Saturday, June 09, 2007

A couple of more pieces of evidence that this country is insane.

I am usually pretty selective about what I watch on television. However, sometimes I just can't avoid seeing some things that I usually would rather not. Like yesterday's amazing display of frivolity and narcissism regarding Paris Hilton. I haven’t commented on her on this web site before, because of the obvious (to me, anyway) conclusion that she is not worthy of our attention, much less adulation. So, when she gets picked up and carted back off to jail, all weepy and semi-hysterical, it becomes a national story that all the cable news outlets interrupt their main coverage so they can cover this shallow and self-absorbed little twit getting busted.

Hey, this happens every single day! What is the story here? What about the G-8 summit? What about the latest underhanded dealings of the Bush administration? Global warming, perhaps? Certainly not the fact that more of our brave troops are getting blown up in Iraq for no perceptible reason. Insane. Why is someone like her, who is only famous because for some reason people have declared her to be famous, being busted worthy of wall-to-wall news coverage? Insane.

The other thing I was exposed to last night (when I went into a McDonald’s with my daughter and there was a TV in the corner that I couldn’t avoid) was an hour long program on CNN with Jonathan Edwards being interviewed about his faith in the Christian God. It was insane. The first question asked was by some head of a Christian organization. I didn’t hear the full question, but this guy was almost lecturing Edwards, pretty much saying that Edwards must produce the answer he was looking for. The “moderator” asked an insane question that I did hear. I’ll try to paraphrase it. It went something like “What role does prayer play in your day to day life, and when you pray, how do you really know that it is God answering you and not something else?” I guess she was either talking about Satan or maybe little voices in Edwards’ head, like Joan of Arc maybe. To his credit, Edwards did his best to get across that he is very faithful, and it plays a big role in his personal life, but he is fully aware of how others may not have the same faith as he and that government’s role has very little to do with Jesus. I think, at one point, he was even defending people like me who don’t believe in the Christian God.

Why does he even have to address this question? This is insane. For a country whose founding principles include separation of Church and State, this all seems to be very much of another unspoken litmus test. I am certain that we look like either complete ignoramuses or complete hypocrites to the rest of the developed world. I’ll accept that a huge percentage of the population of this country is religious, Christian (of the various, mutually exclusive varieties), Jewish, or Islamic. I know that we have some Buddhists and people who practice other eastern religions as well in this country. Why is that all of our candidates now how to state, on national television, that they are more pious and faithful than their competitors? I’m sorry, but that is how it is coming off.

If what is on television is actually a reflection of the general personality and psyche of this country, sort of like an electronic Rorschach ink blot test, then we are in quite a heap of trouble.

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