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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Family Feud Approach...

I'm planning pre-Mass Christmas music, and reading about polls as to whether Bishop Tobin or the hapless Rep. Kennedy is "right," and my mind is wandering...

I can understand secular press coverage of the latter matter, but am less certain of the point of their voting (who should be kicked out of the Big Brother House next? seems more appropriate to be answered by that means.)

Ever watch Family Feud?

It is the quintessential modern American game show -- why?

Because the contestant's aim is not to come up with the correct answer to anything, but the most popular answer.

We as a society have fetishized "majority rules," not just in deciding upon courses of action, but in discerning truth.
Whatever most people think must be right, right?

How often in programming music intended to give shape to our corporate worship of the Triune God and to edify and sanctify ourselves, is "people like/want/expect it" given as the reason that trumps all others.

A total stranger struck up a conversation with me once during a theater intermission. He asked if I had seen the biggest show in town, a just-opened, multi-million dollar spectacle.

As it happens, he and I had both been at opening night. "Whadya think of...?" he named the leading man.

"Not much," I began, intending to go into the unsupported high notes of his Amercian Idol-style singing, his wayward intonation in the middle of his range, the self-indulgent histrionics that kept him from connecting with anyone else on stage.

I never got the chance, because he interrupted me, demanding, "Three thousand people gave him a standing ovation, who's right, them or you??!?#?!?"

Such a question presumes there is only possible one answer. ("Survey says....")

I don't make a practice of telling people that they are wrong to like what they like, (though if asked I am ready to give reasons for my dismissal of something.)

And there are some questions that really are just matter of "taste."

I'm trying to remember that as I shudder at the thought of some of the choir favorites -- after all this is extra-liturgical.
So what if I like beets and someone else prefers limas...

(Incidentally, so what if Fr Z or anyone else rallies his troops to sway such polls? they are ultimately meaningless attempts to gauge public passion, no?)

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