Denison Forum on Truth and Culture logo

Cultural Commentary

Why did JCPenney video go viral?

We wanted to find out if it’s better to give or receive, so we asked a few shoppers to surprise complete strangers with a gift. See what happens when these unsuspecting customers find out they #JustGotJingled. (Credit: JCPenney via Youtube)James Cash Penney went into the retail business as a young man and eventually established a chain of stores bearing his name.  He built 1,400 JCPenney stores before the stock market crash of 1929 left him in financial ruin.  Penney checked himself into a hospital, where he heard the hymn "God Will Take Care of You" being sung in the hospital's chapel and became a born-again Christian.  For the rest of his life, he used his influence to serve Christ by serving others.

Fast forward to November 2011, when JCPenney replaced longtime CEO Mike Ullman with Apple executive Ron Johnson.  Johnson immediately fired many of the company's leaders and tried to promote sweeping culture change for the organization, including a series of ads endorsing homosexuality.  Company stock nosedived.  Johnson was fired after less than two years, and Ullman was asked to step back in.

Hits: 7310

Read more: Why did JCPenney video go viral?

New Yorkers are mad at Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift poses for the camera after her performance, singing her new song Out of the Woods from her debut pop album 1989, on Good Morning America in Times Square, New York City, October 30, 2014 (Credit: Taylor Swift via Instagram)Taylor Swift is one of the most popular singers of our day—with everyone but some New Yorkers, as it turns out.  She has recently been named Global Welcome Ambassador for New York City, and released a new single, "Welcome to New York."  But critics complain that the song "celebrates as generic, flat, and lifeless a New York as has ever existed in pop culture."  Others call her a "whitebread out-of-towner" since she only recently moved to the city.

If we're going to connect with our culture, it's important that we listen to our culture.  No one knows this better than Dave Runyon, executive director of an amazing initiative in Denver called CityUnite.  I met Dave when we were together in New York City last October for Movement Day, and spoke recently with him about his work.

Hits: 1537

Read more: New Yorkers are mad at Taylor Swift

Who is the 'most fascinating person of 2014'?

Amal Clooney speaks to the media inside a central Athens hotel, along with Geoffrey Robertson, head of Doughty Street Chambers, and David Hill , head of the International Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, in advance of her meeting with Greek Culture Minister Kostas Tassoulas to discuss plans to return of the Parthenon Marbles, October 13, 2014 (Credit: Reuters/Yorgos Karahalis)A year ago, Amal Alamuddin was on no one's watch list to be Barbara Walters' "most fascinating person."  Though she is fluent in Arabic, French and English, graduated from Oxford with honors, received a law degree from New York University, and became a respected human rights lawyer in London, she generated few headlines.  Then she met George Clooney during a charity dinner in Italy.  The couple was married last September.  Now she tops the list of "most fascinating" people for the year.

What we think of someone may not reflect who they truly are.  Walmart shoppers saw Tim Tebow as a retired football player before he began paying off their layaway tabs last week on behalf of Good Morning America.  Marcus Mariota wasn't even a candidate for the Heisman trophy last year.  This year he won the award as college football's top player, receiving the second-highest percentage of votes in history.  The world saw Steve Jobs as an unemployed computer geek when he was building computers in his parents' garage.  Now one of those computers has sold for $365,000 at auction.

Hits: 827

Read more: Who is the 'most fascinating person of 2014'?

Americans want to keep Christ in Christmas

A billboard from the Long Beach Knights of Columbus Council with Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the classic manger scene with encouragement to Keep Christ in Christmas, Long Beach, New Jersey, December 20, 2005 (Credit:  Jackie via Flickr)I was in a restaurant the other day when the waiter brought my check with the cheery wish, "Happy holidays!"  Retailers and media alike speak of this as the "holiday season."  Santa Claus and his reindeer take turns in store windows alongside Christmas trees, toys, and tinsel.  An observer from Mars could be forgiven for wondering why we call this season "Christ"mas.

Here's some good news: 79 percent of Americans believe "Christmas should be more about Jesus."  Only 18 percent disagree.  When asked if "Christmas activities should include a visit to a church service," 63 percent agree.  Further, 70 percent of Americans say Christmas would be better with a Christian focus.

Hits: 823

Read more: Americans want to keep Christ in Christmas

Movie exec calls Angelina Jolie a 'spoiled brat'

Angelina Jolie attends the UK Premiere of her new movie Unbroken, her directorial debut, at Odeon Leicester Square, London, England, November 25, 2014 (Credit: Flynet)Hollywood is in the news today after nominations for the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced this week.  Ridley Scott's much-anticipated Exodus: Gods and Kings opens today as well. (My wife and I saw the movie last night, and I wrote a review for our website.)  But some stars are in the news for less glamorous reasons.

Computer hackers calling themselves "Guardians of Peace" have apparently stolen just under 100 terabytes of data from Sony Pictures, including financial information, budgets, payroll data, internal emails, and feature films.  The cyber attack could cost Sony as much as $100 million.

Hits: 1093

Read more: Movie exec calls Angelina Jolie a 'spoiled brat'

Latest News

17304 Preston Rd | Suite 1060 | Dallas | TX | 75252-5618 | 214-705-3710
© 2009-2014 Copyright, Denison Forum. All rights reserved.