“Gossip Girl” Pushing the Limits

Posted on: 07/31/08 2:25 PM | by Jonathan McKee

If you’ve seen even a few minutes of the TV show Gossip Girl, you probably wouldn’t let your teenagers watch it. (Heck, if you knew what the “textspeak” slang in the ad to the right meant… you wouldn’t let your kids watch it.)

Today’s Reuters article,about the hit teenage show (“Sex and the City” for teens? Critics slam “Gossip Girl”) summarizes it well.

“Their wardrobes are full of designer clothes, they drink cocktails at New York City’s coolest bars, dabble in drugs, have sex in places like the back of a limousine — all while still in high school.”

Now even some of the actors are verbalizing their surprise about the racy content.

Blake Lively, 20, who plays character Serena van der Woodsen, says even she is surprised by plot lines of the show. “Everybody is dating everyone and sleeping with everyone and there’s lots of scandalous stuff happening in the Upper East Side,” she told a news conference. “Even I am shocked; I’m expecting my sister, that I don’t have, to be my father.”

And where are the parents of the literally millions of kids that watch this show?

I Don’t Understand the Lyrics

Posted on: 07/29/08 8:19 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I don’t know about you, but sometimes people talk to me about raunchy lyrics… and to be honest, I can’t understand what the lyrics are saying in the first place.

With that in mind- check out this hilarious YouTube video (clean, but a little edgy). Give it at least 45 to 50 seconds…but I found the whole thing funny. (Thanks to Mikey for sending this to me.)


(click here if you’re receiving this via email)

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How Skinny Do They Have to Be?

Posted on: 07/28/08 7:53 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Have you ever wonder how men have pulled it off? How is it that we have created a fashion style where guys can wear big, loose, baggy clothes, but girls need to wear tight, or revealing clothes?

Our young girls are buying into the unrealistic expectations of what they are “supposed” to look like.”

I was shopping in a store for my wife the other day (her birthday coming up), and asked what size shirt was up on display on the mannequin (it was the last one left). The sales clerk told me X-small (the size I was looking for). She told me she couuld get it for me, but she needed to take out all the pins holding the “excess” shirt back. She commented, “You should see how skinny these mannequins are that corporate sends us. All the X-small clothes fall right off them. We need to pin everything back to make it look how it would actually look on an X-small girl.”

I came home and saw this add from another company.

Super Skinny? Maybe we should just call it “Bulimic Jeans.”

How skinny are we trying to make our kids?

I remember last December reading an article about the pressure to look perfect driving girls to destructive behavior. Here’s a glimpse:

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is partnering with the entertainment industry to address this issue by giving girls a reality check educating them about what images are real versus Hollywood magic. This global program is especially relevant as girls today are measuring themselves against impossible beauty ideals… The new campaign was developed to help girls realize what they see in movies and magazines represents an unrealistic standard of beauty, not an everyday achievable look.


50 Cent’s “Good Name”

Posted on: 07/24/08 9:06 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Sorry… I just find this really funny.

50 Cent is mad at Taco Bell for “diluting the value of his good name.” LOL. (Apologies… I had to pick myself up off the floor for that one.)  Bottom line: he’s suing Taco Bell. (It’s the American way!)

Rueters reports:

The lawsuit accuses the chain of disseminating a letter, addressed to 50 Cent, that encourages the rapper to change his name to “79 Cent,” “89 Cent” or “99 Cent.”

The letter was designed to promote the company’s “79-89-99 Cent Why Pay More” campaign, while avoiding the multimillion-dollar fee the rapper might have charged to use his name, the lawsuit said.

Rob Poetsch, a spokesman for Taco Bell Corp, said, “We made a good faith, charitable offer to 50 Cent to change his name to either 79, 89, or 99 Cent for one day by rapping his order at a Taco Bell, and we would have been very pleased to make the $10,000 donation to the charity of his choice.”

Click here for the entire article.

Sorry… I’m unable to write more at the moment. I’m still laughing about “diluting the value of his good name.”

David’s Car Wreck Yesterday

Posted on: 07/23/08 9:03 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Many of you who are loyal THE SOURCE users are getting to know our writer and speaker David R. Smith. David develops and manages much of our content you see at THE SOURCE, and most weeks he writes our Youth Culture Window article that appears in the big magnifying glass on our front page.

Yesterday David got into a car accident- he’s fine- the accident wasn’t really that bad. But it was amazing to hear how God revealed Himself through it. Here’s the email he sent out to his friends and prayer supporters yesterday:

I told you I would email you when “big things” happen in the life of the Smith family. I think today qualifies!

It started when Jenn (wife) asked Josiah (2 year old son) and me to go grocery shopping. He likes to help…mainly because he gets a free cookie while Daddy does all the work! But on this day, we never made it to the grocery store.

A woman swerved into our lane and spiked the brakes at an intersection because she missed her turn, and we rammed straight into her. We hit her so hard, my glasses literally flew off of my face and landed in the passenger floorboard. I was wearing my seatbelt and so the only “injury” I sustained was a slightly aching arm. Josiah was in his car seat in the back, but was given a pretty solid snap at impact. He began to cry immediately (from the pain or the shock or both…I don’t know). I popped out of the car, grabbed him and went running to the car stalled ahead of us in the intersection.

Leah and her 7 year old son Nathan were both OK. Now I could further inspect Josiah. No bruises, no cuts. But he did want to lean his head on my shoulder and cry a bit. That was fine with me.

Problem one, safety, taken care of.

But we still have to call the police to file a report. Leah did not have a cell phone, and mine had ran out of battery. So, God sent John to us. He pulled up, rolled down his window, and asked if we needed help. I said, “We sure could use a cell phone.” While the light was red, he jumped out of his truck, ran it over to me, and then scurried back through the lanes of traffic to his truck. He then pulled into the median and let Josiah and Nathan sit in his truck with the AC going. (It had to be 95 degrees today!!) Leah used his cell phone to call her husband, and I used it to call Jenn…and a bodyguard! J After all, it was HER car I wrecked!

John told me that he was en route to lunch with his pastor. Here’s this kid (maybe 22 years old, maybe!) on his way to get help with his needs, when he stopped to meet so many of ours. After the cops showed up, and we moved my car out of the road and into the median, the boys jumped into my car to stay cool, and John left.

Don’t you love it when the church is the church!?!?

Problem two, call for help, taken care of.

So, Jenn gets there and takes Josiah with her. I stay with the car, not knowing who to send it to for repairs…actually, not even knowing if it’s repairable! Gary, the tow truck guy, could see I was a bit shaken, and he assured me he would put me in contact with his boss (a mechanic), and I would be “taken care of.” Well, no offense to any mechanics reading this, but sometimes they have a bit of a reputation….  

So, 2 hours and 1 torrential downpour later, I handed Gary’s boss, Mr. Lee my business card. He said, “Oh you’re a youth pastor?” I answered, “Sort of.” J He then proceeded to tell me that he was the lead deacon at the Korean Presbyterian church in Tampa. This guy owns two collision centers, it’s raining, people are literally waiting in the lobby, and he says to me, “Grab your things; I will give you a ride to your house.” I told him I lived all the way over by the university, to which he answered, “No problem.” The guy WOULD NOT take no for an answer.

So, during our ride, we talked about how he had become a Christian, moved to America, and started his business. He assured me he would take great care of my car…and my finances, too!

Don’t you love it when the church is the church!?!?!

Problem three, money/repairs/car rentals, (mostly) taken care of.

OK, so it’s now 1:00am. The insurance company has been called, and a new car has been rented. I’ve prayed with my family more today than I ever have. (Which totally freaks Jo out…he usually only prays when it’s time to eat. J So every time we go to pray, he’s looking around for food! J) When I wasn’t on the phone with insurance companies, or car rental agencies, I was just thanking God for His abundant love for my family. I’ve now had a few hours to reflect on the day, and I’ve entered this day into the journal that I am keeping for Josiah. In it, I told Josiah that it wasn’t seatbelts or airbags or “crumple design technology” that kept us safe today; it was the mighty and loving hand of God.  

I am sending this to each of you because it’s part of our lives, and you said you wanted to be kept informed. We both know that I cannot thank you enough for your support of our ministry, and your prayers for my family. I am certain an emailed thank you falls short of my appreciation in the Lord for you, but I send it nevertheless. Thank you.

Keep David in prayer. He’s waiting on the insurance to find out if his car is totalled… you know how that goes.

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The Dark Knight

Posted on: 07/21/08 2:18 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… I took the family to see the new Batman film, The Dark Knight (the first Batman film to not have the word “Batman” in the title), this weekend… and wow! Best summer film so far, period.

Let me be the first to warn you… NOT a kids’ film. The film was totally clean, but it was violent, eerie, and… well… “dark” (hence the title).

Heath Ledger’s Joker was amazing. The rumors are true… he really was that good. The Oscar buzz is no hype. I really hope they award him (or… his family… his memory) in some way.

As a fan of the 1989 Tim Burton Batman with Jack Nicholson as Joker, I went into this film skeptical that Ledger’s Joker was going to be that much better. I was blown away. I won’t talk about it here, because in our review of the film, I comment about this and Todd verbalizes my feelings to a tee.

IMDB (The Internet Movie Database) provides Michael Caine’s two cents about the role:

It’s Sir Michael Caine‘s opinion that Heath Ledger beat the odds and topped Jack Nicholsons Joker from Batman (1989): “Jack was like a clown figure, benign but wicked, maybe a killer old uncle. He could be funny and make you laugh. Heath’s gone in a completely different direction to Jack, he’s like a really scary psychopath. He’s a lovely guy and his Joker is going to be a hell of a revelation in this picture.” Caine bases this belief on a scene where the Joker pays a visit to Wayne Manor. He’d never met Ledger before, so when Ledger arrived and performed he gave Caine such a fright he forgot his lines.

IMDB also provided this tidbit:

When asked, “Why Heath Ledger as the Joker?” Christopher Nolan said, “Because he’s fearless.”

If you’re looking for a movie to see this summer, get a sitter for any kids under 12, pack the rest in the car and GO see this film!

You can read my entire review of the film here.

Hayden Panettiere

Posted on: 07/18/08 1:09 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Before she was “the cheerleader” on the hit show Heroes… before she was releasing music videos, I interviewed Hayden Panettiere and we had a conversation about celebrities as mentors- the way celebrities dress and behave themselves. At the time she told me that she’d like to stay away from being known as a “sex vixon,” instead being known as “classy.”

I think her new music video just exited “classy” and took the “sex vixon” onramp. (what the heck was the whole “pulling up her jeans” thing at :58 seconds??? Note the lyrics shortly after.)

 Here’s a peice of my October 19, 2004 conversation with Hayden.

JONATHAN: …Now tell me something. As you see other teen actors or musicians… Hillary Duff, the Olsen twins, Lindsey Lohan … Some of these girls are turning 18. There is an image that goes along with them; we’ve seen some of the same trends. What makes you different from these people?

HAYDEN: I think that they’ve got to do their own thing and I got to do mine. I want to be Hayden. I don’t want to be them. I don’t want people to think that I look like them, that I act like them, or that I dress like them. I am me and they’re them. I want to be separate. I have met them and they have always been nothing but sweet to me and I adore them … but I want to be myself. I want to do things differently.

JONATHAN: That’s neat. Now, I study the trends that kids follow and one of the biggest influence on kid’s lives these days is the media. Kids are looking at teen magazines and seeing celebrities like the ones you mentioned: The Olsons, Lindsey, Hilary … to see what they are doing. We have noticed, that as these celebrities grow up, some of them often change from “Mickey Mouse Club” to “sex vixon” …

HAYDEN: I definitely want to stay away from that. I don’t think that I would ever be the type of person that would go to a premier with tight tiny, tiny mini skirt and like a bikini top.

JONATHAN: Let’s talk about dressing for premiers for a second. For example you’ve got Anne Hathaway (Princess Diaries I and II, Ella Enchanted) … when she showed up to the School of Rock premier, she’s got this see through top on. I mean she might as well not even wear a top. Now, my daughters are 7 and 9 and they loved her in her films. And I’m thankful that they never saw the pictures from that premiere. Where do you …

HAYDEN: Personally, I am too shy. I don’t think that I could ever do that. But I think I might, you know, wear like a little belly shirt once and a while or something like that. You know, if you have the stomach for it. I wouldn’t at my age.

JONATHAN: Some other actresses and musicians have shown up on the cover of Rolling Stone wearing very little or at movie premiers with dresses that ‘shock.’ Some are highly critical of this kind of thing, others defend it. I would think that there’s a line that exists somewhere of ‘what you do and don’t do.’ Where do you draw that line?

HAYDEN: I think everyone has the freedom to wear what they want and do what they want to do. But I think they should consider what everyone else will think. Rolling Stone can be a “sexy magazine.” Personally, I wouldn’t do anything like that. I do draw the line at certain things like, ‘that skirts getting a little too short’ or ‘that top’s getting a little too tiny …’


HAYDEN: … and the clothes get less and less and when you wear certain things … I don’t want to judge anyone—they can wear what they want to wear, but I’m going to wear more conservative clothes or something a little more classy.

JONATHAN: I guess the bottom line is this: As you get, older, more popular and get even more roles, and if you know that your poster is going to be on the walls of little 8 year old girls across the country … would that make you think? Is there a responsibility that comes with this? Are you now a mentor?

HAYDEN: Personally, I think so. But for me- dressing raunchy is just not who I am. I am a little scared to say that’s not who I am, because I definitely have a rebellious side along with my more conservative side, but I would never show that through the way I dress. I can be rebellious through other ways than ‘wearing less clothes.’ It doesn’t prove that I’m more rebellious just because I wear less clothes and feel the need to walk around like that.

JONATHAN: What do you want to be known for?

HAYDEN: I’d like to be known as classy.

JONATHAN: What do you NOT want to be known for?

HAYDEN: I don’t want to be known as a party animal, or dressing trashy or …

JONATHAN: You want to be remembered for your talents and abilities rather than, “Hey, she’s the one that got caught on video doing … whatever!”

HAYDEN: Absolutely.


Here’s my entire 2004 interview with her.

My timing is uncanny…

Posted on: 07/15/08 5:54 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… this is trippy.

For years I’ve used a short talk where I tell a modern day version of “The House on the Rock” story from Matthew chapter seven. I talk about two guys building a house off the coast of Florida, soon to be visited by a hurricane… and the aftereffects. This story was one of the talks I included in my new book 10-Minute Talks.

I wrote that story about two years ago, turning in the draft of this entire book to my editor about a year and a half ago. The book finally printed last month and I just received a shipment of copies fresh off the printer- so my people who pre-ordered the books priority mail will be seeing their copies in the next week.

So what’s so bizarre? I was just speaking on the New Jersey coast and we heard warning that the effects of Hurricane Bertha might move up there later this week. When I first heard this… I stopped dead in my tracks. “Hurricane who?!!”

Turn with me in your copies of 10-Minute Talks to page 164 (I’m sure you’ll be keeping it right next to your Bible). 🙂

Yeah… I wrote that two years ago. And people will be getting their copies in the next week!


Don’t worry… I’m not going to get weird on ya and try to start predicting catastrophic events now. I just think that was a pretty funny coincidence. The timing of this whole thing was uncanny!

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The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

Posted on: 07/14/08 6:56 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I always like to keep my eye on what teenagers are watching. And right now the show creating the most buzz is “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”

Yesterday I just saw a poster (with the image to the right) for the show all over the mall by my Virginia hotel. The timing can’t be better for this “Juno-esque” marketed program hitting the ABC Family channel. It’s launch was a raging success. Media-Life Magazine detailed its success:

ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” Tuesday 8 p.m. The series premiere averaged 2.8 million total viewers, making it the most-watched original series premiere in network history. It was also the highest-rated original series telecast in network history in households, adults 18-34, 18-49s and 12-34s.

Curious about the content of the show? Check out our own David R. Smith’s incitefull new Youth Culture Window article giving us a glimpse into the porthole of this “Secret Life…”

Snake-handling Pastor Arrested

Posted on: 07/13/08 12:05 PM | by Jonathan McKee

No wonder people think Christians are weird!

A “snake-handling” pastor in Kentucky was one of 10 people arrested in a crackdown on the venomous snake trade. CNN reports…

More than 100 snakes, many of them deadly, were confiscated in the undercover sting after Thursday’s arrests, said Col. Bob Milligan, director of law enforcement for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Most were taken from the Middlesboro home of Gregory James Coots, including 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, a western diamondback rattlesnake, two cobras and a puff adder.


Click here for the entire article.

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