I have always had a thing for pop culture, but as I get older I am far more suspect of the merit of such an interest. A recent book out called Popolegtics (http://www.amazon.com/Popologetics-Popular-Culture-Christian-Perspective/dp/1596383895) received quite a lot of hype, and academics yearning to maintain connectedness and relevance with youth love such stuff. I know, I have too. The youth thing, though, is tenuous at best: one of the best parts of Amerio's Iota Unum dissects Paul VIs pandering to youth (harsh, but what else do you call this reaction to contemporary culture that remains a legacy within Catholicism from the Vatcian II era we are still stuck with?).[Hat tip to J.M.]
The impulse now seems more double-edged than ever, given the evolutionary arc of Youth Culture, as Carl Trueman here suggests. He continues to arrest me with his good insights, even if he does also recommend Diarmid MacCulloch (I posted a comment lamenting that over at IgnatiusScoop).
http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2013/01/proust-paglia-and-exit-wounds.phpWhat we see has the power to shape our souls in powerful, unconscious ways; and when that sight is pornographic, whether of a sexual or violent kind, it shapes them for ill. Augustine realised this and exposed it brilliantly in his account of how his friend Alypius was taken unwillingly to see the gladiatorial games. Alypius kept his eyes closed until one of the combatants suffered a terrible blow. The crowd roared. Alypius opened his eyes. And from that moment on he was hooked on the games far more than the friends who had dragged him there in the first place. The pornographic sight of the violence had reshaped his soul.
As a postscript, it might be that some of the culture vultures out there might want to read the Alypius incident before they line up to see the latest Tarantino offering, with all of its no doubt beautifully choreographed blood and artistically presented gore. Is there a Christian perspective on such? Yes. It says that thirty years from now you may not remember the individual moments when you told your wife or your children or your parents that you love them, or any of those random acts of kindness of which you were the agent or the recipient. You certainly will not recall the sermon you heard last Sunday. But you will probably remember the exit wounds, every last splash of them.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
"Some of the culture vultures out there might want to read the Alypius incident"
A reader writes: