Monday, December 21, 2009

Noonan on Culture

I always enjoy reading Peggy Noonan's article on Saturday in the WSJ. She has some good insights into politics and the American culture. I sometimes disagree with what she writes, but always makes me think. I especially connected with her article this weekend about parents feeling exhausted by the energy it takes to guard their kids from the culture at large. I would take her argument one step further, believing that we don't need to just protect our kids from cultural influences before they are ready, but that we need to teach our kids how to think about the cultural influences they experience. It is more about training our kids to engage culture with a biblical worldview than escaping our culture, but it does make this parent of young children feel tired when I have to constantly be on guard for what might show up even in a commercial on TV. Here's Peggy's main thought about why most Americans feel shaky about our country (even more than economic reasons, she would say). She uses Adam Lambert's performance on ABC as a launching pad:

People were offended, and they complained. Mr. Lambert seemed surprised and puzzled. With an idiot's logic that was nonetheless logic, he suggested he was the focus of bigotry: They let women act perverse on TV all the time, so why can't a gay man do it? Fifteen hundred callers didn't see it as he did and complained to ABC, which was negligent but in the end responsive: They changed the West Coast feed and apparently kept Mr. Lambert off "Good Morning America."

Mr. Lambert's act left viewers feeling not just offended but assaulted. Again, "we don't care what you do in New York," but don't include us in it, don't bring it into our homes. Our children are here.

I don't mean to make too much of it. In the great scheme of things a creepy musical act doesn't matter much. But increasingly people feel at the mercy of the Adam Lamberts, who of course view themselves, when criticized, as victims of prudery and closed-mindedness. America is not prudish or closed-minded, it is exhausted. It cannot be exaggerated, how much Americans feel besieged by the culture of their own country, and to what lengths they have to go to protect their children from it.

It's things like this, every bit as much as taxes and spending, that leave people feeling jarred and dismayed, and worried about the future of their country.
Agree or disagree?

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