Glorifying Banality


The deeper I travel into the life of St. Francis of Assisi, the more concerned I become about the state of what passes for popular entertainment these days, especially in film and television. As a culture, we are becoming obsessed with entertainment, and actors are becoming icons of all we admire and hope for.

I used to make my living producing soap operas. When I began, I had this lofty idea I was making art. In time, I came to see that the economic, commercial and editorial constraints of the soap opera genre stifled individual artistic expression and prevented serious exploration of the important issues of the life. I wasn’t producing art…I was manufacturing a vehicle that delivered commercials. It was all about ratings.

Today, I watch very little television. (Or, more truthfully, far less than I used to watch.) It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to stomach the near constant diet of banality and triteness which is served up by television. All too often, most characters are dysfunctional, sex is casual, gratuitous, and self-serving, violence is excessive, and comedy is mean-spirited. Finding an uplifting show is becoming harder and harder. Still, my non-viewing is not rooted in an elitist attitude that says all TV is garbage. My viewing is decreasing because I have come to realize the importance of silence in the spiritual life. Moreover, I no longer have the same need for escapism, which is what TV primarily peddles.

In a country in which the vast majority of people believe in God, it amazes me how we have been so seduced by the power of entertainment that we no longer have the will to simply turn it off. Day in and day out we are drenched by a torrent of words. Words, words, words…but little silence for the Word to reside. We must be still in order to move into a greater union with Christ. We must give Christ our time regularly, day in, day out, coming before Him just as we are, wounded and weak. Without silence there is a deep level of our being which is not contributing to our wholeness. We are incomplete without the fruit of silence and solitude. But withdrawal from the endless possibilities for stimulation modern life offers is painful. It takes faith and hope to give God time.


2 Responses to “Glorifying Banality”

  1. 1 aliceny March 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Amen. I am beginning to enjoy and appreciate the ‘sound’ of silence more each day.

  1. 1 The fruit of silence and solitude « Franciscan Quote of the Day Trackback on March 24, 2013 at 9:49 am

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