Performance Art?

Okay, this may come as a surprise to some readers, but I'm actually excited by non-traditional groups co-opting and adopting hip-hop and rap as a musical form to express themselves, even if the message they're sending is, well, if not antithetical to what hip-hop and rap originated, is at least oblique to its purposes. So it's not in the spirit of mockery of the form or the attempt that I post the following video.

Christian Side Hug from The Fathers House on Vimeo.



It would be easy for me to mock the message here as well--that there's something immoral about face-to-face hugging because of the proximity of the naughty bits when that goes on--and so I will, though gently. That's low-hanging fruit, though.

No, it's this line which really deserves the attention: "I'm a rough rider, filled up with Christ's love." If you don't know what a rough rider is, slang-wise, and if you don't feel like guessing, then you can get the down and dirty here. And it is exceedingly down and dirty.

But this isn't the first time that an evangelical group has had this sort of mixup. Remember "Two Million for Marriage" or 2M4M? Or, though only tangentially connected, the teabagger movement? Urban Dictionary isn't an obscure website, and it doesn't take a particularly dirty-minded person to come up with at least the suggestion that "rough riders" might be a euphemism for something a little salacious.

So I wonder, might these "accidents" actually be intentional? Could there be a group of moles working on the inside to make these folks look even more ridiculous than usual? Or could it just be that they're so sheltered, that they so limit contact with anyone not of their group that they really don't know what's going on in the outer world?

It's probably the latter, if it's either. The proliferation of christian schools and the evangelical university system has made it possible for fundamentalists to keep their children almost completely separated from the rest of the world--I say almost because any truly determined kid can find ways around his or her parents' limitations. And with that separation comes a lack of contact with slang and sexual euphemism, which can make for some truly hilarious communication blunders at times.

There was some talk when I was growing up of the Witnesses establishing their own school system, and members openly wondered why we didn't do it, since it would remove kids from the temptations of the secular world. The response I remember was that as adults, we would have to live in the world, so school served as a good training ground to build up our resistance to temptation. It probably worked as often as it failed, maybe a little less, and I've wondered in the now 14 years since I left the church if they've started to reconsider. I hope not. But I would be interested in what they make of the Christian Side Hug.

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