The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Monday, February 02, 2004
The Best a Man Can Get?

Much of the media this morning is focused on a few moments in a half time show where more was revealed than allowed by polite society. I was in the kitchen preparing a sandwich so I mercifully was spared the display. I was present for most of the game, however, and we have more to worry about that this momentary gaffe.

Super Bowl Sunday is the highest holy day of “american civil religion”. Churches get that kind of attendance around our country on any given Sunday, but without all the hoopla. One feature of the day is a focus on advertising. A 30 second spot cost more than a few pennies, and many advertisers put a great deal of time, energy and money into presenting some pretty spectacular ads. They spend a great amount trying to find out what sells, what it is that you and I as American consumers really want. For many years now I have been attempting to view the game in a contemplative stance, trying to articulate for myself what are the values represented by this event. Joe and Jane Pewsitter and many of their friends subscribe to these values. It is the air they the breath on a daily basis.

Let me first say that Advertising, in itself, is not evil. A person has a right to sell their beer, the newest car, or the latest in a bad of potato chips.

Yet the manner in which advertising presents itself today presents some problems. If these advertisements describe us, if they describe our deepest desires, we are in trouble.

In Advertising people are expendable objects, things are substitutes for people. Sexuality is most often portrayed as unfaithfulness, married people are unhappy or unfulfilled. Value formation is associated with the names and types of products. We are confronted with the personalization of products and a re-definition of commitment. Faith values are associated with products. Self-discovery is associated with products.

In Advertising money becomes the main symbol of human worth. We are invited to substitute relationships with cars, computers, VCRs and Bank Accounts. When there are no values only money counts. Violence is presented as redemptive, personhood is discounted, things, especially guns, are necessary for victory. In these psychological and economic enclaves, when we are a "thing,” we become unwoundable. When a body becomes a commodity and sexual mechanics is equated with computer mechanics, the result is that the body does not belong to her. When we are surrounded by value free performance and advertising, the technological, mechanical, sexual are all severed from personhood.

Why are we not surprised that Justin was not arrested? If he did that in any other venue in this country he would have been.

The most offensive ad was of referee who is able to endure horrible abuse on the field only because he is well trained for it by an abusive wife. In case you missed it, this was an advertisement for a beer.

The market longs for the destruction of the human family. After we have put asunder what God has joined they will need two homes, two or more cars, microwaves, televisions, stereos, beers, and so forth. What has happen as viewed from the towers of corporate America is that the population remains the same, advertising budgets remain the same, but the market can now be TWICE as big as it used to be.

In what universe is it funny for an elderly couple to attack each other violently over a bag of chips?

(Rant mode off) It was a good game, well played. These were two excellent teams. It was excellent community time here in the house.

I just want to know if it ever causes a question in our minds when we hear “It’s all here” and we discover that they are speaking of a beer.

For those of us who believe that the glory of God is the human person fully alive, what happens in our hearts when we hear it’s “The best a man can get,” and we discover that they are only speaking about a shave?

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 10:26 AM link
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