We are certainly a peculiar society. Those things that trigger our responses or stir our emotions are curious to say the least. We are all creatures of this addictive behavior and it shows up particularly with the television programs we watch. My wife and I like to watch a program where a couple is buying a house and has three to select from. I must confess how silly we must sound when they choose any house but the one we selected for them! And how we get caught up in the waste of time when a bachelor series is on and we are vicariously helping them to eliminate each contestant until just the right one remains, to the point of losing sleep when they once again, against our better judgement make the wrong choice. And need I even mention that popular show about idols when even the Las Vegas odds makers place odds as to who will walk away with the contract.
What is so fascinating to me is how emotionally vested we get get into reality TV and celebrity scandal situations that have zero bearing on our everyday lives. Our marriage doesn’t suffer (I don’t think) if he chooses the petite red head instead of the tall blonde; our survival instincts don’t become enhanced when one survivor outlasts the others. And I can testify with all sincerity that my income level didn’t change when Billy Bob won the million dollar singing contract over Mary Jane. And yet our strange compulsions to live through others is never completely satisfied. We so easily get caught up with the superficial events of those we see and follow on television and the big screen. We know who’s doing who, who’s cheating, who’s been arrested, who’s coming out and who’s checking into rehab. We make rag magazines profitable and reality television successful by our patronage. There is little that goes on in Hollywood that we don’t know about, and we seem to have an opinion on every scandal, as though somehow it affects our every day lives. Those who don’t even know our names have us tied around their fingers of fame waiting for their next move.
What troubles me most is that we know so little about situations that really matter, moreover we don’t seem to care. There are tragic events that unfold and play out every minute of every day in our world that receive little media coverage or publicity because they don’t make us feel good-they are not pleasant. Seeing a six year old girl extremely overweight living with a redneck family just as overweight, and celebrating their redneck-ness makes us laugh. Seeing a little girl impoverished or molested in a 3rd world country brings us down so we dismiss it since there’s nothing we can do to improve the situation. It’s the natural response-receive stimulation only from those things that make us feel good, but is it the right response? Should we be more in tuned with the human state even when it’s not pleasurable?
For three weeks now there has been a media frenzy over racists comments made by an eighty year old billionaire NBA Franchise owner. Talk shows have been buzzing about the cat fight between “real” housewives. We have been inundated with celebratory images of the 249th draft pick in the NFL. Our attention is divided by events that have little to do with our personal affairs while we live in ignorance of tragedies that cable TV doesn’t wish to cover. Over 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped to possibly be sold into slavery by extreme terrorists acting on “a command from God”, that only gained attention when FB brought light to it. Where is the outrage? Every day Christians are executed because they stand firm in their faith in Christ. Girls are being crucified nude on crosses so the public will take note and denounce their faith when their time comes. Where is the indignation? Children are killing children in the streets of America but no one knows their names. Where are the advocates for these victims? Thousands of children are aborted each day for the sake of convenience before they ever receive a name. Churches are burned, sometimes full of parishioners because they are in violation of state rules against the practice of Christianity. Where is our country in the condemnation of these acts against citizens? And why aren’t we troubled in our spirits at just the thought of these atrocities? Is this the appropriate humane and Christian response?
Why are we so selective in what stirs our passions? If I post a political opine on FB or start a thread on full submersion baptism vs. sprinkling or the use of tongues in today’s church, the thread would go on for days with hundreds of likes and comments. If I post a picture of a man standing on a dead baby in war torn countries or dead girls on crosses, it will be quickly overlooked with few comments. Our response triggers are perverted-our senses have become numb. We are truly a peculiar people. God forgive and have mercy on us! Gotta run-My 800 Pound Life is coming on!