I had a Chinese takeaway for tea tonight- Mandarin City at Ballyhackamore, excellent if a bit on the pricey side. Whilst waiting for my order I read a bit of the Belfast Telegraph and was struck by two star stories.
Story 1 was a headline story about Belfast born tv presenter Eamonn Holmes using some obscene language in an interview with Maxim magazine- imagine the shock of finding someone using foul language in a quasi-pornographic magazine. Holmes it said was unrepentant over the language he used. He said, “And what – you’re not supposed to use it?” It shows how much we buy into the images that television presents us with. In this case Eamonn Holmes daytime tv presenter with easy-going charm and slightly bland persona. That his use of foul language should be an issue exposes how much we use the unreality of tv to anaesthetise to reality. To borrow from TS Eliot we cannot stand too much reality. As Christians it has struck me for a long time that we ought to engage our critical faculties much more as we consider not only the content of of tv programmes but the role that it plays in shaping our worldview.
Story 2 was a feature on Owen Wilson the Hollywood star who it is alleged recently tried to commit suicide. Again it plays against Owen’s laid back, fun loving guy persona. Clearly however for all his success Owen is a very unhappy man. The really said thing that the article brought out was that no-one in Hollywood really cared about Owen. The big concern was how this might impact projects that Owen is tied into. Owen for all his money and fame is a product, not a person. Not for the first time fame is shown to have a bitter aftertaste. I am reminded of the words of psychiatrist David Serwan-Schreiber writing in the Times a few years back of celebrities who have lived fast and died tragically. he spoke of how they discovered that, ‘Not talent, or glory, or money or the admiration of others can make life fundamentally easier.’ I hope Wilson recovers not only physically but that he is also restored to psychological and spiritual well-being.
We live in an escapist culture where many will buy into the unreal image of the screen and where many will seek salvation in the pursuit of such unreality. The ultimate reality however is God. We live in his world and the relationship we have with him is ultimately all that matters about us.