Shire Network News #166 has been released. The feature interview is with Bruce Bawer, the Oslo-based US author of "While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within" and Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom about his experiences as a gay man in what he thought would be a more tolerant European society, and what happened when he ran into radical Islam on the streets of Amsterdam one night. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

News coverage this week

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!"

I’ve heard this sentiment many times.  "Why do we pay pro athletes millions of dollars a year, but pay teachers so little?  Which is more important?"  Indeed, it is true that occupations like teachers, fire fighters, and police aren’t paid in accordance with their importance in our society.  Instead football, basketball and baseball players, who strut and fret their hour upon the field and then are heard no more, are lavished with huge salaries and signing bonuses.  Who decided that was how society should remunerate people?

Frankly, we did.  We pay the athletes when we pay big ticket prices at games, when we watch the Super Bowl commercials, and when we buy sport memorabilia.  And we pay our teachers when we give their jobs over to the government, when we vote for politicians who waste our tax money on pork barrel projects instead of salaries and when we cheer while spending ourselves into huge debt.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying professional sports, but if you want to know why the disparity, there it is.

Here’s another, similar sentiment.  When Private William Long was gunned down by a Muslim who was upset about US military actions, it garnered a bit of coverage.  The Commander-in-Chief did come out with a statement on the incident, 2 days after the fact.  But aside from some conservative blogs, it was soon forgotten.  Here was essentially a kid, who’d hadn’t yet seen combat, killed in his prime.  He was willing to lay down his life for his country, and he wound up doing just that soon after finishing basic training.  This was a kid worthy of having the country hear his story; worthy of mourning.

When singer Michael Jackson died…well, you know what happened.  Here was essentially a man who was obsessed with his appearance to the point of overindulging in plastic surgery, and was taking a cocktail of pain killers as a result (and a cocktail of mood enhancers, hinting at the cause of the indulgence in plastic surgery).  Here’s a guy who dangled his child over a balcony, although the lineage of his children is now in question.  Speaking of children, here’s a guy who has had very questionable relationships with young boys.  And, oh yes, he had some hit songs in the 70s and 80s.  Since his death, there’s been non-stop coverage of it and its aftermath.  Who decided this is how news coverage should be doled out?

Frankly, we did.  We decided when people flocked the Apollo Theater and Neverland Ranch.  We did when we conferred on him the title of "King of Pop".  We did when we did all this while ignoring or brushing off his Howard-Hughes-like behavior, becoming no better than the codependent Yes-men and Yes-women he surrounded himself with.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a song on the radio or buying a vintage copy of the "Thriller" album.  But if you want to know why the disparity, there it is.

I don’t know, maybe I’m turning into my dad, who didn’t quite get the whole deal made over the death of John Lennon.  Or perhaps I’ve always been him; I didn’t quite get it either.  Yeah, the Beatles were music legends, but really.  You see video of girls crying when the Beatles came on stage, but just recently, as news of the release of Michael Jackson’s last rehearsal tape leaking hit all the evening cable news outlets, one channel was replaying a concert that the Jacksons did just a few years ago.  Yup, crying girls. 

This isn’t a generational thing; it’s a celebrity thing.  It’s image and packaging, and it’s ignoring what’s important to elevate that which is, essentially, a facade.

It’s kind of like electing a President who promises change, and then doesn’t, or who promises fiscal responsibility while spending us into a level of debt previously unimaginable.  But he says the right things and makes a good speech, and the Left in this country just drools over it.  You can almost hear the teenage girls crying in the audience, and the teenage boy on the old "American Bandstand" show saying, "Well it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it; I give it a 95."

If we don’t watch it, we might look right past obvious problems, buy into the image and elect a Michael Jackson, or a John Lennon…or a Vladimir Lenin.  Some might say we already have. 

Oh, and as a public service, and in case you missed it while watching the Michael Jackson coverage; there are reports that North Korea will be testing an ICBM and more nuclear devices soon.  Y’know, you may want to consider this.

Filed under: CultureHomosexualityIslamMusicPodcastsReligionShire Network News

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