Cru Culture: social media
May06

Cru Culture: social media

THE BELLS — In today’s culture, the lives of celebrities are plastered on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, giving fans a glimpse into their favorite singer or actor’s life. But when James Franco texted a fan about meeting up at her hotel, many people criticized the openness social media today allows.   The 17-year-old girl and fan of Franco’s had attended Of Mice and Men, where she took a video of herself with the famous star in the background.   Franco asked her to tag him on Instagram, which started a direct conversation between him and the teenager.   The girl doubted the messages were coming from the Spring Breakers lead man, but he sent her several pictures of himself as well as his phone number.   Franco appeared on Live! With Kelly and Michael, where he admitted the scandal happened, but didn’t apologize to the girl or the public. He also tweeted that he hopes parents keep their teens away from him with an image he deleted directly after.   For socially-savvy college students, this scandal should raise some eyebrows. The world has come to accept the idea of 30-something adults pursuing young people around the age of 18.   Though the girl made the decision not to meet up with Franco, she was vague about her relationship status and age. Can we blame her? Should we blame her?   A lot of girls her age don’t have the maturity to think clearly in such a strange situation or understand the repercussions of sex. But sex with a Hollywood star? It just doesn’t seem like something that would ever happen in the real world.   But for anyone who uses social media, it could happen. If your favorite actor gave you his number, would you want to meet up with him?   Because most Crusaders are just a few years older than the fan involved, students need to be wary of what they say via social media. They also need to think about society’s view on age, sex and morality.   After the initial buzz of the scandal, the pop culture world realized Franco’s new movie, Palo Alto, features a relationship like the one he encouraged with the girl, and the messages the two exchanged were sent on April Fool’s. So could the stunt be promotion for a film, and should we as the general public be OK with this type of “advertising?”   Though everyone jokes about stalking their crushes or enemies on social media, it’s easy to forget how simple it is to scroll through someone’s Facebook wall or Twitter feed—thank you, James Franco, for reminding us...

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Cru Culture: UMH “Baylor”
Apr15

Cru Culture: UMH “Baylor”

All Crusaders eventually come to a crossroad in their lives when they are given a choice: lie or tell the truth. The inevitable moment can determine a student’s future at the university and could even be an indication of how happy he or she will be over the next four years. Or five. Or six. The situation is unavoidable. It could occur at any time or place, with no warning. The pivotal moment in the life of a UMHB student is when a person with good intentions asks, “Oh, you go to Baylor?” The easy answer to this question is “Yes, yes I do. Sic ‘em.” While this answer avoids all awkwardness, it is, indeed, a lie. When Grandma innocently and sweetly asks you how you’re doing at Baylor, you don’t want to break it to her that she has her information wrong. Lying seems necessary, advisable even. Our green and gold neighbors in Waco don’t understand the grief we purple Baylor people go through. Don’t let this possible identity crisis scare you, though. You were dubbed a Crusader forever. You can’t let your school down, right? So instead, summon some bravery and give the true answer. All you have to say is, “Actually, I go to Mary Hardin-Baylor.” But, be warned. Something offensive will probably follow, though the person has no clue how much they are insulting everything you care about. He or she might naively ask you, “Oh, is that part of Baylor?” Everything inside of you will want to yell at this interrogator. You might even want to scream the school song in their face and throw up a “C” with dramatic pride. I won’t stop you from doing this, but remember, if they don’t know what UMHB is about, you could be jeopardizing everyone else’s reputation in your outburst. So, rein in the burning school pride and put on your best poker face. “No, actually, Mary Hardin-Baylor has its own history completely.” Then, educate this person. Let them have it. I suggest leading with, “Did you know Judge Baylor is actually buried on our campus?” Hopefully one day, people will ask Baylor students “Oh, so you go to Mary...

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The Fault in Our Stars outshines recent books
Apr15

The Fault in Our Stars outshines recent books

THE BELLS – By Jessica Pitcaithly Soon to be released in theaters as a major motion picture, The Fault in Our Stars is not only a phrase from Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, but also an eye-opening and touching novel written by John Green. People might expect the book to have been written in medieval times. Instead, it takes place in modern day and deals with a difficult topic that readers all over the country have appreciated. The plot focuses on Hazel Grace, a 16 year-old girl living with terminal cancer. She narrates the novel from a first-person point of view, showing the everyday struggle of the terrible disease. Forced by her mother to join a support group for her illness, Hazel reluctantly partakes in tedious sessions held in “the literal heart of Jesus,” (inside-joke book humor).  This ends up changing- her life forever. At first, Hazel dreads going until she meets Augustus Waters. Soon, the book speeds up as an unconventional love story unfolds. Augustus, or Gus for short, is a handsome boy. Initially, he is over-determined to get to know Hazel, and readers might be unsure of how they feel about the character. But as the book continues, readers intently follow the path of this couple’s relationship as they suffer from illness and a huge hunt for answers about Hazel’s favorite book: An Imperial Affliction, which plays a big role in the story. Green delivers a shocking ending that readers will not see coming. This unexpected turn furthers his message of the book about dealing with cancer. As a whole, The Fault in Our Stars is a fun and unique novel. Avid readers should carve out the time to delve into its honest truth about a difficult, real life topic. This book made me look closer at my life and count my blessings. On the other hand, it made me realize that I should enjoy the small things because of how short life is and take advantage of the moment. The popular novel is being adapted into a film and will star Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Gus. With Woodley making a name for herself, the film has already gained a large following. It comes out in theaters June 6. But before sitting down to watch the film, get comfortable, open the book and read. Regret will not even cross your...

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God brings theaters to life
Apr15

God brings theaters to life

In an era when darkness and violence have come to be the thrills moviegoers seek, glimmers of light are flickering across the silver screen. Competing with blockbusters like Divergent, God’s Not Dead brought in viewers interested in a message of life-changing redemption. The plot is derived from various real-life stories of court cases and students who challenged the authority of professors and universities to force them to abandon their faith. The multiple storylines that are interwoven to build the plot are fresh and strong. Nothing is sugarcoated. The message of the gospel reached people where they were. Some accepted it, but others rejected it. Further, superb acting by Kevin Sorbo, who played Hercules in the 1994 series, combined with appearances from the popular Duck Dynasty couple, Willie and Korie Robertson and Christian rockers, The Newsboys, draw upon a wider demographic of moviegoers than some other Christian films. The story is set mainly on a college campus where a freshman needs to fulfill a philosophy credit. He ends up in the class of a professor who is a devout atheist. The instructor tells the entire class to write “God is dead” on a piece of paper and sign it. The young student, passionate about his Christianity, refuses. The angered professor issues an ultimatum. The student must prove in three lectures that God does, in fact, exist. If he fails, he fails the class. As the lectures go on, the true reason behind the professor’s unbelief begins to come out. In a heated exchange, he admits that he hates God, to which the student replies, “How can you hate someone who doesn’t exist?” Finally, after the final week of class periods devoted to the existence of a creator, a driver strikes the professor in an intersection. A pastor and a missionary who provide a side plot and comic relief are at the scene when it happens. The pastor prays with him, and he dies in the street reconciled with God whom he once hated. The movie ends at a Newsboys concert where Willie Robinson, who had heard of the freshman’s strong defense of his faith, encourages everyone present to text “God’s not dead” to everyone on their contact list. The movie audience receives the same mandate right before the credits roll. Because of the full range of emotions, the well-developed storyline and the call to action, this is a must see for Christians looking for practical ways to share their...

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ASL movie night honors Deaf Awareness Week
Apr15

ASL movie night honors Deaf Awareness Week

Students and people from the community gathered recently to watch Versa Effect in honor of Deaf Awareness Week. The movie night, along with other events during the week, was put on by the American Sign Language teacher’s aids. The movie has no sound, and the actors are all Deaf – there’s only signing throughout the film. Of course, subtitles help for those who don’t know sign language. Junior psychology major  and T.A., Maggie Bates is trying to spread the awareness of ASL courses to UMHB students. “It is a great program that has impacted so many students and their futures, and we wanted to get the word out,” she said. “We also wanted our peers to be more aware of Deaf culture.” The ASL classes watch different movies to see what the culture looks like and to get the feel of how sign language is used in the lives of people who need it to communicate every day. The T.A.s decided that playing Versa Effect would be the most beneficial entertainment for the event. The movie is similar to the popular film called Freaky Friday. Two people who despise each other end up switching lives for a day. After a few turns of events and getting back to their bodies, they fall in love. The movie shows Deaf people communicating just as hearing people do, such as getting someone’s attention, communicating through closed windows and even showing how they are signaled when their doorbell rings. Junior education major Annie Phillips attended the movie night. She is in ASL 4 and is planning to get her master’s in Deaf education. “I really like the idea of ASL becoming more widespread on campus. I think it is important to recognize other cultures, and I think this is one that many people forget or are ignorant about,” she said. While students in ASL and those just interested in learning about a different culture came to support the event, the T.A.s were pleased to have a few people in the Deaf community watch the movie. Norma Moreland is from the Killeen Deaf community. She and her husband came to watch the movie, and they enjoyed it. Moreland thinks it is wonderful that the university’s students are involved with the Deaf community and are so interested in learning ASL. The T.A.s hope that Deaf Awareness Week will become an annual event and that it continues to grow with more students interested in learning about the...

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Spring movies provide break for viewers
Apr02

Spring movies provide break for viewers

THE BELLS –By Jordan Yarbrough and Leif Johnston Two movies have recently hit the big screen in the last month that target very different audiences. The first is geared toward Christians and is a religious film about Jesus’ life. The second is a book that turned into a movie, fitting perfectly into the recent trend. The film Son of God has been filling theaters across the country and has topped the North American box office, raking in over $26.5 million in less than a month. Produced by Mark Burnett, it has been received well by a wide variety of audiences. Making religious movies always seems like a touchy subject now that no one wants to step on any toes, but Burnett quickly gave a reason why he knew his film would do well. In a recent interview with Fox News he said,  “In general media circles … people get uncomfortable around God. But actually, more Americans as a community go to church than do anything else. More Americans go to church on Sundays than watch football. Son of God illustrates that in such a huge way…. What does this nation stand for? The Bible and free enterprise are the two things that built the nation.” Son of God illustrates the life of Jesus Christ better than any other movie or television show that has been available to the general public. It is a film that someone who doesn’t know much about Christ’s life on earth can understand. It is accurate to scripture, and the timeline of events makes it easy to follow.  One reason the movie is doing so well is because it doesn’t fictionalize any of the stories of Jesus. “If you came to the movie and you didn’t know anything about Jesus, you would really get a sense of the journey of his life. It was our job to make sure that the journey emotionally connected with you,” Roma Downey, who played the Virgin Mary in the movie, said. “So we told the story on the one hand as a political thriller… It is a beautiful love story. There is intimacy to it, and we hope that you’re drawn in… and you get a sense that you really know who Jesus is.” Divergent is another movie people are dying to see. With a strong female protagonist, it doesn’t just attract girls. Like The Hunger Games, there is a lot of action but less romance, making it a great movie for everyone. From a pregnant teen in ABC Family’s old TV show The Secret Life of an American Teenager, to the strong lead, Tris, in Divergent, Shailene Woodley...

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