Monday, October 20, 2003

Baby-boomer bishops
by Terry Mattingly
A pretty good explanation of what's wrong.

Speaking of boomers, I watch 'American Dreams'. The cute blonde teenager's (too limp and curly) and the kid brother's (much too long) hair are all wrong but otherwise the characters, props and stories seem pretty authentically 1965 - including such things as the black community in America starting to self-destruct, managing to destroy what slavery couldn't (the black family, for one). And, I've got to say it, Patricia O'Grady's a dish! (Once again, boomers are most nostalgic about the culture right before they destroyed it. Fascinating.) Anyway, teen Brittany Snow goes to RC high school, where the villain (natch) priest teacher has forbade her from doing her book report on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The college-student boyfriend gets it right, telling her such freedom is for university. (But of course she doesn't listen - the boomers vicariously relive their rebellion.) Here's my take. Part of it well could be narrow Irish-American parochialism, which the show is seething against and has nothing really to do with the faith. It's a good book, Brittany's character is bright, and if she wants to get it at the library or buy it and read it, fine with me. But let's look at Father's side of this. High-school religious formation is still at the level of teaching kids the catechism, especially if they aren't particularly interested in the subject (common for teenagers!) and - let's be honest - if most of the priests' and nuns' charges aren't that bright. For such people, Ken Kesey well could be a dangerous read! Perhaps Fr Villain has got the common good to think of - quite Christian actually. Not leading the little ones astray. The university is by nature a whole different game - one has the freedom to debate and dissect everything, including every point of the catechism.

Distinctions the boomers didn't and don't want to hear.

Finally, again about baby-boomers, it's interesting and a little sad how time (and fickle public opinion) has been a leveller for the former Beatles, with talented Paul McCartney and less talented but nice bloke Ringo Starr both left doing the same thing, playing off boomer nostalgia for decreasing audiences.

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