Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Most Important Event there Ever Was

The French poet and essayist Charles Péguy once noted that "Homer is new and fresh this morning, and nothing, perhaps, is so old and tired as today's newspaper".  An inspiring news report is difficult to find; one that is instructive may be difficult to read.  Journalist Malcolm Muggeridge once confessed that "I've often thought that if I'd been a journalist in the Holy Land at the time of our Lord's ministry, I should have spent my time looking into what was happening in Herod's court.  I'd be wanting to sign Salome for her exclusive memoirs, and finding out what Pilate was up to, and- I would have missed completely the most important event there ever was". (First ThingsWhy the News Makes us Dumb)  Similarly, in her analysis of Mark Bauerlein's book The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes our Future (or Don't Trust Anyone under 30), poet and homeschooling mother Sally Thomas observed that instead of producing a generation of geniuses, digital technology is having the opposite effect. (see I-phones Have Consequences)

From the crack of dawn journalists yoddle from media mountain tops about the wrestling match between Romney/Ryan and Obama/Biden, the European Union's Nobel Peace Prize, or the Major League Baseball pennant race, while social media and technology gurus echo their reports through the cultural valleys and lowlands.  If in the evening the clouds of cacophony were to part and the North Star blaze silently through the sky, the magazines, newspapers, and blogs of the following morning might still read: "Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo" and every Facebook and Twitter post resonate with "O ho lay dee odl lee o, o ho lay dee odl ay".  Meanwhile, if a celestial observer were alert enough to witness such a sidereal phenomenon, his report would hardly be received any better than Amahl's report to his mother in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Modern-day Herods, Salomes and Pilates will continue their charades, and the electronic echo of the  ubiquitous yodeling will only grow louder.  But Homer is still new, Amahl still beckons, and the messages of those who see things as they really are will ripple through every corner of cyberspace, sending waves of good news about the most important event there ever was.