Saturday, April 26, 2008

Percy's Response to the Lowest Common Denominator

There is, it seems to me, a sense in which the LCD can appeal to us in the wrong way. But in some respects, I think these things are ok to indulge in as believers. Just the other day at the dinner table—among my families discussions on politics, religion, and current events—we talked about Shakira (who had just visited Congress), whether TomKat are getting a divorce (they're not...), and yes even Oprah. They're lots of other things that appeal to the LCD in our culture which I'd put among that sports, amusement parks, shopping malls, etc. Each of these has their strengths and their flaws. Some more apparent than others. So I don't think it's pure crass consumerism that's the LCD danger.

The LCD danger comes more from what Walker Percy tries to get at both in The Last Gentleman and The Moviegoer. It's a malaise of daily life whose banality might overwhelm us, but whose discomfort we gladly solace with superficial relationships and petty activities that provide a poor imitation of "the real thing." I worry a lot about false friendships that cover up my own faults and provide only comfort but not healing to my own injuries. Catholicism, I think, forces us to deal with what's the really real about about us (our sin, iniquity, and weakness) and what's really real about God and the world He has created (redemption through His son and a place in His reign through His created world).

In that sense, I can go along enjoying roller-coasters, drinking, and sports with the best of my Pagan friends. But suddenly they mean something really different to me and I'm living life.

Although, sadly, I still do have a guilty weakness for Shakira....


Christopher said...

Nothing sad about the Shakira love. For me, its Enrique - Escape comes on and my hips will not stop (nor lie). Embrace it.

Anamaria said...

Shakira and Enrique. Both. With no guilt.