Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sound Bites

This morning I couldn't help but think of the Holy Father and this latest media stir after the presentation of the Seewald book interview when I read the 2nd Reading from the Office of Readings for Thursday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time, which is a quote from a homily by St John Chrysostom,  bearing the title:
       "If we are sheep, we overcome; if wolves, we are overcome"
St. John observes:
As long as we are sheep, we overcome and, though surrounded by countless wolves, we emerge victorious; but if we turn into wolves, we are overcome, for we lose the shepherd’s help. He, after all, feeds the sheep not wolves, and will abandon you if you do not let him show his power in you.
  What he says is this: “Do not be upset that, as I send you out among the wolves, I bid you be as sheep and doves. I could have managed things quite differently and sent you, not to suffer evil nor to yield like sheep to the wolves, but to be fiercer than lions. But the way I have chosen is right. It will bring you greater praise and at the same time manifest my power.” That is what he told Paul: My grace is enough for you, for in weakness my power is made perfect. “I intend,” he says, “to deal in the same way with you.” For, when he says, I am sending you out like sheep, he implies: “But do not therefore lose heart, for I know and am certain that no one will be able to overcome you.” 
Yesterday and for the umpteenth time I read somebody somewhere criticizing the Holy Father and his aides for not properly managing sound bites so as to get their message across. It would seem people can no longer be expected to read critically or to think on their feet. With reference to St. John, I think that this sort of criticism binding everything to media marketing strategies is a "wolfish" calculation. While we must be zealous about communicating I don't think that anyone's, imagined or real, less than brief attention span necessarily condemns all discourse to the tyranny of trying to master the fine art of sound bites in order to "sell" your product.
Regardless of how sophisticated some of us have become at twittering our way unto what is supposed to be knowledge through dynamic communication, reading complete sentences and paragraphs should be part of analyzing anything that is truly of value.
Timing is important for lots of things but it cannot silence me or stop the presses from rolling until I can catch that perfect wave. We print things so that people can read them when they are ready.

Why would anyone lend credence to a news headline, regardless of the paper, channel or source, if it glibly touts the opposite of all that common sense and teaching has held us to our whole life long?

1 comment:

Lux Veritatis said...

C'est si vrai. Merci pour la réflexion si à propos sur ces absurdités des journalistes qui font fi de l'usage naturel de la raison !