Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter morning musings, from the post-Xian side

Happy Easter:

Easter greetings from one who is celebrating the high holy day with very little fanfare, other than a nod to the Christian calendar’s high ranking of the day.

As one who considers himself post-Christian (or Xian), I view the day with mixed emotions. Part of me dismisses all Xian celebrations with disdain and a measure of irony. Part of me (the part who at one time considered himself a believer) has a remembrance of what the day meant at one time and even has some fondness for the narrative of the resurrection story.

As someone who studies the culture and has closely followed the latest follies of self-professed Xians of the radical right (my designation) regarding Terri Schiavo, I had a few thoughts on Easter Sunday.

Last evening, my wife and I were making our three hour drive home, after watching two baseball games in Norton, Massachusetts, involving our son's college team. We were listening to Boston’s WBZ (AM-1030) and a Saturday evening program hosted by Pat Desmarais.

Desmarais, who self-identifies as a Republican, proved that thoughtful dialogue on the radio and his particular party affiliation are not mutually exclusive. It is rare in this age of hyperbolic demagoguery to find someone of his political stripe, who is able to look at an issue and not revert to knee-jerk soundbites and party talking points.

His observations about the Schiavo case were as thoughtful and nuanced as I’ve heard on the matter. I wish I could say the same about some of the moronic callers he so patiently entertained during his two-hour program. Many of them were frightening examples of the lack of critical thinking skills rampant in America. Several recited points that they obviously had imbibed from dubious sources named Limbaugh, O’Reilly and Hannity, such as Michael Schiavo’s living arrangements with another woman, his alleged abuse of Ms. Schiavo and other impertinent points making the rounds on the lunatic fringes of the right.

Parting shots:

-Overheard from Daniel Schorr in a commentary he gave on NPR

"The case is full of great ironies. A large part of Terri's hospice costs are paid by Medicaid, a program that the administration and conservatives in Congress would sharply reduce. Some of her other expenses have been covered by the million-dollar proceeds of a malpractice suit - the kind of suit that President Bush has fought to scale back."

-Thank God for Boondocks

From Sojourners Magazine and writer Danny Duncan Collum, about Aaron McGruder’s daily cartoon.

Collum wrote:

"In a world gone mad, we need artists to remind us that we’re not the ones who are crazy. So I’m beginning an irregular series of Cultural Survival Tips for the Age of Bush. Here’s tip #1: The Boondocks, the daily comic strip by the young African-American writer/artist Aaron McGruder."

He goes on to write:

"Boondocks views the world through the eyes of a group of black kids in a predominantly white suburb (the "boondocks" of the title). The two main characters, Huey and his brother Riley, were moved from the South Side of Chicago out to the boonies to live with their grandfather.

The strip is going on its sixth year now, and the kids haven’t aged. They are like the Peanuts kids. Except that the Peanuts kids lived (then and now) in a timeless bubble of childhood, mostly safe from the outside world.

Boondocks reflects the fact that, in the 21st century, the bubble has evaporated. These kids are exposed to the big, chaotic, and confusing world of the mass media, and left mostly on their own to make sense of it. This gives McGruder a perfect voice for his profound and perpetual outrage at the media lies and pop-cultural idiocy that fill the air of our daily lives, and the machinations of corporate greed that the media circus conceals."

If you’ve never seen it, check it out.

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