Our cultural icons

I was amazed and I-don’t-know-what on Sunday and Monday when the cover story for two of New York’s primary newspapers (tabloids that they tend to be, but still…) featured Britney Spears and her hair-cutting escapade. The newspapers said she was near an emotional breakdown.
I wonder what goes through the minds of the editors of these two newspapers – money, I suspect. To think, Britney Spears carries more weight than everything else going on in this city, this state, this country, and this world. What does this say about us?
I heard it said somewhere that historically when a culture began to be more concerned with entertaining itself and looking for constant distraction, well, that was the beginning of the end for that culture.
Britney has been elevated by – whom? – someone, some group, to be more important than the devastation of war, the horrid conditions that most of the world’s children live in every day, the corruption of government and business, the new baby surviving against all odds, and so on.
This reminds me of the tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith. Diana Butler Bass wrote an outstanding short essay entitled, Paying Respects to Anna Nicole Smith on Jim Willis and friend’s section of Beliefnet called, “God’s Politics.” Read it! . Really, go right now and read it this day before Lent! (See, you even have a really long link so you can’t miss it…)

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Subway Observation #4

On the subway this morning, I watched as a youngish man was talking to his female companion (or at least the woman standing next to him). He is a new father. You know the old joke – the man pulls out his wallet and out spills three feet of pictures of his kid, and he has to show you. The proud father!
This man did the same thing, but more in line with the technological times. He passed his cell-phone to his female companion and she skipped through all kinds of really cute snap-shots of the man’s baby. Anyone could tell that if it were 20 years ago, he would have pulled out his wallet and three feet of pictures would have spilled out. He was a proud father.

How the “world” sees our wrangling

From The Living Church, via Titusonenine:

At the final press conference, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, said the meeting had damaged the church’s witness in the eyes of the world.
“Looking at the levels of human greed, terror and suffering around the world, it is difficult for people to have transformed views about the Anglican Communion when we have our own internal divisions,” he said as quoted by Episcopal News Service. “I do hope that people will bear the MDGs as the primary vision.”

I must agree with ++Rowan! We delude ourselves if we think the world will look upon all of our politicking and demands for uniform belief with respect, thinking, “oh, look at those principled and honorable people standing firm in their honest assertions of truth. I want to be part of them!” No, for the most part I think they see us as being out of touch with reality and the concerns of the world.