good measure...
The media coverage might be a factor in itself but essentially each of these characters display traits and values from their generation which are different to previous ones and often the media are using the prism of the latter to make judgements or create 'spin' on their stories.
Let me first set the scene where I was musing about this with friends at a Christmas BBQ a few years ago... one friend was contrasting his own perception and insight with that of a colleague in relation to interviewing 'Gen Y' candidates for an engineering contractor. The only slightly older colleague was bemoaning the short term thinking and lack of perceived stickability of the youngsters. You see these youngsters didn't give any indication of their desire to 'stay with the company' and openly acknowledged this employment opportunity as a step on a much bigger journey. They didn't speak of loyalty, commitment, belonging but rather the vibe, gaining valuable experience and taking challenges on for the future. They were unable to describe the future in terms of the current job on offer or indeed whether this field was viewed as their career in the long term.
This is the generation for whom stereotypically and perhaps in reality in many cases, it's all about the subjective experience, they envisage a series of career changes, focus on the immediate and don't feel embarrassed identifying they seek self interest and couldn't possibly find the words for seeking a gold watch on retirement from the job they are interviewing for after 50 years service. Change is a constant for this generation, 'Manhattanisation' has taken effect in terms of young people talking themselves up. There is evidence of a consumer culture, lack of awareness of certain expectations, manners and conventions... mind you these are only some Gen Yers... there are other motivators, cultures and sub cultures...
Back to my examples which may help explain what I am thinking about...

1. Anthony Mundine
Anthony is a flighty character who pursues his image as 'The Man.' He makes hard to argue with claims about racism in rugby league [his first professional sport] but also talks about having outplayed people selected ahead of him in rep football as part of the case. He has become a Muslim, is an strong anti drugs campaigner, seems to attract friendship with other well known figures adding chapters to his intruiging story. He speaks his mind and then thinks later. The criticism of his boxing career revolves around soft opponents in easier weight divisions.
What's missing: circumspection; respect for tradition; loyalty to contracts signed and deals entered into. He and his Manager are credited with convincing Sonny Bill Williams he was undervalued at the Bulldogs in rugby league and they helped him break a contract and disappear to France to play club rugby. His Manager is painted as an influential shady figure. I sometimes think Anthony just sees things differently... do what works for you, say what's on your mind even if it's going to be taken the wrong way and talk yourself up.

2. Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams seems clueless as to the impact on others of his walkout to France. It's all about what was happening for him. He has since signed with the 'Canterbury Crusaders' and has made his rugby union debut with the All Blacks ahead of a World Cup year.
Somehow I think previous generations would be more careful in their comments about a possible return to rugby league after the Rugby World Cup. What picture does that paint?
It's more than the impact of professional sport and the fact that clubs would cut you at will so why show loyalty in reverse. Does it cheapen the national jersey of any team if you can chop and change or does it speak of an exceptional sportsperson who can chop and change and make both squads, SBW also enjoys the diversion of boxing.

3. Michael Clarke
Michael or 'pup' achieved selection in cricket at a young age and some said by reputation before results. He was trumpeted as a western suburbs success story but quickly adapted to eastern suburbs socialising, fast cars and a model girlfriend... Kerry O'Keefe tells a great joke about all this involving Michael Clarke asking him if he thinks his sporting success has 'changed him' at all...
The media seems to have the finger on the pulse in identifying that the public per se don't seem to 'warm' to Michael Clarke [he gets a mixture of cheers and boos when taking the field] and his current form slump isn't helping.
But this week the ridiculous claim was that his activity on twitter was distracting him and basically outlining that because he's a 'pretty boy' and not a hard as nails, beer drinking, thug... we don't see him as worthy of our admiration. Again I contend it's more than sporting values being judged... pierced ear, sports car, wine drinker, confident about his ability, talking openly about his expected succession to the Australian cricket captaincy... he may well soon be branded an 'enigma'... but then just in time in the last two 'One Day Internationals' he has demonstrated cricket nouse, skills as a leader and innovative and skilled use of his bowlers and field settings... causing at least a media pause...
Now I know they're all Anglo blokes... I'll keep tabs on these and other stories... teasing out whether it's a media thing, a sport thing or a generational thing!!
As a footnote, Cory was the kid a couple of years ago who advertised a party at his parents home while they were away and it and the street were 'trashed' if you believe the media reports. I'm more interested in the interview with Leila Mackinnon on Summer 'A Current Affair' where she was gobsmacked that Cory didn't think he had anything to apologise for, that he wouldn't take off his sunglasses on camera and didn't seem to have anything to say to his parents... while the story had merit the clash of values was most stark and the longer it went the bigger the divide... Cory went on to advertise himself as a party organiser, appeared on 'Big Brother' and just recently did a round of 'he's grown up and settled down stories'...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

'Lucky Country' Another View from 1982

Check out the lyrics for 'Lucky Country' Midnight Oil here for a more 1970s/80s viewpoint

Australia Day 26th January

I'm not alone in believing that we live in an amazing place!! Australia's natural environment, the cities, east and west, the laidback approach etc etc.
Whenever I travel I am struck by how much lower the sky feels and generally how much thicker and more grey. I travel to NZ for the first time later this year [did I mention I'm going to the Rugby World Cup Final!!] and so I look fwd to the delights of Auckland and beyond...
I am struck by the radio debate today about: who we are? whether Parky should be doing our NSW Aussie Day address; and whether it's rehash of Clive James or an contemporary view we need to hear.
There's echoes of: our jingoism; Cronulla beach riots; the "F&^%$ off, we're full" racist stickers/shirts; and the chain store adoption of popular flag surfwear or undies.
There are also average boomers, families and the WW2 generations wondering what all the fuss is about...
All this alongside the debate about whether we should move the day away from a commemoration of the European invasion of the great southland and the beginning of the destruction of precious indigenous culture which despite our 'sorry' we are yet to truly deal with....
Anyhow, heavy stuff ahead of a day we celebrate and appreciate all things Aussie!! I used to enjoy 'Survival Day' concerts at La Perouse [koori revenge making us sit in 36 degrees on a treeless oval listening to great music] ... I used to wonder how it felt for Yothu Yindi, Paul Kelly and Christine Anu to drive across town and include a Darling Harbour appearance in their day? I felt especially motivated having chosen the 'Survival March' in 1988 and sat in the Park listening to many indigenous and anglo speakers lay out a vision for what could be and is still possible...
Anyhow, reflective 'toss' or otherwise I have penned a poem for the day [part procrastination from a household reno and part response to the radio chat, the boardies and the flag adorned cars everywhere]!! It might be a little familiar... and comes ahead of my obligatory youtube song of choice for this year...

My Country
The love of field and pruning
Of green tree shaded lanes
Of pommie woods and gardens
Is the backpackers domain
Putting up with grey-blue distance
Brown streams and that low sky
Is nice to sometimes visit
But we could pass it by

I love a sunburnt country
Across the great western plains
Of bushwalkers mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains
I love our far horizons
I love the Bar Beach sea
The beauty and the terror
The wide brown land for me

A stark white ring-barked forest
The loggers lop in tune
The sapphire misted mountains
The midday sun breaks through
Annoying spikey shrubs
Lantana and pesky weeds
A bunch of 40 dollar natives
A protea is all you need

Core of our soul, our country
The levelling blue sky
One minute cattle are dying
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can dance again
That sound on tin roofs clapping
The steady soaking rain

Core of their soul, their country
Land of the Rainbow snake
For flood and fire and famine
The dreaming stories make
Sand through the hand is poured
Lingiari was his name
The greenness will return
When they the land can claim

An opal hearted country
A willful, lavish land
We celebrate Australia
With coasters and board shorts
The flag we hold in hand
Brawls, beer and Hot 100
Disrupt our reflective or family time
We revel in the ANZAC
And sadly 'turn the boats around'

Rob Hanks [adapted from the poem by Dorothea Mackellar]

And the lyrics for 'My Country' Midnight Oil can be explored here
If I wasn't there this night I was at one just like it and can still recall that feeling!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Stuff White People Like

I've blogged about this website before but holidays means time to read again the very funny spin on consumer culture so check it out here

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

'Fade You Out' Edens March

Keep up to date with the latest news on 'Edens March' and guitarist Lachlan Dolbel here
And enjoy the clip filmed in the old deserted Wangi Wangi Power Station on Lake Macquarie!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Family Stick Figure Stickers

Following the frangipani fad the latest stickers on the rear windscreens of cars in this part of the world are the family of stick figures. You can choose different characters pursuing their hobbies and interests and build up the family set by ordering from various websites and now the local newsagent. What's it about?
I actually like the artistic style, the fact there are choices/variety and they don't look too bad except now I've identified it as a trend I can't possibly participate...
So, my theory is they are like social media and Christmas lights in the way they communicate information about us into the community we're part of without us having to say anything or go out of our comfort zone to speak to or connect with others. Are they a substitute in the era where many no longer really know their neighbours... are we personifying a consumer item in the family motor vehicle, are we emphasising difference? Hmmnn I will have to ask a few people at the local newsagent as they browse the poster. I wonder how long it will last?
Of course read a little more on the 'interweb thingy' and you'll read about:
- an attempt at individuality ending up being another fad
- fears about people 'knowing stuff about you' [you can get names etc]
- others saying 'live and let live'
- requests for the 'Daddy ran away with another woman' sticker, the goth or the kids with a red circle and line thru it
- And then there's the anti-version....

Monday, January 17, 2011

'The Green Hornet' Movie

That was quick... woo hoo... I hope it's worth the wait as Seth Rogan was trimmed down and talking up this film more than 12 months ago!! Check out the Teaser and Trailers here at the Oz website. Hollywood loves redemption story and this one looks entertaining in an escapist Cameron Diaz kind of way!!

Sadly it was rubbish!! A bit of escapist fun but a great example of how they musn't know how it's going to shape up as they're making it e.g. they wouldn't have been sure of the warmth and humour of 'Ironman' as they made it. On the other hand my mantra has always been 'good scripts make good films' and this is true even in the most action oriented or comedy filled examples... here 'The Green Hornet' also falls short and Seth Rogan is stilted and clunky in his delivery... 2 out of 5!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Little Bit of a Break

Tempted though I am to blog about: the plight of aussie cricket; the QLD and beyond floods etc [and aren't the images of volunteers helping in the clean up amazing] I am on holidays and finally feel a bit relaxed.... so I won't be here much until February!! See ya!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Top Ten 2010

I already blogged about some of these things but it seems timely to revisit...

My Top Ten Movie of 2010 [I'll be seeing 'The Kings Speech' in 2011]
These are films I enjoyed [for many reasons]

1. Toy Story 3
2. Kick A$%
3. Harry Potter
4. Scott Pilgrim vs the World
5. Ironman 2
6. RED
7. The Edge of Darkness
8. Get Him to the Greek
9. The Social Network
10. Fair Game

Friday, January 07, 2011

NCYC Bible Study #04

START WITH ‘Countdown 24’ 5 min video clip
‘Fireflies’ Owl City here
‘Continental Soup adv’ just to break things up here

BIBLE Factoid
Talk #01 SALT and LIGHT
What strikes you about this imagery…?
- bringing out the God colours and flavours
- salt as preservative and flavour
- the building blocks of ‘community’
- missio dei, engaging in God’s mission in the world
- living out those God values of K of G mustard bush, yeast, near….
e.g. ‘As It Is in Heaven’ Movie Show precis here
- community, transformation, culturemaking
- choice to criticize, copy, consume, create… xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

e.g. ‘The Blindside Interviews’ here
- ‘you’re changing that boys life, no he’s changing mine’

LIVE MUSIC 'Caught in the Crowd' Kate Miller Heidke [performed by our Katie]

THEN ‘Woman at the Well’ clip Who is this woman? [All of us] [ran out of time]
Like the action of giving people voice in the movie JC builds a world differently…

“Cadbury Scientist TV advert” some people take their culturemaking very seriously… here
RESPONSE OPPORTUNITY Toilet Roll Response Video
[check the newsflash on Facebook courtesy Wes Champion!!]
Toilet Roll characters construction
‘Life Uncommon’ Jewel explain it being played on ABC radio on rotation around 9/11 updates
‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ U2

OK there you have it, with some stories necessarily just in dot points BUT I do hope to produce a four session booklet early this year for others to use with groups... drop me a line for more details!!

NCYC Bible Study #03

START WITH ‘Countdown Restricted area’ 5 min video clip
"Revolution" John Butler
‘If I ruled the World….” Clip
then punters could stand on a Milk crate at the mic and share their answer
Murray’s NCYC Report back…. Nominate new person!!
Hearing how Murray the Red Wiggle Doll enjoyed the day
FILM CLIP Free Hugs’ clip/Sick Puppies here

TALK #01 Juan Mann FREE HUGS story explained
- Juan’s back story
- first day at Pitt St Mall
- first LADY whose daughter and dog had died 12 months ago and just that day respectively
- my FB convo ‘just because you’re a person of faith…..’
-‘missio dei’ engaging in God’s activity in the world
'Free Hugs' as an example of surprising missional/community activity making a difference
An example of one thing you could do.... to inspire other ideas...

Intro ‘Free Hugs’ Flash Mob [for main worship time]
- FREE, risky, open to abuse
- think safety - offer not demand
- when? And how?
- transmitting out God to others…
BIBLE READING Matthew 7: 7-12
Bible Factoid
CLIP ‘Ask Seek Knock’ Erwin McManus here

TALK #02
- wrestle between BIBLE, theme and YOU
- YOU’re being thrown a lot of stuff/response…
- I’m focusing on ‘transmit out’ BUT exploring it as a faith response
not just a good thing to do…
- Q and A, ME and Chaplains happy to talk…
‘GOOD WILL HUNTING’ Not just knowledge BUT experience… here
How would some of those who met Jesus handle our dilemmas and experiences?????
- Hear the story on the back of the card...
- I wonder…. What happened to them…
FINAL SONG IF TIME ALLOWS… “These Days” Powderfinger here

Thursday, January 06, 2011

NCYC Bible Study #02

Kick Off each day included a different 5 minute 'Countdown' video
to allow stragglers to arrive...
Opening Song CLIP
OPENING SONG CLIP "Plans" Birds of Tokyo
READING Matt 6: 5-13 [2] VOICES

Voice ONE:
5When you pray, don't be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
Voice TWO:
6When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. 7When you pray, don't talk on and on as people do who don't know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8Don't be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. 9You should pray like this:
Voice ONE:
Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name.
Voice TWO:
Our parent, creator, who loves us unconditionally and invites us into relationship, help us live out your values every day
Voice ONE:
10Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth
will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven.

Voice TWO:
We need to be counter cultural subversive agents of change ‘turning it up’ as we live differently… We can be like yeast, salt and light in the world
Voice ONE:
11Give us our food for today. 12Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. 13Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.
Voice TWO:
We should share our food with those who have none Forgive our speaking and acting or our lack of speaking and acting Keep us real, in the world, making choices for compassion and grace, Not self seeking, measuring by the exterior or superficial things.

‘Lord’s Prayer Voices’ CLIP
Bible Factoid - GREGOR taking on a character and sharing 1st person reflections
on what they heard

TALK #01
- could there be an area of ‘faith’ with more questions…
- will God hear, how does God answer..
we’re told, it might be yes, no or wait [nice avoidance…]

BUT, there are lots of ways to pray… apparently…

COLLECTED CLIPS…. Please don’t be offended…
Meet the Parents/Talledega Nights/Bruce Almighty [prayers]

TALK #02
In VERSE 5, don’t be like the show offs,
they already have their [reward] misthis earned thru showing off…
compensation or payment
BUT in v6 it’s apodidimi or GIFT
and in 1 Thessalonians we’re urged to pray continually [in the greek]
it’s like a little raspy cough, so as natural as clearing your throat…
or is it? LORDS PRAYER…. Words on screen what do you notice? [responses….]
Intro and play clip ‘Shadowlands’ CLIP CS Lewis and prayer [from 9:14 to end]
About US being changed…
Intro MARY FROM ‘SAVED’ edited from the film [swearing at the church spire]
God hears our struggles, complaints & anger… SO PRAYER CAN BE VARIED
e.g. 1 word, walking, music, tealight candles, drawing


The Prayer’ Rhema Marvanne CLIP [scrapped for time] here


TWO CLOSING ALTERNATIVES.... chose A. but also talked about B.
A. ‘WATCH OVER ME’ Bernard Fanning which doesn't seem to be on youtube anymore
Writing his prayer after watching JP2 Funeral

Or B. U2 360 Auckland

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

NCYC Bible Study 29 Dec- 4 Jan 2011 SURFING in the Annand Theatre

DAY ONE: How We Tune Into God Beatitudes Matt 5: 1-12
Pre session Si Smith's 'Beatitudes' video looped [from Proost UK]
Then 5 min Countdown Video

Opening Song Clip 'Burn Your Name' Powderfinger found here
Welcome and Introductions
What we're doing this week...
Explain the response/Q&A box/Murray the Red Wiggle etc

Talk #01 'This is am amazing book........'
- Describing scripture as unique, inspired, to an audience,
into and out of a culture so needing 'interpretation'
CLIP from BBC Show 'Rev.' when the evangelicals take over and the Rev argues
'faith needs to encounter doubt...' and about not barring anyone from the church

- Talked about 'thin places' where God's activity in the world is 'touchable'
- Talked about 'getting in tune with God'
- we're asked to 'Turn It Up'... turn up what?

CLIP 'Reality Bites' 'turn that up please Sir, you won't be sorry!' here

- Talked about how we might understand God and try to connect our story to God's story

Brief intro to NOOMA 'Rythm'
CLIP 'Rythm' about getting into tune.... download it here
+5 min discussion with neighbours
Bible Reading Matt 5: 1-12 [2 voices] MILK CRATES….

CLIP ‘Monty Python Sermon on the Mount’ edit version of this

'Blessed are the cheesemakers...

Bible Factoid #01 a character from the time
CLIP U2 ‘Wave of Sorrow’ Union Chapel on a phone

- Not a wall poster verse, but a vision of something real and different…
- ‘Beatitudes Plan Be Intro’ clip [scrapped for time]

TALK #02 The ‘Beatitudes Plan Be’ There’s a vision of a world where all are equal…
- not platitudes but a pic of hoped for future
- JC location re those on the edges
- the K of G thru joining God’s activity in the world

Group Graffiti Wall
Modern beatitudes/anti-beatitudes
Crayons and newsprint on newsprint…..
Play background clips lower volume
“Something in the Water” Brooke Fraser
“I Found God” The Fray
“Anthem” TIDDAS

Sending Out comment

Saturday, January 01, 2011

NCYC 2011 on the Gold Coast Dec 29 - Jan 4

Our BS theme pic for the day!!

Later I'll blog about what my role has been but here's the 'prayer' our Bible Study Group contributed a line each to... it's a work in progress with possible changes from 'I' to 'we' a few everyday words and some different imaging of who God is to us relationally. But as I explianed to the group it could be our group prayer despite each only writing a line because even parts we might no agree with are there to 'bump up against and get us thinking' and allow us to express a belonging to a community on the journey!! Well done 'surfers' in Annand Theatre!!

‘Turn It Up’ NCYC ‘Surfing’ Bible Study Prayer 31st January 2010

God I pray
Your will be done in my life and through my life
Help me live your word and be passionate in doing so
I pray God will inspire me everyday in the things that I do
Help me find who I am to give me hope and visions
‘Be Thou our vision’
Love, all you need is love
God please help me maintain my faith and hope
God are you really there? How often I see/hear/feel you is very rare
Save me from myself please, save me from myself
Lord Give me thought and wisdom that I may join you where I belong
Light our path when it is dark “would you walk with me alone into the dark?”
Remind us you are always with us even as we lose our sight
Please let the sun shine bright and let all those living in darkness smile
May your light shine bringing light and hope for all
Lord, please help us to be patient in life, work, choices.
Love and prayer
Protect me and love me
Father please help me maintain the friends that I have
Lord give us grace and help us seek your face
Give us small signs of hope to keep us going
May we learn of God’s love for us and may it change the way we live
I pray that each and everyone grows closer to God in their own time and own way
In a way that allows them to grow in their faith

We thank you Lord, for the music, conversation and discussion that
helps us praise you and bring together those in community
Thankyou for friends and the community they bring with them
Lord , we thank you for all walks of life
Thankyou for the food we eat and the clothes we’re in
We pray for a good, peaceful and happy 2011 and a good end to 2010
Help us to make 2011 as good a year as 2010 was
Help us love more each day Lord we pray that each and everyone will experience NCYC Thankyou God for being here at the Gold Coast and for all the people we have met
That we turn it up!
In our church and NCYC
Thanks God for NCYC
Thankyou for everything you’ve done for us and all the opportunities we have
Thankyou for walking with us as I cannot do this alone
Thankyou for your forgiveness and unconditional love
Thankyou for those who bring us fun, entertainment and companionship
Be with those who have lost loved ones
Lord helps us to do justice in your world
Lord I pray for the safety of my family and friends
Blessed are the foster and orphaned children
I pray for all sick and homeless people throughout Australia and the world
For poverty
Let there be love across all barriers
We pray that we can grow as a community of faith, influencing and growing with each other. Amen.