Watching an Amish documentary last Sunday, I heard the following exchange:
One individual of a busload of visitors to Amish Country addressed an Amish gentleman, "So what's the difference between you Amish and us 'English'?"
The Amish gentleman replied, "How many of you own televisions?" The hands of all tourists went up.
He then added, "How many of you are distressed with what is often seen on television?" Again all hands up.
Next he asked, "How many of you will go home and get rid of your televisions?" No hands went up.
His final comment was, "That's the difference between the Amish and the English!"
This simple, painful observation was made even more relevant when reports of the 2014 Grammys surfaced. Apparently this year's Grammys featured 1) a mass wedding ceremony performed - including both gay and straight couples - by Queen Latifah, a performer. 2) a risque duet by Beyonce and Jay-Z and 3) a Satanic performance by Katy Perry. Remind me again why anyone watches an orgy of perversion such as this? An answer might be revealed in Matthew Kelly's, Rediscover Catholicism, “Our culture places a very high premium on self-expression, but is relatively disinterested in producing "selves" that are worth expressing.”
So, many do watch - repeatedly - even as the performances sink to ever lower levels. Sadly, members of these faithful audiences are enablers. Because these train wrecks (disguised as entertainment) continue to be watched, they will persist in their downward spiral. For God's sake, buy a CD or something! Why continue to expose ourselves to filth, in an effort to see a small bit of entertainment?
My late mother used to tell a story about a mom, worried about her older children's movie viewing habits. Each time she voiced her objections to some of the vile content in their movie selections, the kids would say, "There's only a little bit of (language, sex, or gratuitous violence) in them; the rest of the movie is really good. Undaunted, she made brownies for the next movie night. After everyone had heartily eaten the delicious confection, the mother announced that one of the ingredients was dog poo. Outraged, the children exclaimed, 'how could you feed us such a thing?' to which she replied, 'but there was only a little bit of dog poo in them, the rest of the ingredients were top quality and delicious". Point made! No?
In a recent Tweet, Pope Francis shared some thoughts as well, "Young people, let us not be satisfied w/mediocre life. Be amazed by what is true, beautiful, what is of God".
A part of the problem seems to lie with each individual's mistaken impression that personal actions have no impact on the larger picture. There is a deficit of those willing to hold out for the exceptional – of not settling for the mediocre or worse. In truth, each of us makes a huge difference - one person at a time. And what we do has a ripple effect - for good or for evil. There are consequences in either case. Support these intrinsic evil acts by visual support and others follow. The titillation of shock and outraged discussions will fuel the curious and innocent alike – resulting in patronage of these lowest of entertaining elements.
On the other hand, those who resist the temptation will have a positive impact. One of my friends had set her DVR for later viewing of the Grammys – planning to fast-forward to only those artists of whom she was a fan. After some discussion, she honored her husband's request, erasing the entire recording. As a couple, they came to the realization that most of the content was an open attack on conservative and Christian values. Allowing even a portion of The Grammys was not a compromise they were willing to make on their deeply held beliefs. Here was an example of one couple, sharing their discernment on Facebook and having a positive impact.
Realizations such as this may be coming to more and more people (we pray). In reference to the Grammys, former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron Tweeted to his followers, “Is it just me or are some of the Grammy performances so far…really demonic?? Looks like there is a lot of evil in the world…” Yes, indeed, and isn't it time we all took notice?
The Grammys, Sex, and Satan - For God's Sake, Just Buy a CD! was first published at Catholic Stand.