Monday, May 16, 2011

Any News?

I guess I’m sick of it. And I’m going to use my blog to vent. Can I just go on record and say I couldn’t care less whether that kid in Connecticut gets to go to his senior prom or not? Apparently, he broke some rule that disqualified him from going to prom, but thanks to modern social media, the outcry against the school administrator for enforcing the rules became so loud that the woman had to relent, say the rule doesn’t really matter after all, and let the kid go to his prom. And this, dear reader, is news? In today’s world, yes it is. Oh, there have to be reports and interviews and opinion polls and discussion ad nauseum by the networks and cable news channels over whether or not this kid gets to go to his prom. Please!!!

There has always been a market for human interest stories. In the small town in which I did some of my growing up, our local, twice-a-week newspaper had a column called “Down DD.” The column was some local yokel's account of what went on down DD highway: who ate dinner with whom, who got a new tractor, who got a letter from their son back east, who put a new coat of paint on their house—that kind of stuff. That’s called human interest, but even as a kid, it seemed to me the only humans interested in reading that drivel were the humans who lived down DD. I don’t think anyone in Connecticut would have had an iota of interest. I’m not sure anyone in our small town did. There’s a reason why that column was never syndicated in say, The Washington Post, The LA Times, or the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. And it’s the same reason Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley never brought it up on the nightly news: nobody cared. And yet we’re all supposed to care about the kid in Connecticut who, save a national outcry, was almost shut out of his prom. That’s national news these days. And it’s been covered with as much detail and manpower as the killing of Usama Bin Laden.

I suppose we just have too much media: 24-hour cable news, four networks, countless internet news sources, Twitter, Facebook, and all the rest. With that much opportunity to report news and opine (which means guests interrupt and yell at each other on national TV), I guess you have to find something to fill up the time. Maybe that’s why we have to listen to the ongoing brattish behavior of Lindsey Lohan, the self-destruction of Charlie Sheen, and (dare I say it) the recent royal wedding, as if these things had the gravitas of the war on terror, our national economic struggles, and the powder keg going off in the Arab world. My fear is that our youngest generations may never know the difference between news and trivia, national/international interest and human interest, stories that matter and stories that amuse and entertain.

I enjoy a good human interest story now and then, but by nature I am not a busybody and have no need to know other people’s business. My own business is plenty enough for me to manage. That may help me here, I don’t know. So when I think of real news, I think about things that have an impact on whole communities, the nation, and the world, not on who gets shut out of the prom, who just got divorced, the latest goings-on in the life of some celebrity, or even who shows up on the “police blotter.” I want to know about things that impact on a much larger scale.

Which may be why I love being a preacher. I get to tell the best and most important news of all: that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scripture, that He was buried, and that He was raised from the dead on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4). What God did for us in Christ impacts persons, nations, history, and the whole wide world! Christ loves, redeems, transforms, heals, disciplines, and judges on scales large and small. And that, my friend, is news. It’s old news but it always feels new to everyone Christ touches. In fact, the Bible calls it good news. And I get to be a frontline reporter of that news every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

So there, I’ve had my chance to vent. I’m sure I’m overreacting—I do that sometimes. And while I do feel better for getting this off my chest, it certainly doesn’t qualify as news any more than the Connecticut boy and his senior prom. Can we just move on?

1 comment:

  1. Get it off your chest, my friend. I know you feel better and I agree with you 100%. But you didn't mention my favorite small town newspaper sign off - "and a good time was had by all."