Tuesday, 21 December 2010

the monsters we have created

       For the past 24 or so hours there has been an uprising among my friends and others through Facebook, blogs and other virtual battlefields.  It all comes from a most disturbing display of "humour" through a set homemade greeting cards that are listed for sale on Etsy.  Now, I like Etsy.  Some of my friends have their beautifully crafted handwork on there.  There is nothing better than spending an evening browsing the stores of jewelry, home decor, clothing and other fun stuff.  Etsy offers a wonderful service for these creative souls to display and sell their works of art.
       Yesterday I saw the UGLY of Etsy.  There is an individual that has decided that his contribution to this great sales space is greeting cards that he believes are funny for awkward situations.  Situations like finding out you have breast cancer, having a child with Down's Syndrome, or getting raped.  Yea, really funny.  He also has decided that Jesus Christ is another worthwhile target to mock.  
       My first reaction to this was the usual one for me... freak out.  I wanted this guy stopped and brought to justice...boycott, email campaign, media outrage...whatever it would take.  I have read hundreds of comments, letters and opinions - on both sides of the debate.   From this I have come to one conclusion...

we have created a monster

       If you watch tv or movies - especially comedies - you can rarely find one that doesn't offend a culture, disability, faith, or sex.  It seems to be believed by the masses that if the outcome is a smile, giggle or laugh - then it's okay to be offensive or mean.  That makes me so very very sad. 
      But we let it happen.  Someone commented on the Etsy Facebook site that things like the sentiments on the card are regular occurrences on shows like Family Guy and Southpark.  Even Glee has recently contained some things that I have had to stop and say "wait a minute - that's not right".  We are becoming more and more de-sensitized to the mean-ness going on all around us.  Then today - when something is so blatantly offensive - the reaction is huge.  But why don't we react to the more subtle instances of nastiness.  
        I don't stand against comments from ignorant people.  I'm not comfortable with confrontation of mean-ness in others. I'm definitely not comfortable with confrontation of mean-ness in myself.  I would rather ignore it because it doesn't hurt me.  Now I have found out differently.  It has hurt me.  It has hurt our whole society.  We are a nasty human race.  Sure at Christmas we are all about the good cheer and happy holidays - but come Boxing Day - we go back to every man for himself.   (...actually I found that yesterday in the Bower Mall parking lot there was very little good cheer)
I'm not sure how to change that.  Have we gone so far that we can't bring back politeness and respect for people?  Is there any way that common decency and courtesy can come back into fashion to replace the ugliness that has taken over our world?

Something to think about... 


Krista said...

I guess I just don't get out enough, or watch tv enough or whatever enough, but you're right. Our society is deteriorating. Personally, the straw which broke the camel's back was that a major corporation would stand against the pressure to make a point (or whatever they are doing.) I think perhaps, we hope that the subtle slams are slip ups and we hope that they don't mean what we think they mean. Whatever the case, we do need more cheer, more love, more respect. I guess that is what it means to live in a world full of sinful people.

Ben said...

I think it starts with one person at a time believing that God's command to love Him with one's whole heart and to love one's neighbour as oneself actually does apply in the "down and dirty" everydayness. Words do matter and I think that the more we think about what we say and how it affects those around us, the more we begin to realize the power of freedom of speech. We have created a monster but I don't believe that it has suddenly crept up on us or appeared since the days of the Loveboat. Pilate asked the question "What is truth?" right in front of Truth himself before he gave Him up to death. Yet thanks be to God that He raised Him up again and we can experience that power to face down the insanely brutal nature that lies beneath the sickly beautiful parody that our Western ambivalence has produced. Beauty can come from ashes and I would say that where some of our greatest strengths as Christians lie, "what you meant for evil God meant for good". Let's stand up to it!

BTW if you put www in front of the Arts Academy link on your blog it will lead to the new site rather than the old one. Thanks and Merry Christmas!