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Friday, February 17, 2012

Engagement and Disengagement

Julie Christie and Oskar Werner watch Our Family Theater

Referring to yesterday's post about cable TV, I actually do feel an "engagement" with the things I view. I actually do believe that "feeling the engagement" with the pretty people who eat fried foods on The Chew is pretty much how I feel engaged with the News, or with people who are on TV and trying to persuade me to buy or believe, and will lead me to easily be persuaded to someone's point of view: they are such nice folks! let's vote for 'em and have 'em lead us to war!

The problem with FOX being the most watched news is not so much their skewed views of things, but it is the engagement of the viewers with the TV people: it is exactly like Our Family Theater in Fahrenheit 451 - it is not so much what they are doing, but it is more the case that we feel they actually care about how we feel.

When FOX cancels someone, his or her fans howl that they have fired the only true Conservative on cable.
We know the complainers have not evaluated anything like political philosophy, but are responding to the rupture of their long-standing "engagement" - the unspoken vows of mutual fidelity are broken. (This applies to all networks. I pick on FOX because of Murdoch's affairs.)

This is capable of experimentation. Orson Welles demonstrated with The War of the Worlds that Drama maybe mistaken for News, and such occurrences have happened frequently since then.
Often the only way we have to distinguish reality from fiction is the word of the person with whom we are engaged: whom we trust and believe in...
It is in our natures to create family and society, and to amend ourselves by hospitality to allow precious guests to enter our lives and live with us, whether Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, or Ahab and Jezebel; our urge to engage is immediate and strong...
Walking along the dusty road to Emaus, we take up a companionship with a stranger...

Truth is not within the media center in the family room, where we dwell in familial pleasures and blessings; Truth we have touched at Ephrata, and we have heard of it in the wild wood...
Truth is a moving target for us. We must run after it.

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