Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Catholicism in Popular Entertainment

Apparently the finale of "Lost" (a show I never found engaging enough to watch,) was unsatisfying to many people, but did affirm for some the theory, (which many viewers had from the series' earliest days, Amy Welborn, for one, I believe,) that its island location was a riff on purgatory.

The internet has blurred for me the lines between professional writers and the rest of us -- I find myself unable to tell which web-pages are littered with the words of people like me, who like to shoot their mouths off simply because they suffer the delusion that other people might be interested in their thoughts, and which, even though abysmally written and poorly researched, have at least the credibility given to them by the fact that someone else was willing to pay for those words.

Anyway number of blogs, e-zine, whatever, that do indeed seem to be written by people who are actually paid to expound their opinions don't seem to have utilized even the most basic, simply-accomplished research -- purgatory is not the concept of Catholicism,that the dead receive a "second chance."

I guess this shouldn't be a surprise, as writing that is definitely done by "professionals," in actual, long-time print media, by people with titles like "Religion Writer" often display woeful ignorance and intellectual laziness in regards to Catholicism.

Since this is something I know at least a little about, I can only assume that such media is equally inaccurate and careless about faiths I don't know much about.

Back to "Los"t, it is intriguing to me that a major-pop-phenomenon-tv-show would have such an overtly Catholic aspect to its premise.

How often does anything specifically Catholic find its way onto television screens? (other than in reruns of "Raymond",, and in B horror movies -- because cataclysmic battles between the Forces of Good and the Forces of Evil are cooler with the Dies Irae playing in the background, and if creatures from the netherworld are going to wreak havoc on a place of worship, crashing statues and shattering stained glass are more picturesque than the alternatives, right?)

I thought that rather a shame, but in the category of being careful what ya wish for?

I am troubled by something Google has brought to my attention - apparently some of the aforementioned Housewives are self-proclaimed "devout Catholics." (Are the California ones WASPs, the New Yorkers Jews and the Atlanta women Baptists, I wonder?)

One episode featured a woman yelling at the priest to whom she went for confession/spiritual counseling, (filming it means it can't really have been the former, but in any case, what was the man thinking?); another has asked a Buddhist to stand up as godmother at her baby's Christening, and another puts equal stock in the intercessory power of the Blessed Mother and the power of smudging herbs.

But again, I guess this shouldn't be a surprise either, considering the loathsome "catechesis" to which many erstwhile Catholics have been subjected in my lifetime.

As long as you're a nice person, right...


Charles said...

There is another show, on cable TNT, with an overtly Catholic subtext, namely "Amazing Grace" with Holly Hunter's troubled (Madonna/Whore) police detective character's guardian angel, "Earl," making 3D appearances to her. One of her brothers is a priest, her siblings still go to Mass, and "big picture" philosophies are routinely sewn into the fabrics of most episode plots. R rated.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I did see some of that in its early days.
Good catch.

Charles said...

Show title should read:
"Saving Grace"