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Cultural Stupor

We’ve been hearing about these mass deaths of birds and fish recently, and there have been no end to both speculative and inane causes proposed. Conspiracy theorists have been having a heyday with it. Yet, game shows, sports and reality TV dominate our attention as a nation.

Our infatuation with mindless entertainment is distressing, though I sometimes get caught up in it myself. Tonight, I went to a friend’s house for dinner and game night, and while we waited variously for others to arrive or the young children to be put to bed, we watched “Wheel of Fortune” and “Minute to Win It,” even paying attention to the latter over dinner. They’re game shows for Pete’s sake, and “Minute” is a series of mostly silly party games, yet we got into it as these Coyote Ugly-style barmaids tried to win money for one’s parents’ struggling salon and to bring the other’s mother to live nearby from across the country. Then we went on to play our own (board) game.

Diversion is fine, yet I find myself curiously agreeing with Neil Postman that we are likely “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” As we fill our minds with vapid entertainment, does it dull our awareness of the world around us and our ability to analyze what we do perceive?

Why are these birds and fish suddenly dying en masse? In this ordered world of cause and effect that God created, something is causing it, and if the reports are as truly widespread geographically and the numbers of dead animals as high as reports say, then there is something big going on. Of course, unfortunately, the first question we have to deal with is, “are the reports even accurate?” Then we can start chasing after causes.

For better or worse, most people (myself included, somewhat), listen to the story with half an ear, tsk, and move on to the next thing, thinking it’s ‘not my problem,’ letting the authorities and experts figure it out. That’s what they’re paid for, after all.

The question in my mind is, are we frogs in a slowly heating pot, or blissfully ignorant in true safety and comfort? How do we tell the difference? Maybe, we should wake up regardless, and live the lives God has given us and let Heaven be the time for comfort and bliss. Given that He has prepared good works ahead of time for us and warns us of the days being evil, I’d rather live than exist.

The final question is, “How?”


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