02/05/04 Where Are we living?

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While Americans were reeling from a public display of indecency, post-Christian Germans were asking “Where are we living? Has all measure of the difference between normal and abnormal, right and wrong, of morality and decency been lost?” This after cannibal Armin Miewes, who had fantasized since puberty about eating a man to fill a void left by the departure of his father, and advertised for victims on the Internet, was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison last Friday but could be out in less than five years if he gets parole for good behavior. It does give one pause for thought to see how quickly movie and book deals flowed into Miewes orbit, and Anthony Hopkins fans might be rethinking their eerie attraction to Hannibal Lector (foto right).

Meanwhile one TV executive reports we have witnessed the END of live TV. This is the Gen X equivalent of eight-track tapes disappearing in the Boomer’s lifetime.

We have observed that popular culture has become a replacement for religion and sometimes people roll their eyes when I say it. Today a home theatre designer said this of his product, “People really congregate around it. It’s what people do now. It’s an American temple and the screen is the altar.”

Many experts are saying Sunday’s Superbowl halftime fiasco is an indication that MTV miscalculated the mainstream appeal of their product. This is an important observation. In a niche economy you can own a niche and post big numbers, but it is still a niche. In going after young males the NFL/CBS/ MTV conspired to deliver a product appealing to the audience who wasn’t there and offended the audience who was!

Christians who seem to have an uncanny knack for getting everything wrong about popular culture have done it again! They are investing extraordinary energy in Mel Gibson’s movie, with one person calling it “one of the greatest opportunities for evangelism in 2,000 years! (He also stands to benefit from the sale of a million tracts he has published for the event). A representative from Gibson’s company explained their promotion of the Passion to religious leaders as more in the interest of marketing than evangelism, a distinction evangelicals evidently no longer recognize.

Meanwhile the distinguished librarian of Congress James Billington, has selected the 350th movie to be declared a national treasure worth preserving Animal House.

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