Monday, July 10, 2023

The god of outrage. . .

Honestly, you cannot invent what craziness is in the news. Consider the recent events in LA and a group of not so nuns. In days gone by sports worked very hard to avoid politics or just about anything in the news. It was the grand egalitarian sport that brought the diverse together despite divisions of religion, politics, economic and social class. This was America -- warts and all but gathered in one place around the national pass time. When it seemed that the viewership was in decline, the paeans of sports decided that that to save the sport, they might have to kill it. Enter the politics. Players taking a knee during the national anthem or protesting (Black Lives Matter or a host of other edgy causes). Who would have thought something like this might happen? Perhaps the halls of fame should jump in with days that cater to all the different opinions about this or that and thus mirror what has become the norm in stadiums around the nation.

When the Los Angeles Dodgers entered the fray, they were looking to promote Pride Night and to find their way onto the radar of those not normally in the stands -- even if that meant jumping square into the national debate. So they first invited, then uninvited, and now invited again, wringing their hands with regret, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a famous San Francisco group of queer and trans people dressed as nuns. I can only imagine what was going on in the backrooms of the Dodgers. Some worried about offending Roman Catholics, perhaps the largest single religious group in the stands. Others sought to put the Dodgers on the map, and others wished the whole thing would just go away. So, who shall we offend today in pursuit of some media attention and to show we are on the cutting edge of cultural change?

That is the point. The god whom the corporations and media serve is the god of outrage. How outrageous can they be? How many can they offend? They have decided that Trump was right -- there is no such thing as bad publicity. Outrage and being outrageous have become the primary commodities of advertising and business today. Consider the idiots at Budweiser who ignored their market and decided to offend the folks who buy their products. Social conscience is not really social conscience as much as it is the idea that outrage and being outrageous is where it is at today. By the way, this does not simply apply to business and advertising. It has long been the rage among the fashion designers who design not for normal wear but to be noticed.

In politics and religion the path is set to the same trajectory. It does not seem that anyone on any side in politics pays any cost for being outrageous and for trying to tap into outrage for political benefit. What is said and how it is said seems to imply no one will ever be held accountable for their outrageous words. Well, that is almost true. You cannot afford to offend the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence or the Muslims -- but everyone else is certainly fair game. Even in my own staid little church body, you cannot have a reasoned discussion over the merits or faults of something, say, like a book on Luther's Large Catechism. No, it has to arise to the level of outrage and indignation and almost invites the outrageous to say outrageous things. If you do not like the book, you are a racist and if you do you have joined the woke. Is it really that simple? Of course not but the only way you will get attention is to be outrageous. The god of the day is outrage -- be outrageous and say outrageous things in order to get noticed. Like the conservative blogs who say boomers are responsible for every evil today and the progressive ones who insist that you support rainbow politics or you are not Christian.

We are all part of it. We use extreme adjectives to describe the things we do not like or the inconveniences we have endured as if this were somehow the equivalent of those who made their way through depression or world war. Listen to how often we describe things and people as horrible or the worst. There is little room for nuance anywhere anymore. And the cost of it all is civility.

1 comment:

Carl Vehse said...

"Listen to how often we describe things and people as horrible or the worst."

With the demand to submit to the Marxist diversity, inclusion, and equity (D.I.E.) mantra, the continuing support for the demonic slaughter of (so far 60 million) children of the womb, the glorification of every kind of sexual perversion, and the deliberate efforts to destroy the constitutional foundation of the United States, describing the advocates and enablers of these things as "lying, murdering traitors" is not horrible or the worst, but rather an understatement.

OTOH, calling the LCMS congregational member at the genesis of providing evidence of LLCACA essay heterodoxies a Nazi, fascist, and white supremacist is most definitely horrible or worse.