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Archive for April 17th, 2009

By now, half the world has heard of Susan Boyle.  If you have not, stop now and watch the video of her auditioning for the show Britain’s Got Talent:

When I watched this video, it brought me to tears, which doesn’t normally happen on the rare occasion that i watch Britain’s Got Talent.  But this woman was so homely, so unassuming, so quaint,  and so unlike anyone auditioning for a world-wide broadcasted show that I immediately began to criticize her, like everyone in the audience and all 3 of the judges.  

Our culture is a sick one because it is made up of sick people.  We love to criticize.  We love to find fault, and exploit weakness.  The shows on which Simon Cowell adjudicates are just visual symbols of that part of our culture’s heart.  I think that’s why they’re so popular–we get to hear someone say what so many are thinking about a terrible performer.  We get to see the cruelty enacted, and we get to see someone utterly destroyed in front of millions of people.  The popularity of the shows is dependent on this kind of unbridled reckless speech, and the very thing that proves it is that Simon Cowell, the most reckless speaker of the bunch, is who makes ratings go up.  He’s on the judges panel of all the shows, and the producers know that if he weren’t, the show would not make nearly as much money.  He and his barbed tongue are the draw.  The people performing are just window-dressing.  

As I sat there expecting (and hoping) for this dear woman to get up and embarrass herself on television, what actually happened was that her stunning performance highlighted what was going on inside me.  I wanted her to fail, even though I had just finished reading some scripture last week that read, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.”  (Proverbs 24:17).  This moment was a revealing one for so many people because it showed the ugliness in our hearts.  It showed that mine was enthusiastically wanting someone, not even my enemy, to fall utterly, and for no other reason than to amuse me.  

What?

Simply to amuse me?  Is my heart really that hardened?  This hard heart of mine has been shown to me before, but the problem with being shown a hard heart is that usually nobody else knows.  We don’t have to deal with it because nobody’s watching.  But God sees our hearts.  He not only sees what is, but what could be there.

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I want to make a disclaimer from the beginning–I was born in Austin, Texas.  While I realize that living the first six weeks of my life in Texas doesn’t really mean much more than I left a bunch of smelly diapers and infantile tantrums in the Lone Star State to mark my birthplace, I also have to admit that whenever Texas is mentioned I have a little soft spot.  Weird, I know.  “Soft spot” and “Texas” don’t really go together.  Maybe other words go with Texas–“ego”, “hospitality” (depending on what people group you belong to), “nifty drawl”, and “spunk.”  

The current leader of the Lone Star State, Governor Rick Perry, hinted on Wednesday that Texas might someday try to actually go it alone.  Permanently.  As in secession.  Speaking to a group of…ahem…extremely excited far-right-leaning children of the plains, Perry said, in response to the crowds chanting “secession,” that if the government in Washington wasn’t going to listen to the people, why then, the people of Texas just might cut the ties and ride off into the glorious sunset of…some kind of separatory action.  

Now, I would like to point out that a whole bunch of ordinary Texans think their governor is a couple horses short of a herd, and in the face of extreme criticism from almost every segment of society, Perry has essentially said that the idiots who misconstrued the Constitution and are causing the problems today also were stupid enough to misconstrue my speech.  Then he exercised a little Newspeak and told everybody what he ACTUALLY said.  It’s very different from what every news agency has on tape, but who cares?  He’s a Texan, darn it, and he stands for things.  

What I find interesting is the scenario in which he actually had the stones to seriously insinuate that secession could be on Texas’ agenda, since the last war of secession was the bloodiest American conflict EVER.  Perry was speaking at a Tea Party rally, where people co-opted the meaning linked to the Boston Tea Party and tried to apply it in the same way to their anger at bailing out banks with taxpayer money.  They’re angry that taxes are going up.  Funny, since taxes are actually lower for the middle class under Obama, and tax increases for the richest 5% of the folks in the nation haven’t even started yet–those start in 2011.  But what could be more American than getting riled up by a demagogue and protesting things out in the street that aren’t happening?  The only thing that really tops the Tea Party is Perry’s acquiescence to the small crowds screaming for Texas to secede from the Union.  They screamed, he lapped it up, and now he’s doing a really weak backpedal.  I liked one of the many many quotes from Texans on Perry’s chosen actions: 

“Governor Perry, what you speak of is sedition. Texas may not opt out of the Union. I believe we already settled that issue in our past. I’ll be the first to take up arms when that day comes. I’m an American first and Texan second.”  -bigboxes in the comment section of a CNN article.

But of course, what’s a little sedition among friends?

Texas, get rid of that irresponsible and foolish lunatic you’ve voted into your governor’s mansion.

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