On New Year’s Eve, Adam and I popped the champagne East-Coast time with the Fox News special. Then, we made the mistake of flipping around to other channels to see other versions of the ball drop. Instead of ball-dropping and good music, however, we were treated to a front-row seat to “culture in decline”. See Exhibit A:
CARSON DALY, HOST: “SpaghettiOs on Pearl Harbor Day, they sent out a tweet featuring their mascot holding an American flag asking people to quote “take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” It offended a lot of people, corporations glomming on to, you know, sentimental American historic traditions, seemingly looking for people in business. It wasn’t good. But you were offended for another reason.”
JANE LYNCH: “I’m offended because they were referring to SpaghettiOs as pasta.”
NATASHA LEGGERO: “I mean, it sucks that the only survivors of Pearl Harbor are being mocked by the only food they can still chew. It’s just sad.”
If everyone had stared at Leggero like she’d just said something monstrous, that would be one thing. But everyone on stage collapsed in laughter, because making fun of the Greatest Generation is hilarious.
Even though the mocking of WWII vets is beyond the pale, there were countless other instances of thoughtless meanness that were still disturbing: celebrities walking through the crowds, mocking people for their clothing choices, making the same tired pop-culture jokes about the same tired pop culture pinatas (Justin Beiber takes selfies, the Kardashians are rich) and basically making you want to throw away 2014 before it got as ugly as 2013 apparently was. The theme seemed to be that if you were lucky enough to be given a microphone on a major channel, you are automatically superior. You get the right to mock anyone you want, look down on anyone you despise, and generally fill the airwaves with your haughty rancor, and no one will say a word about it.
On New Year’s Day, we went to see The Hobbit, and as we were standing in line to get tickets, I couldn’t help but hear the family behind me bantering. It was a family of several teenagers and young adults, and two parents in their late-fifties or so. The kids were mercilessly mocking their elders “Dad, you’re so embarrassing! What is he doing?! OMG, we’re going to put you guys in a home.” The young people were very crude and extremely disrespectful, but I couldn’t help but notice that Mom and Dad bought everyone’s tickets without a word, and the young people accepted the gift as a matter of course.
I point this out because I am not usually someone who sees the worst in culture. I tend to point out the good things – hey everybody, country music is great! Did you see The Dark Knight Rises? I love the Robertson family! – but this foray into smut made me really sad, particularly when I saw the effect of culture on the family behind us in line.
That Mom and Dad don’t even have the courage to correct their children, because they think they are over 50, and so unless they’re Jane Lynch or Meryl Streep, they are destined to mockery in the New World Order. The young people don’t even realize how cruel and disgusting they sound, because this is what every celebrity on every channel says all day – they’re just being “funny”.
Parents, kids, friends of mine – let’s boycott this kind of trash. There’s no reason to get all angry and pointy about it, but let’s not let this into our homes any more. Let’s raise kids who hold the doors open for their elders and let’s try to see the good in others. Let’s be creative and not simply parrot the opinions we hear all around us. Let’s ring in a New Year with real laughter, not the cheap kind that needs a punching bag to work.
Let’s stand for dignity and grace and hope. Let’s let our light shine, because the world is growing dangerously dark.
John 16:33 “I have spoken these things to you so that you shall have peace in me. You shall have suffering in the world, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”