Sunday, September 19, 2004

The day be here, scumbags!

Ahoy, mateys!!!

Buy the ipatch! (it's a real beauty!)

or get yer copy o' Well Blow Me Down! The Guys Guide to talking like a pirate!

or at least scurry on o'er to The Original Talk Like A Pirate Day Site!

And be sure today to AVOID ALL LUBBERS!!! ("land lovers")

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Is it any wonder we don't trust the media...

...when stories like this continue to come out? I won't even go into my problems with the New York Times. You know, it's truly a sad picture of the day when we actually have to read news about the news (and how screwed up it is). While I'm mentioning the media, can I vent on some other issues?

Why is it we must have news coverage 24/7? Is relevant "news" really happening 24/7? NO! So what happens? Well, either 1) we have the same real story regurgitated a million times over by four news stations, or 2) we have some of the most ridiculous and irrelevant stories covered and labelled "news". Somehow, someway, the stories also always manage to be "breaking" news, even if they've been reported 50 times already! Every report has to have a thrill factor and a fresh factor, because any other way would just bore the viewer audience, right?

But positive exageration isn't all that happens. We also need to consider the many stories that are downplayed by the media, simply because they're viewed as unimportant--"un-newsworthy"--or even [gasp!] going against their own ideology! Now don't get me wrong here--I have no problem with a newspaper or newscast reporting from a certain worldview. My problem is with media folk who deny the truth because they are so obsessed with their own agenda and beliefs. That brings me to another point (get ready for a mega-semi-tangential thought here).

Perhaps our skepticism of the media is really just a symptom of the reality of the world which we live in, for all humans are fallible and must strive to overcome biases. The problem with modern culture, however, seems to be that many have seen this gloomy fact and simply given up, saying everything must therefore be biased and relative. Well folks, relativism just doesn't cut it logically (we can go into this if you'd like). In my opinion, the entire post-modern relativist culture is one of the most anti-intellectual emotionalist movements in history. Rather than reason, it's based on an emotional fear due to the ever increasing amount of knowledge and of claims to truth out there. Besides being unreasonable, the bottom line is that the relativist position lacks the virtue of courage. This is not to say that courage will lead one to a grasp of all truth by any means (one could be agnostic and still possess courage), but rather it will lead to a grasp that relativism is foolish. Oh, and let's not forget the virtue of humility too--we need that to clean sort through those unhealthy biases.

As technology improves and the flow of knowledge continues to increase with leaps and bounds, this push to simply view everything as relative will no doubt continue to thrive and spread. But let's be honest and take a stand; let's be brave and make an effort to actually pursue the truth of things. It's not easy, that's for sure; but if it's the right thing to do, then it's well worth it.

And in the process, we'll continue to unveil the lies of various groups of the media, exposing them for what they really are.

(See, I brought it all back together, sort of. I apologize, but my brains is kind of "blah, blah, blah" right now.)

G.K. Chesterton, a journalist his entire lifetime, had a lot to say about the business. Here are a couple of blips:

"Modern man is staggering and losing his balance because he is being pelted with little pieces of alleged fact which are native to the newspapers; and, if they turn out not to be facts, that is still more native to newspapers." - ILN, 4/7/23

"Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another."

If you're really craving more, check out "The Real Journalist" or "The Mildness of the Yellow Press".

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What lies at the very core of the Passion...

I've had some interesting discussions in the past with a wide variety of friends regarding the meaning of various aspects of the film, The Passion of the Christ, and I've gotten numerous wonderful insights. Well, I was quite pleased to see that this writer for the Toronto Sun, Michael Coren, had a sort of epiphany experience of his own with the whole matter:
I originally wrote about The Passion of the Christ the week it opened in theatres. I stated how excited I had been before I saw the film and how disappointed I was afterwards. Many supported me in my views, many opposed me. Sadly, the majority of the latter were abusive. It was a sobering experience.

Months later, I have watched Mel Gibson's version of the death of Jesus Christ on the newly released DVD. I still believe that this work should have been different in various ways. Yet now I have seen, or allowed myself to see, what lies at the very core of The Passion. The Eucharist.

The epicentre, the quintessence of the Christian faith, was no symbolic act but a literal instruction. "Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you." And "Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all men so that sins may be forgiven."

What had been a barrier has now become a bridge. A connection between a broken, smashed and needy creature like me and his perfect and glorious creator. The great paradox of God. In so simple a matter as a wafer is the most wonderful gift in all the world. Given at a very great price indeed.

What had been a barrier has now become a bridge. A connection between a broken, smashed and needy creature like me and his perfect and glorious creator. The great paradox of God. In so simple a matter as a wafer is the most wonderful gift in all the world. Given at a very great price indeed.
He goes on reflecting upon this idea. Then he writes about another major realization: the significance of the role of Mary, mother of Jesus, in the Passion.
As I watched again, another reality embraced me, like the arms of a loving mother around an eager if sometimes foolish child. It was that Mary is not merely a background figure in a magnificent drama, but the divine conduit for salvation. In other words, she is sublime and perfect and with us forever. The mother of us all.

Through her eyes, I saw the life and death of Jesus once again, with all of the human as well as godly suffering that it entails. I use the present tense, because although Christ died for us so long ago, He still lives. His sacrifice exists in the present and can be witnessed every day by us all. Yes, even by me.

Mary weeps for her son. Her tears and His blood mingle to soak the world in hope and love. Within their grandeur all despair is smothered and all sin cleansed. Yes, I see it now. I see it so clearly.
I'm especially glad for his realization regarding the Eucharist, but this was all around a neat story. It sounds like he was already a Catholic, but what good news to hear that he now "gets it". To read more of the story:

"The Passion of Michael"

Also, feel free to comment. What do you think of these thoughts? What'd you think of the movie?