Communique No. 1: #KLGandHodaU and Self-Discovery

English: The Buffet Deutsch: Das Buffet

Buffets–take what you want and leave the rest. (Photo: public domain)

I swore to myself I would never do this, but I’ve decided to commit to a regular, bi-weekly post–at least for a trial period. I’ve been hesitant toward that approach to blogging simply because it seems those types of blogs tend to evolve–or devolve–in the long-term into self-absorbed gushes about the mundane trivialities of everyday life. Puke. The thing is, people generally don’t care how extraordinarily ordinary other people’s lives are and while they might give that kind of diaristic regurgitation a courtesy read at the beginning, inevitably they come to dread seeing links to it.

What I have noticed, though, is that I tend to have a few thoughts bouncing about my skull about various and sundry things that don’t seem worth the effort of individual posts. Ultimately, that means I talk myself out of writing anything, which creates another thing I loathe: a personal blog that isn’t maintained. Maybe (nah, probably) it’s just me, but I hate clicking on a link to someone’s site and finding that they only have five posts and the most recent one is from 2009. YOU CAN STOP ADVERTISING IT ALREADY. I promise future posts in this genre will be less self-referential and self-effacing; I just needed to introduce the whole concept, ya know? So, anyway, without further ado, the following are the ruminations I’d like to share with you…

#KLGandHodaU and @OralRobertsU

I’ve graduated (in case you weren’t aware) so, on average, my level of interest in the goings-on within the ORU bubble has dropped off considerably–like the Dow Jones after Lehman Brothers bit it. I did nevertheless learn of the current effort by the students at Oral Roberts University to bring the Today Show to campus in October, one that even seems to involve the university’s PR department via it’s Twitterfeed. The whole thing is just fascinating to me.

Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb

Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb (Photo credit: Save the Children)

For one, I assume the common sentiment among students is that because Kathie Lee Gifford is an alumna (a non-degree-holding one, I might point out) that makes ORU’s chances of scoring the PR win more favorable. Kathie Lee did have a full-ride music scholarship to ORU in the 70s and was a World Action Singer with Oral’s ministry. She reportedly left, however, because she found the whole operation “hypocritical.” If I had to put money on it, I’d say she probably doesn’t have particularly fond memories of the university.

But wait, it gets better: remember the “Flashmob” video that ORU tried so hard to make go viral? It was actually pretty good, but it didn’t go viral (and no, ORU, 20,000 hits on a video does not mean “it’s gone viral.”) My opinion on why that flopped: it smelled too much like a contrived PR promotion for it to be taken seriously as a real flashmob. Anyway, another video was made in a similar vein to plug ORU as the primo location for the Today Show taping. I think we can all agree it’s horrible… (UPDATE: As of September 16, 2012, the video had been marked private. I never would have thought they’d listen to reason.)

Remember Obama Girl’s “Crush on Obama” video from 2008? Why did it succeed and First Love Band’s Rick Santorum fansong “Game On” from earlier this year fail so miserably? Some might say liberal conspiracy, but, in reality, it’s because the girls who made the “Game On” video intended for it to be taken seriously; Obama Girl probably did support Barack Obama but her video was clearly intended to be humorous. “Game On” and the video above fail because they fall into the category of Unintentional Self-Parody and, therefore, are funny in a derisive sense. The Today Show Promo was a good idea but poorly executed and it not only reflects terribly on the school in general but particularly so on it’s multimedia students and graduates (who are generally pretty badass at what they do, if I may be so bold). If ORU’s chances of being visited by the Today Show were bad to begin with, they’ll really be bad once some social media analyst or producer sees that video; in fact, dare I say they’ll be nonexistent?

One last note on this whole thing: the video was almost universally panned (I’ve always wanted to say that) by the student body and the criticism has been harsh, but justified. If you can’t take legitimate criticism, you probably shouldn’t go into the media business. Plus, I’ve always found people who said things like, “You shouldn’t criticize ORU/the Church/America/insert celebrity pastor name, you should just support it/them,” to be unbelievably creepy. Groupthink is not a virtue; it’s a cancer.

Finding Out Who You Are

Funny Religious Sticker

Amen and amen. (Photo: Amarand Agasi)

I don’t recall when exactly, but it was sometime in the past year or so that I realized I was quite liberal politically and socially. It wasn’t a conscious decision I made or anything, I just realized at one point that it was a bit preposterous to refer to myself as conservative (or even moderate) anymore. My views on business, corporations, the environment, energy, education, etc. gave it away on one end and then, toward the end of my internship at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., last spring, I realized I found the whole social conservative movement to be the most utterly inane thing I’d ever encountered or advocated. Although I continue to be be pro-life, I’m not sure where I stand on pro-life policy–it’s easy to reject the extremes, but as for where I fall between them I’m still fleshing out. I’ve become an ardent supporter of gay rights, including full marriage rights and benefits, employment discrimination protection (exempting only actual houses of worship), and adoption rights.

It was a funny thing to realize, because all my life I’d been warned that “those liberals” were lying, cheating, godless conspirators plotting to bring about the rise of the Antichrist. From that point on I really began to realize the danger of wedding Christianity to a political ideology–in fact, to anything other than Christ. That, more than anything, is why I feel I can safely predict the demise of the Religious Right over the next two to three decades–and that’s being generous. The majority of the people comprising it will be dead by then–of old age if by nothing else–and hopefully none of the damage they have caused, are causing, and likely will cause to the credibility of the faith is irreparable. We can only pray.

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