I watched some of this film the other day-
It is impossible to watch this and not think that there is something bonkers- something rather sick- at the root of our media machine (and therefore at the root of our society.)
We hunger for significance
And the primary way we demonstrate this is through the media machine
Which for its part will chase after any train wreck or celebrity breakdown in order to make a splash of attention, which will then convert into a splash of cash
And because train wrecks and celebrity breakdowns are unpredictable, then the machine manufactures them-
And we play the game- even though we understand that it is a game. Even though we know that it is all fake and phoney. Because what else is there?
How else might we aspire to significance?
How else might life be lifted from the humdrum but by the exposure of some soft subcutaneous celebrity flesh? (Apologies for the Dylan Thomas-esque excessive use of sibilance!)
And how, my friends, do we begin to do things differently? Because each one of our areas of expansion- even the Church- falls into similar traps. We elevate our celebrities, feed on them, then watch them fall.
The TFT counter culture anti-tabloid manifesto!
So, here it is. Time to push back!
Lets be like fat men who walk past Macdonalds- at least some of the time…
- Stop buying tabloid newspapers. I know- they are entertaining, and you only buy them for the sport, but the ink is toxic- and it will stain all sorts of things that you are not immediately aware of.
- Let’s stop caring what celebrities think. Rather let’s look for other voices- those at the margins. Particularly those who are poor and weak.
- Let us focus on the small scale, not the big scale- let us hope to find our place in small communities as we set ourself towards simple missions.
- And as for the interweb- useful though it is- it is not democratic. It is not a means of levelling the playing field. That dream is dead. It reflects all the mess of wider society. So let us sometimes deliberately SWITCH OFF (Scary as it might be to those of us addicted to laptops and smart phones) and so something simple, and hospitable. Go for a walk with a friend. Visit someone who is lonely. Write a letter. Go to a pub and buy someone a drink.
- Value the small things. Celebrate them in verse and song.
- Cultivate individuality, not image.
- Create for the joy of it- not for the relationship to what is cool.
- And as for Christian celebrities- well lets make a rule that they can only be seen in public wearing clothes from Oxfam- one size too small. Or if that is too cruel, lets just have an open on going discussion about human frailties and how we measure the wisdom and worth of an individual.
- Gossip about goodness. Try to tell stories of people’s secret success and hidden kindnesses.
- All that is broken in you, all that is beautiful on others- these things are eternal.