Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

25 May 2006
  Attention, American Idolaters

What do you think about Dennis Hitzeman's World Watch Focus: An "Idle" Nation at Worldview?

BTW, I discovered after adding Worldview and Café Diem to the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™© just yesterday that Dennis and Chris are good friends.

I think Denny makes several good points in the article -- points that were borne out in "real life" when my students knew who had won Idol but not that there had been a huge fire at the Istanbul airport or that Australia had depoyed troops to East Timor.

But in a slightly more liturgical vein, what do you think about applying "lex orandi lex credendi" to the topic at hand?

Think of it this way: TV, even "reality TV", even the nightly news (which is purportedly real) simply stops being real the moment you turn off the TV. The only thing that matters is the pressing "now" of whatever is going on, subjectively, to you. (that's the lex orandi -- the habit of habitual ritual)

And so what's the obvious lex credendi? What will a constant immersion in that type of "orandi" convince you of? That's right -- nothing matters unless it's happening to me, right now, and I choose to pay attention to it. All my problems can be ignored to no ill effect. Other people don't really matter. I can kick back, swill a beer or three, and firmly believe (there's the credendi) that my life is pretty OK.

Until we wake up one morning and find that the reality we've been ignoring has come back to haunt us.

As an example, and not to disrespect or make light of the disaster that happened on the Gulf Coast, but how easy was it for people down there to not really take what they were seeing on TV seriously, until it really happened? How many of us watched 9/11 with the same sense of "suspended disbelief" with which we watch the latest summer blockbuster?

As Lutherans who prize above all else the real, certain, historical objectivity of the Gospel (i.e. a real Jesus really died on a real cross on a specific date, and that reality affects me in profound ways), we owe it to our country to help it return to a sense of the real -- dare I say sacramental?
I've been thinking about this article a lot. I think he probably doesn't watch the show and that he makes several judgments. I am debating whether to go through the article point by point, or just let it drop. I've got more important things going on in my life than defending American Idol! :)

With regards to, "What they fail to realize, as they are entertained by the mesmerizing lure of the TV, is that they are the government.". My response to this statement is that the writer underestimates the viewers of American Idol. Most I know don't watch a lot of television, but DO watch American Idol because it is one of the few family fares left on television. The show gives parents and kids an opportunity to talk about pop music and pop culture, debating the merits of various offerings.

To accuse Idol viewers of not being aware of the "real" news of the world, is just wrong. For example, winner Taylor Hicks himself brought up Katrina MANY times in articles and many of his southern fans had direct experience with the tragedy.

Another good example of awareness of true "reality" is that on the country music night, Taylor Hicks wanted to sing a song in honor of recently fallen West Va miners; he wasn't allowed his first chioce by Hank Williams, Jr, but was allowed his second choice, Country Roads. In the midst of the busyness of American Idol, Hicks was keeping up with national news and wanted to direct people's attention to the tragedy. I expect that is how he will also live out his career.

By the way, our family rarely watch Idol live. We were busy at baseball games, dance recitals, Lent services, school board meetings, church events, etc. We usually watched it later on in the evening after returning home. I do not believe we are the exception to the rule.

I guess the fact students knew about American Idol over other world news events doesn't surprise me or strike me as anything new under the sun.

American Idol is a great family show. Confessional Lutheran families should never be shamed into thinking that they are not concerned for their neighbors for watching it.
Actually, my goal was to shame no one into anything other than, perhaps, considering what place any the world has to offer us as Christians. It appears that my choice to specifically target American Idol unfortunately distracted from that more major point.

The problem I see is that so many Americans, even those who are aware of what is going on in the world and around them, just do not care. They do not care about things like rampant government spending, insecure borders, and fundamentalist members of another religion that are actively trying to kill us and deprive us of the very way of life that allows us to enjoy shows like American Idol.

Indeed, I believe that the evidence of my blanket statement is entirely clear. If Americans, especially Christians, cared about these things in sufficient numbers, the government would be smaller and more fiscally controlled, the borders would be correctly and tightly secured, and our enemies would not have the opportunity (or perhaps even the cause) to attack us.

I understand that my position is a hard one to accept. Just a year ago, I would have balked at my own arguement, but then I shut my TV off and looked around. When I did so, I was amazed at what I saw. I was aware and interested before then, but I never realized how little anyone else cared until I stopped listening to what the world had to say.

My concern for my fellow Americans is that we will not realize the gravity of the threat the rest of the world and the devil has leveled against America and our freedom loving way of life until after it has been deprived from us. If I can be one voice against that apathy before it occurs, then I am willing to take all the criticism that can be leveled against me.

I guess I read Dennis's post in pretty much the same manner in which he wrote it. I think that the minor and major premises line up well with reality.
The nonsensical first line of my previous comment should read:

'Actually, my goal was to shame no one into anything other than, perhaps, considering what place anything the world has to offer has for us as Christians.'

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