Christotainment: Selling Jesus Through Popular Culture

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For more than two thousand years Christian expansion and proselytizing was couched in terms of “defending the faith.” Until recently in the United States, much of that defense came in the form of reactions against the “liberal” influences channeled through big-corporate media such as popular music, Hollywood movies, and network and cable television. But the election of Ronald Reagan as a Hollywood President introduced Christian America to the tools of advertising and multimedia appeals to children and youth to win new believers to God’s armies.

Christotainment examines how Christian fundamentalism has realigned its armies to combat threats against it by employing the forces it once considered its chief enemies: the entertainment media, including movies, television, music, cartoons, theme parks, video games, and books. Invited contributors discuss the critical theoretical frameworks of top-selling devices within Christian pop culture and the appeal to masses of American souls through the blessed marriage of corporatism and the quest for pleasure.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813344058
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 2/21/2009
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Shirley R. Steinberg is an associate professor at McGill University in Montreal and the director of the Paulo and Nita Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy. She is the founding editor of Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education, and her numerous books include Media Literacy (with Donaldo Macedo); the award-winning Encyclopedia of Contemporary Youth Culture (with Priya Parmar and Birgit Richard); and Kinderculture and The Miseducation of the West (with Joe L. Kincheloe).

The late Joe L. Kincheloe was the Canada Research Chair of Critical Pedagogy at McGill University in Montreal and the founder of the Paulo and Nita Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy. His books include Teachers as Researchers, City Kids, Kinderculture, and the Gustavus Myers Human Rights award–winning Measured Lies.

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Table of Contents

Preface - Joining Team Christ: On the Path to Christotainment Shirley R. Steinberg Steinberg, Shirley R.

I Selling a New and Improved Jesus

Christotainment and the Power of Political Fundamentalism Joe L. Kincheloe Kincheloe, Joe L. 1

II Christian Soldier Jesus

The Intolerant Savior and the Political Fundamentalist Media Empire Joe L. Kincheloe Kincheloe, Joe L. 23

III Onward Christian Drivers

Theocratic Nationalism and the Cultural Politics of "NASCAR Nation" Joshua I. Newman Newman, Joshua I. Michael D. Giardina Giardina, Michael D. 51

IV The Gospel According to Mel Gibson

Critical Reflections on The Passion of The Christ Rhonda Hammer Hammer, Rhonda Douglas Kellner Kellner, Douglas 83

V Convertoons?

Veggie Tales for Young Souls Michael Hoechsmann Hoechsmann, Michael 117

VI Screening Jesus

Hollywood and Christonormativity Shirley R. Steinberg Steinberg, Shirley R. 131

VII "The Battle for the Toy Box"

Christogimmicks and Christian Consumer Culture Christine M. Quail Quail, Christine M. 153

VIII Faith Talking Toys and Other Youth Purity Makers Lisa M. Trimble Trimble, Lisa M. 187

IX The Stillborn Twin

The Christian Lifestyle Beats with the Heart of Rock 'n' Roll Philip M. Anderson Anderson, Philip M. 207

X Crossover Christian Rock and the Music Industry

Tendencies, Discourses, and Limitations Silvia Giagnoni Giagnoni, Silvia 227

XI Christotainment in Punk Rock: Complexities and Contradictions Curry Stephenson Malott Malott, Curry Stephenson 247

Afterword: End Times In America

Religious Fundamentalism and the Crisis of Democracy Henry A. Giroux Giroux, Henry A. 269

About the Editors 283

About the Contributors 285

Index 289

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