Monday, November 30, 2009

Because Journalism Is Dead But Jesus Isn't: The "Side-hug" Smear

It started for me when a friend I work with posted this on Facebook:

The link was to a blog post a blog called "The Huffington Post", believed by many to be the most influential, if not the most influential, blog on the internet.

The post, reprinted here in its entirety, was written with a sneering tone that bugged me. Oh, did I tell you that The Huffington Post is a haven for bad reporting and liberals?

The post:
"Christian youth groups finally have an alternative to normal, aka "front," hugs. As we all know, face to face embraces run the horrific risk of a clothed crotch graze. The Christian Side-Hug (or the CSH, as the kids call it) rids us of sin, as the only below the belt contact will be some good old-fashioned hip on hip action.

To help the side-hug fad sweep the nation, let us present this hardcore rap song. Yup, side-hugging has hit the streets. The group has as many emcees as the Wu-Tang Clan and as much power as a barbershop quartet.

Look out for the ominous sirens blasting on the track. Clearly, these are gangsters on the run from the law - probably from side-hugging up a storm! One emcee (wearing his bandanna 2pac-style no less) admits to taking part in the forbidden front-hug. But don't worry, God. He's married.

At the end, they all simulate getting shot and dying. We can only hope there are side-hugs in heaven. "

Honestly, I couldn't make out all of the lyrics, so I googled the name of the video, and got this:

Entry after entry, page after page, of bloggers commenting on the video. And literally all of the entries for the first several pages were people ripping Christians and Christian music.

From "The Sexist":

The Sexist: Sex and Gender in the District
Beyond DC
The Christian Side-Hug: “Front Hugs Be Too Sinful”

Posted by Amanda Hess on Nov. 23, 2009, at 9:56 am

"Attention, Christian kids: If you like not having sex, not speaking the Lord’s name in vain, and not being gay, then you’ll love the newest trend in policing typical adolescent behaviors in the name of God. It’s called the The Christian Side-Hug, and it’s here to help the devout avoid the temptation of full frontal hugging. Don’t worry—it’s cool, because they made a “rap” song about it.

According to Stuff Christians Like, there’s no “exact scripture reference” banning normal hugging. But the Side-Hug does significantly lower the “risk of two crotches touching,” which has got to be in the Bible somewhere. Here’s how you do it:

Instead of face to face, you go side to side, putting your arm around the person and your hip against their’s. Still having a hard time mastering it? Pretend you’re taking a photo and you’re both looking at the camera together. The side hug, or A frame as it is also called, is safe for the whole family, friendly and above all holy.

The Christian Side-Hug strikes me as almost skeezily chaste—I’d much rather have a brief normal embrace with a stranger than a hip-tap from a person who I know sexualizes even the most mundane forms of human contact. But the Side-Hug itself is slightly less offensive than the medium being used to promote it: An appropriated version of “rap music” performed by a bunch of white youth pastors who think that mixing in some gang-ish hand signals, tying on a bandana, and securing some fake bling will bring the youth to God.

The Christian Side-Hug rap comes courtesy of the Encounter Generation Conference, an annual Christian youth gathering which hopes to “bring the power, authenticity, and relevance of Jesus Christ to their culture.” I’m afraid that this potent combination of absurd chastity and mock hip-hop will be more likely to bring the power of a school-yard beat-down to these kids’ faces."

Commenters on blogs like this had about as awful - to significantly worse - things to say. Most ripped Christians and Christianity and Jesus. Some called this "Christian rap."

It was early Thanksgiving Morning. But I was incensed, a little defensive. Christian music has saved my life. And, I think I can comment to some degree as a professional who works in a media industry: the music and the musicians are largely gifted people. The comments were so scathing...and the video itself was too...odd.

I put my headphones on and listened. It was then that I heard the audience laughing pretty much throughout the video.

I decided to commit a FLAGRANT ACT OF JOURNALISM.


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