Tag Archives: 2014

2014 in Review [Official WordPress Post]

Blah blah blah, something about the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys preparing a 2014 annual report for this blog. The point is that 2014 was a pretty big year for us, and we’ll be back in exactly one week to kick off an even better* one!

Click the pretty lights above to see!

*2015 may not in fact be a better year than 2014.

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2014’s Cultural Battleground – Gordon’s Account

EDITOR’S NOTE: We end this year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in.  Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2014 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.

christianmartyrsbannerThe rise of ISIS/ISIL/IS/”The Terrorist Organization Formerly Known as Prince” has driven a number of issues to the forefront of public discourse. “After 13 years of continual war, should the US embroil itself in yet another conflict?”, “Is lesser-evilism to be accepted in the form of the Assad regime?”, and perhaps most interestingly, “What should be the Christian response to the slaughter of score upon score of Iraqi Christians?”

It was Kat who actually outlined her take on the response many Christians in the West seemed to have, leading her to question if a kind of masochistic glee was being taken in bloodshed. In response, I argued that this absolutely is the case, and that the blood of the martyrs waters the weeds of self-pity.

deadsoldiersbannerOne of the more divisive stories of the year was the rescue of Sargent Bowe Bergdahl, who hadn’t even set foot in the US again before being lambasted as a traitor and a coward of the worst breed. I argue that, had Bergdahl died in captivity, the very same people who’ve shouted themselves hoarse with accusations would be sobbing and lamenting over his loss. Bergdahl’s sin, like so many American military men and women, is that he survived one of America’s wars, and, in returning, serves as a reminder of the true cost of conflict, sacrifice, and hubris.

donlemonbannerOne of the last posts of the year, I decided to include my tirade against CNN’s Don Lemon not because of what he is now, but what I think he might become. His general obliviousness and gutlessness make him a bad journalist, to be sure, but the streak of relentless pettiness he’s demonstrated (see the aftermath of his Cosby-rape comments or his Reza Aslan interview) make him downright dangerous. Lemon seems to have pattern of grasping for anything to cover his ass when he gets caught in a mistake, often leading him to rely on the worst abuses of his position to defend himself. In the coming year, I can only imagine that Lemon’s “sail-with-the-wind” ethics will make him one of the most negative forces in our culture. If he weren’t so corrosive, I might almost look forward to that.

christiansinpopmediabannerFor all the sins of Western Christianity (and they aren’t few), I truly believe that it has, as both a religion and culture, been ruthlessly strawmanned by its critics over the years. In this post, I attempted to draw up some of the worst (or at least, most popular) stereotypes of Christianity and explain just how wrong and unfair they are. I argue that the general laziness in the portrayals of Christians and Christianity is not only inaccurate, but gives the real issues a free pass. As this culture drifts further and further away from a common religious heritage, I think it’s  more important than ever to ensure that everybody gets a fair break.

surprisewitnessbannerSince most of my posts (okay, all of them) tend to focus on what I don’t like, I figured I’d end on what I do– and that came to us in the form of our new installment “Surprise Witness”. Here, we got to defend an aspect of culture which we think actually has some value, and although Evan and I only tested it out once this year, I’m hoping we can incorporate it a lot more in 2015. With it being so easy to paint things in strokes of only good and bad (and nobody’s more guilty of that than I), being able to glean something decent from our cultural refuse should be a good exercise for us all.


So what’s this all mean for us?

Looking back, it seems that we’re becoming more introspective as a culture. More and more, it seems that we are becoming actively involved in voicing our views and values, and turning criticism inwards on ourselves. How we deal with race, sexuality, power, faith, ethics- these are all rising to the forefront of our discourse. In spite of what some have argued, the Culture Wars are far from over. If anything, they’re just getting started and I, for one, am looking forward to that.

See you in the trenches. Have a good new year.

-Gordon

The Siege of Gaza

There’s a prevailing idea that the Middle East and its history is nothing but a quagmire of conflicts and wars too ancient and complicated for all but the most scholarly. This simply isn’t true, and 9 times out of 10 it’s just a flimsy excuse for one’s ignorance on the people and politics of civilization’s cradle. The truth is, the Middle East isn’t anymore complex than any other part of the world, and by the end of this post, I’m hoping to have proven that.

This is as simple as it gets, people.

Let’s talk about a little stretch of beach called Gaza.

A fifth of the size of Los Angeles, and with a population of 1.7 million, the Gaza Strip is the world’s largest open-air prison.

That’s right, a prison. We can call it a “territory” or a “reservation” or dress it up any number of ways- at the end of the day, a gigantic holding cell is all that it is.

Continue reading

2013 In Review

It’s been one long year readers, and I’m not gonna lie, probably the toughest in at least my life so far. In spite of (heck, because of) all the blood, sweat, and strings of profanity, I think we down at Culture War Reporters have really knocked it out of the park.

Let me break it down so that you may properly bask in our glory.

The Shame Day/Fame Day cycle and our midweek discussions were implemented late last year, so we’re only really seeing the full fruits of our labor as 2013 draws to a close. Along with Evan’s reviews of 2 Broke Girls (yes, that still pains me), our relentless salvos of biting-yet-undeniable truth have all helped us pass 100,000 views (and then some).

Our daily viewer average has also grown and is currently hovering at around what our all-time high was last year (that’s roughly 200), and speaking of all-time highs, we have utterly and wholly smashed our previous most-views-record with September 6th’s 3,081 hits. Of course I want us to continue our by-now-normal habit of vanquishing our old records and dragging them behind our chariots, but I’d also like to see us pass 15,000 for total views in a month (our current recording being about 13,000).

I also want to direct your tearful, nay, hysterical applause to Evan, who continues to outdo himself as an editor and Kat, who has really come in swinging.

And of course, audience, what end-of-the-year review would this be if it didn’t include a saccharine bow to you guys for making it all happen? You guys keep coming back, we’ll keep pumping it out. See you in 2014.

-Gordon

I was pretty excited when a childhood friend (Chris, that means you) contacted me this summer to let me know that his cousin was looking for a female writer to contribute to his blog. He thought I might be a good fit and, lucky for me, Evan and Gordon agreed. Joining the guys on CWR has really been a great time. It’s been a good discipline for me to write so regularly, plus it’s fun to get to write about the things that really interest me. Even though I’ve only been at CWR for about 6 months, it’s been exciting to see how our readership has increased even within that time.

Whenever someone asks me what would be the end goal of pursuing a degree in English I usually end up telling them, “pretty much what I’m already doing on the blog right now.” So you should probably go tell all your friends about this blog so that we can all just live the dream and write for a living. Or at least so that we can get their feedback on our posts, because we LOVE hearing back from you.

-Kat

Up above we have Gordon doing some number crunching and Kat sharing what her experience has been like so far, and I’m going to try as hard as I can not to overlap too much with their year-end blurbs.

2013 has definitely been a year of expansion for CWR. We wrote roughly twice as many posts this year and brought on a new writer. That’s all well and good, but in the immortal words of Tony Stark to Steve Rogers in Issue #1 of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers when discussing their titular group:

We have to get bigger

But not just bigger, like the expansion of their roster to 18 heroes, but also better, like adding Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu, to the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. My dream is for Culture War Reporters to one day be a place where you can consistently drop in to read what others think about today’s culture, from comic books (of course) to race issues to television to music, but in such a way that it forces you to think about it as well.

We’ve got a long ways to go, that’s clear, but just know that we’re always aiming to improve ourselves and the site as a whole. This is our third year on the internet, and as far as I’m concerned our fourth can only be better. Huge thanks to all our readers who’ve helped us get where we are today.

And yes, I’m going to finally be getting to writing those posts I promised.

-Evan

Below we have something about some sort of WordPress.com stats helper monkeys preparing a 2013 annual report for this blog:

Click the image above to gaze upon statistics for a site we hope you frequent regularly.

Boycott Russia

2014 will see the XXII Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia. Or at least, such is the current proposal of the Russian state and the Olympic committee. Personally, I’d like to keep that from happening.

Here’s why:

Russia isn’t exactly a beacon of freedom and human rights today (or since 1929, for that matter). In spite of having the basic decency to offer former-NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden something of a safe haven, the modern Russian Federation has more than a few dents in its reputation.

And its cars…

While massive corruption has been an issue for a long time, and while Russia is no more free from the ugly face of white supremacism than any of its fellow European nations, a few recent events stand out as especially damning. Continue reading