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Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture Paperback – Poster Calendar, February 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Calvin College professor Romanowski writes for the millions of "Christians who drink beer" those who, in tension with evangelical mores, partake of the fruits of popular culture, from Titanic to Bruce Springsteen to ER. His scope is ambitious, including a theologically informed chapter on the nature of culture itself, to treatment of sex, violence and materialism, to a thoughtful exposition of the story structure of the typical Hollywood film. Though he wants to reach a broad audience, readers new to the subject may be put off by Romanowski's sometimes ponderous and often didactic prose, and they will not be helped to explore the subject further by his reliance on numerous unnamed "scholars" and "theorists" who are quoted without accompanying footnotes or bibliography. As the phrase "Christians who drink beer" illustrates, the book is also marred by its tendency to use the word "Christian" to refer to a particular subset of North American Christianity. The focus on big-grossing films and acts sometimes limits Romanowski's obviously fertile mind: a concluding appendix on the movie Titanic has something of the flavor of a college term paper. Still, this book will be an encouragement to evangelicals looking for an alternative to moralistic criticism of popular culture.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Romanowski (communications, Calvin Coll.; Pop Culture Wars) here helps the reader evaluate popular culture from a Christian perspective. He points out that all elements of pop culture reflect the beliefs and assumptions of current society and argues that it is important to consider the products of contemporary culture objectively and rationally, neither mindlessly rejecting nor na?vely accepting them. The book includes a thought-provoking examination of the Hollywood mythology that still permeates our culture and the cumulative effect of unrealistic approaches to complex problems of life. Nonetheless, pop culture can often provide a useful starting point for dialog. Romanowski feels that good popular art, effectively examined, is often more useful for Christian discussion than much self-consciously religious material. In support of his argument, he provides a good list of questions to apply to such analysis. A good book of its type; for public libraries. C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, IN
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The writing tone is conversational and engaging, and I found each chapter a pretty concise and easy read. He provides summary notes and interaction questions at the end of each chapter, which make it an excellent book for youth groups or small groups to utilize. Honestly, I think everyone could stand to read and think about what he talks about in the book. Many major films, classics now, are talked about, and a few are engaged at a little more in depth level (like Titanic and Pretty Woman), and the observations and implications of what they say about life and happiness and gender roles, etc., is as fascinating as it is chilling - with implications which I think modern women's rights, LGBT, and even other liberal groups would find appalling if they actually recognized it.
If you like actually thinking about film and what it says to us and what it says about us, you'll love this book. If you love the movies, I think you'll be fascinated by this book. And if you find yourself complaining about Hollywood or the 'horribleness' of movies these days, read this and be challenged on where you truly need to engage and critique popular entertainment.
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