Archive for the ‘Image of God’ Tag

Programming, Interrupting Commercials   Leave a comment


Once upon a time, when I had a head full of black hair and dinosaurs roamed the planet, I lived near Cordele, Georgia.  Cordele had a local, independent UHF television station.  I watched enough of that station’s output to realize that the shows interrupted the advertisements.  Even worse, most of these advertisements were, to be polite, homespun.

I have noticed the same issue becoming worse on YouTube in recent years.  The advertisements are not always well-produced either.  I enjoy certain YouTube channels.  One, in particular, consists of men exploring abandoned buildings and cemeteries in western Georgia and eastern Alabama.  I, being a student of history, enjoy old buildings and cemeteries.  Call me weird, if you choose, O reader.  The content is fascinating.  The irritating factor is that, every five minutes, an advertisement interrupts the video.

I used to listen to much music on YouTube.  I, being a Western classicist, am a natural music snob.  I attest that any genre of music that is neither classical nor jazz is inferior to them.  As I once said in reference to country music, it fits the technical definition of music.  And to quote Cynthia Tucker, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, from some years ago,

Rappers would starve if they had to sing for their supper.

I may have insulted some sacred cows.  So be it.  (If I cannot express my opinions on my own weblogs, where can I express them?)  Anyhow, I used to listen to much music on YouTube.  I tired of advertisements interrupting sublimely beautiful music.

I can, of course, pay YouTube not to do this to me.  I refuse, on principle.  I refuse on the grounds that I should not have to pay people NOT to advertise to me.  The summary of my attitude toward 99.99 percent of advertising is,

Is it over yet?

Relentless advertising is an assault upon human dignity.  Your dignity, O reader, stems from you having a pulse and bearing the image of God.  So does my dignity.  My value–your value–is inherent; it has nothing to do with the ability and/or willingness to purchase or watch anything.

Here I stand.




Deplorables   4 comments

Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand:  it not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.”

–Matthew 15:10-11, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)


If Jesus were speaking today, he would include websites and social media in that statement.

I used to be a news junkie.  In the middle and late 1980s, I could recognize the names of most of the United States Senators.  In 2015 and 2016, however, I began to choose being sane over being thoroughly informed.  I also decided to tend to my spiritual life more; certain public figures were bad for it, increasing exponentially my use of profanities (in private, under my breath, of course).  I did not grow up using that kind of language routinely.

I have been monitoring the news during the last few days and becoming more horrified with each passing day.  The news stories from Charlottesville, Virginia, and now from Spain have not ceased to develop, but I have collected enough information to make a few informed and moral statements.

Racism is a sin, one that I learned by societal osmosis.  Fortunately, my parents raised me well, to reject racism.

Whenever the sin of racism raises its ugly head in my thoughts (which is to say, often), I reject it and take it to God in confessional mode.  I make no excuses for racism in myself or anyone else.  Related to that ethic, I reject all biases directed at people–on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, gender, et cetera.  Each of us bears the image of God, and therefore carries inherent dignity.  This is a morally consistent position, regardless of the mixed political labels attached to it.

Furthermore, I condemn almost all violence, for most of it is unnecessary and morally wrong.  I do understand defense of oneself and others, however.  Human nature is flawed and the world is imperfect, after all.  Certainly I condemn the violence of the racist thugs at Charlottesville last Saturday and the terrorists in Spain yesterday.  I do so without any hesitation and backtracking.  The political causes differ, but the problem of violent radicalization is the same.  The reality of the killing and injuring of innocent people is also consistent, as is the use of vehicles as deadly weapons.

Contrary to the unscripted words of the increasingly politically isolated inhabitant of the White House, he who has professed to care about getting facts straight then who, in the wake of the attacks in Spain, has tweeted a lie about General John J. Pershing killing Muslims with bullets dipped in the blood of pigs, there was no moral equivalence between Klansmen and neo-Nazis on one side and anti-racist protesters on the other.  One of the chants of the violent racists at Charlottesville was

The Jews will not replace us.

How could there, in Trump’s words, have been

very fine people

on both sides?  This week Trump seems to have prompted many prominent Republicans in Congress to do what I had thought impossible:  grow spines.  True, based on news reports, the Vice President, based on his public comments, seems to remain an invertebrate, but the list of prominent Republican vertebrates grows longer with each passing day.

I propose a simple test for one’s denunciations of neo-Nazis and Klansmen, the sort of people who chant

The Jews will not replace us.

The condemnation must be unequivocal and focused.  Klansmen and neo-Nazis must hear it and find in it no reason to agree with any of it or take comfort in it.  None of this describes Trump’s unscripted remarks, the ones that preceded his scripted remarks, the ones he retracted.

Trump could have averted this Charlottesville-related political firestorm easily.  All he had to do was make an unequivocal statement condemning Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists as well as their violence then be consistent.  But he did not do that.  He has also blamed others for the mess he made for himself.  Trump has also been more eager to condemn journalists (calling them enemies) and CEOs with social consciences (accusing them of grandstanding) than Klansmen and neo-Nazis.

Everything is wrong with this picture.