Skip to comments.God Shows Up Even on Television
Posted on 09/15/2013 4:17:04 PM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
Not long after his appointment as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Norman Minnow famously delivered a keynote speech at the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters.
He challenged the television executives gathered in the convention hall to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you.
Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off, he said. I can assure that what you will observe is a vast wasteland. You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons.
Minnow spoke those words all the way back in 1961. And since then, television has become an even more vast wasteland.
Indeed, the game shows of yesteryear have been supplanted by reality shows that celebrate decadence and depravity, like E! networks Keeping Up With the Kardasians, whose star, Kim, is know for her explicit sex tape, her 72-day marriage to a pro jock, and her recent out-of-wedlock birth to a daughter whom she cleverly named North (because her babys fathers surname is West. Get it?).
The formula comedies about totally unbelievable families have given way today to sitcoms glorifying dubious families like the homosexual couple with an adopted child on NBCs The New Normal.
The blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism and murder that appeared on the small screen in 1961 has been ramped up a half-century later with such popular shows as AMCs The Walking Dead, Showtimes Dexter, CBS Criminal Minds and Foxs The Following.
And the benign cartoons of a generation ago have been replaced with todays decidedly unwholesome cartoons, like FOXs Family Guy, which regularly caricaturizes both God and the Son of God in the most offensive ways.
Yet, the Christian faithful should not entirely despair of what appears on television. Because the Lord often shows up on TV, when and where least expected. And His light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.
Were not referring here to Christian television, like Trinity Broadcasting Network, Christian Broadcasting Network or Daystar.
Were not talking about the television ministries of such pastors as Joel Osteen, John Hagee, David Jeremiah and Charles Stanley.
Nor about programming specifically targeting people of faith, like The Bible, the miniseries produced by the Christian couple Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, which aired on History channel this past spring.
No, what were talking about are the instances when God shows up on mainstream TV. When He sends a shout-out to a television audience that is not expecting Him; when He reveals his ominpresence those with eyes to see, and ears to hear.
Like last week, when ABCs Good Morning America aired a segment on Leon Harris, longtime news anchor at the networks local affiliate in Washington, D.C., who recounted his recent near-death experience.
On two days, said Harris, I died, only to be miraculously revived by an otherworldly force. God kicked my butt out of heaven twice, Harris told Claire Shipman, who interviewed him for GMA. So, he said, Im supposed to be here.
God similarly showed up unexpectedly last week on the season finale of Jungle Gold, the reality show that airs on the Discovery Channel. The show chronicled the travails of George Wright and Scott Lomu, who left their homes in Utah to mine for gold in the African nation of Ghana.
They stuck a deal with Dave Thomas, a British expatriot, who makes Ghana his home and somehow controls the rights to 70 square miles of prime gold-bearing ground in the countrys Ashanti region.
The way Thomas was portrayed on the show made it appear he was trying to take advantage of the Yanks to enrich himself (notwithstanding that Thomas agreed to give Wright and Lomu a 70 percent split of a gold stake worth an estimated at $2.5 million).
Not until the season finale did we learn that Thomas is a man of faith; that he and his wife have planted a church in the Ghana town of Accra; and that he plans to use the money gleaned from gold mining to grow the ministry to the glory of God.
The Almighty seems to have a thing for the Discovery Channel. Because the network recently re-aired the documentary, Life Before Birth, narrated by actress Courtney Cox.
The journey from conception to birth is miraculous and mysterious, said Cox, who may be a Hollywood liberal, but sounded very much like a pro-life conservative in the film.
Indeed, she said, a mere two weeks after conception, miraculous changes have taken place. The embryos are developing the germ of a brain and a spinal cord. And, just a few days later, a tiny heart, no bigger than a poppy seed, begins to beat.
That the actress used such words as miraculous, and such New Testament references as poppy seed, suggests that she secretly shares common cause with Christians who believe that life begins at conception.
Many others who appear on television are unabashed in their promotion of the Gospel.
Like the kids on season 7 of FOXs American Idol, who delivered a powerful rendition of the well-know praise and worship song Shout to the Lord. Like Nik Wallenda, who tight-roped across Niagra Falls, calling upon the name of the Lord the entire way. And like Phil Robertson, patriarch of Louisiana family that stars in A&Es Duck Dynasty, who pays homage to the Lord before every on-screen family meal.
Who knows? God just might show up on TV this evening at the Miss America Pageant. We understand that Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, is not just the first contestant to publicly display a tattoo, she also has publicly professed that she is a Christian.
Wouldnt it be something if she turned out to be a pageant finalist?
Mayhem has turned into gayhem.
In Norway, news are fully given over to “your Royalty and celebrities”, a subset of a population of less than 5 million of which maybe 500 is higher on the evolutionary scale than a scolopender.
Once in a while, late at night if I can't sleep, I'll turn on the TV in the family room and start to watch something. I say start because once the commercials start, I lose interest. There's so many commercial breaks and then so many ads in each break (I counted 12 ads once), sometimes I forget what I was watching and get up and wander off!
Granted, but if you're selective about it (and watch, for instance, "The Walking Dead"), you'll see really well acted blood and thunder, mayhem, and violence with quality scripts and good production values!
And for that matter, what's wrong with cartoons?
What IS blood and thunder???
An oath, alluding to mayhem and bloodshed.
'Blood and thunder' originated as an oath and, while not a specifically religious phrase, took its lead from the numerous euphemistic minced oaths, which refer to divine personae while avoiding the literal use of sacred names. 'Zounds' (God's wounds) and 'sacré bleu' (God's blood) come to mind in this context. Lord Byron confirms that view in the satirical poem Don Juan, 181824:
"Oh blood and thunder! and oh blood and wounds! These are but vulgar oaths."
The phrase is found as early as the mid 18th century in The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle by Tobias Smollett, 1751:
..."smiting the table with his fist, he started up, and, with the most violent emphasis of rage and indignation, exclaimed, "Darn my heart and liver! 'tis a land lie, d'ye see; and I will maintain it to be a lie, from the sprit-sail yard to the mizen-top-sail haulyards! Blood and thunder!"
In the same work, Smollett also used the phrase to refer to a person or type of person, by using 'blood and thunder' as a form of name:
"Blood and thunder! meaning me, sir?"
That usage was repeated later in an advert for a play, in The Times from November 1789 - just a year after the paper was first printed. It's quite appropriate to find an early usage of the phrase there as The Times is itself nicknamed The Thunderer. The entry publicised The Newspaper Coalition - 'a farce in two acts', and included reference to a character called 'Blood and Thunder' - a hunting parson (or parfon, as The Times then styled it).
'Blood and thunder' became a stock expression for authors of historical melodramas and by the 19th century such cheap 'penny dreadful' fictions were also known as 'blood and thunders'. Despite being scorned by the literary elite, in a similar way that sex and shopping and aga saga novels are scorned today, that champion of popular culture G. K. Chesterton made a case for the inherent truthfulness of 'blood and thunder' romances:
"So long as the coarse and thin texture of mere current popular romance is not touched by a paltry culture it will never he vitally immoral. Their drivelling literature will always be a 'blood and thunder' literature, as simple as the thunder of heaven and the blood of men."
The spooneristic 'thud and blunder' was too good to miss and began independent life in the late 19th century; for example, a piece from the Kansas newspaper The Globe, April 1879, headed:
THUD AND BLUNDER, A Chapter of Highway Robberies, Fights and Thefts.
(This has been your useless trivia for the day)
The FCC Chairman’s actual name is “Newton Minow”. He is still alive, 50 years after leaving the FCC; he is 87 presently. He was chairman of the Sidley & Austin law firm, where Moochelle Wookie Obama once was a law associate. He is most famous for calling broadcast television “a vast wasteland”—and that was at a time when the typical viewer could only receive three channels.
Sturgeon's Law applies to television as much as it does anything else.
Thank you, friend. And Mr. Minow truly was prescient.