Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Keeping the Faith

"Touchdown Jesus", Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame University

“Touchdown Jesus”, Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame University

You may have heard some of these exchanges on recent TV ads.  I offer them up purely for your entertainment.

Moderator:  “Who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?”

Contestant:  “I don’t know”.

Moderator:  “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”

Contestant:  “Sponge Bob Square Pants!”

Moderator:  (Pointing to an American flag fluttering in the breeze) “How many stars on the flag?”

Contestant:  “I don’t know; the wind’s blowing too hard for me to count them”.

Moderator:  “Who wrote Handel’s ‘Messiah’?”

Contestant:  “I don’t read books”.

Yes, these are ads for Jay Leno’s new show starting this September on NBC.  And yes, they could be “made up” (it is, after all, going to be a comedy show).  But I would suggest that even if they are fictional, they could easily be real exchanges.  I don’t know about you, but I personally know people who would probably respond the same way.  It’s not that they’re too stupid to know these things.  They’re probably very bright.  The vast majority of people in this country are reasonably intelligent and, as Cedric noted in a comment on my last post, they’re basically “good people”, just trying to make it from one day to the next.  Life ain’t easy, especially when the economy’s in the toilet.  But not knowing stuff like this is just flat – ass lazy.  This is the simple stuff.  What happens when something “hard” comes along?

So what’s the point?  Just this.  Going through life minimally informed isn’t good enough.  Believing that what’s happening in Washington or in your own hometown doesn’t affect you is, to say the least, dangerous.  If your view of the world is based exclusively on headlines and sound-bites, or what you read on your favorite website, you’re no better off than the folks characterized in the exchanges above.

If you know anything about Notre Dame or Notre Dame football, you’ll recognize “Touchdown Jesus” in the image above.  No, I didn’t go to Notre Dame (I only wish that I did, even though I’m not Catholic).  I’m one of those people they used to call “subway alumni”.  Touchdown Jesus, of course, can be seen from inside the football stadium; you don’t have to use a lot of imagination to believe that he’s signaling a touchdown (for the Irish, of course).

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone all that well for ND football fans the last few years.  They still fill the stadium for every game and people love to watch them on TV, but other teams no longer fear them.  Losing has become all too common.  But we’ll “keep the faith”.  Maybe this year will be different……

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8 Responses to “Keeping the Faith”

  1. Paul Maxim

    Ah yes, democracy. I’m currently reading a book, Andreas, that makes me wonder even more about how well American democracy actually works. Written by Jeff Sharlet, it’s called “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power”. It documents the extraordinary influence that a religious group based in Washington has on American politics and policy. It’s members include a significant number of U. S. congressmen, governors (including the now infamous Mark Sanford of South Carolina), and other people in power. If it’s all true – and the documentation is compelling – then my vote, and everyone else’s vote, has been greatly diluted. Scary stuff.

    Reply
  2. Andreas Manessinger

    Yes, there are official structures of society and less official and sometimes almost secret parallel structures. They are less formal and in detail less stable, but in the big picture they are more stable than anything else. Money is what keeps them alive. Normally money does not simply vanish, it gets more, accumulates where already money is. Money brings the children of the wealthy to the same handfull of schools, money gets them through when ability would not, money determines their friendships and the favors they do to each other. When they desperately want something and they can only get it by democratic consent, they conjur up the ghosts of terrorism and child porn. They manipulate the media, because the media are in their hands. Well, at least the traditional media.

    Ever wondered about the current trend throughout the world to install instruments of censorship? All those child porn filters? Well, Germany just gets them and the politicians already talk about including violence and copyright infringement. The Chinese way takes over. The Internet is something that “just happened”, but if they had known what it would be, they would have controlled it early. Freely flowing information? Free communication? Scary!

    Reply
  3. Don

    I don’t know about touchdown Jesus but I see many of these players point up in the sky when they score and thank God. They should be thanking the other ten players for getting their dumbass in the endzone.

    Reply
  4. blovius

    when I was a kid – ages 5 to 13 – every autumn my father took me to at least one ND football game in South Bend. He worked for the railroad so on Friday afternoon I went to the train station – first in Syracuse, later in Rochester – met my dad and got on the train to South Bend – private sleeping compartment, deluxe dining car and club car, and some of the most friendly people on the planet – Pullman porters.

    Man, that was the way to go – a nice dinner, a drink in the club car (soda for me), a good night’s sleep in the Pullman car compartment, followed by a nice breakfast before arriving safe, sound, and refreshed in South Bend. After the game repeat the same deal in an easterly direction.

    BTW, re: “when something hard comes along” – you mean like this – http://landscapist.squarespace.com/journal/2009/8/11/civilized-ku-199-documenting-the-face-of-america.html

    Reply
  5. Paul Maxim

    Don: I’m with you on that one. How come athletes never point to the sky when they drop the ball or throw an interception or strike out in the bottom of the 9th? Isn’t the Big Guy responsible for those events, too?

    Mark: OK, I’m jealous. You must have gotten to see some good games. The whole experience must have been great. The only time I ever go to ride on a train was when Uncle Sam was sending me to Fort Dix!

    Reply

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