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The Real American Idols

This was a posting I created for Facebook, but given the nature of FB (and even this blog--ephemeral) I thought I'd repost it and add some commentary. I don't know that these are in any particular order and I also don't think that I am completely immune from the allure of some of them.

Here's an easy one:
SEX

America is obsessed with sex (and yet, I'd wager so is every other nation on earth, they just don't have billions of dollars to spend on advertising, entertainment media, and pornography.) We're fairly gnostic about the whole thing. Some claim our bodies don't matter "It's only my body, it's not like that's my soul or anything!" We don't celebrate sex among the aged (unless you count the erectile dysfunction commercials) or the infirm. No, the only bodies we want to see naked are air-brushed, slicked-up, photo-shopped, and muscular and toned. I think we're scared of any other kind of body.

Money

Again, not something particular to America, but we have the mass media infrastructure to either showcase those who have it (to wake the green-eyed monster) or to constantly blather on about how much more you can make with this program, and don't you deserve better, and if you can't pay for it now simply charge it. All of us bear some blame for this current economic crisis. Sure, some of us didn't take huge loans with no possible way to pay back, but did we curb our consumerism? Hardly! That's Un-American--after all, our entire economy is G.O.D.'s--Grow Or Die! And now look at it. If you decide to stop consuming needlessly you might be put on the Department of Homeland Security's list of potential Right-Wing Extremists.

Celebrity

Who doesn't want to be famous for something? How many of us jump up and down, frantically waving our hands when the TV cameras are present for the accident? How many of us eat up People magazine, TMZ, and all kinds of celebrity gossip? Why, we'll watch someone who's simply famous for being famous. I don't know about you, but I am so thankful that my local newscast will forego truly interesting stories about my community in favor of Miley Cyrus' latest comment or what new project Brangelina are working on to fill our vacuous lives. Somewhere between sex and celebrity is the hinge of youth.

Autonomy

This one is a bit trickier--perhaps more insidious, since it's less obvious. Autonomy intrinsically, like sex, is a good thing. We should strive to rule ourselves--with virtue--but we in the West have radicalized it. Now it's "You can't judge me--only God can judge me!" "Who the fuck are you to tell me how to live my life?" On and on. I'm not interested in telling you how to live your life, but sir, madam, hardly any of your choices are truly private. How you choose to live in many ways affects me and my children. Perhaps if you'd think of others once in a while, beside your highly divinized self, maybe, just maybe we wouldn't have all the problems we do right now. "Choice" is this idol's sister.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism


This is the most recent idol seen in these parts for it requires a bastard form of Christianity (or perhaps Judaism). Here are the tenets of MTD:
1) God exists and He made everything.
2) He doesn't do much these days except leave pennies and dimes for me to find.
3)He certainly doesn't expect to lay any demands on my life.
4)God does, however, want me to be happy, hence #2.
5)The highest virtue, in fact, is for me to be happy.
6)The only true moral code to live by is "Be Nice," unless that interferes with #5 (can you see the idol of autonomy creeping in here?)
7)If I follow #5 and 6 then surely, when I die, I will receive my reward in Heaven.

What other idols could you add to this list?

Comments

Anastasia said…
Very astute observations.
I concur.

I might add "Youth" to that list.
Scot said…
Yep, I tied that in with sex and celebrity.

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