I'm not a sociologist....
But I'm fascinated with the phenomenon of the expanding compulsion to stay in near-constant electronic communication with something -- and that something not always human. Did pod people land somewhere and assume our psyches so we're evolving into a quasi-human hive? Is this the noosphere -- the universal Mind come to fruition, as described by the philosophy of Teilhard de Chardin? Or are we simply so afraid to be alone, to face ourselves in solitude, that we somehow need to remain "connected" at all times? Are our intrapersonal relationships so devoid of intimacy that we're replacing them with pixels and bytes? Click here for one listing of the top 100 people followed on Twitter. Except for President Obama and a few news and information services, most of these listed are some sort of pop celebrity -- with over ten million people following rock star Lady Gaga... which gagas my mind. I'm assuming that the under-25 crowd accounts for this slavish attention to entertainment personalities -- but what does it say about our kids' allegiance to the overindulgent lifestyles of these overpaid and over-valued, under-talented, amoral, hypersexed, inane sleazeballs? (No offense.)
I'm not a political pundit....
But I choked on my microwave popcorn the other night when NBC correspondent Miguel Almaguer reported on The (former) Governator's current pickle. His wrap-up sentence bemoaned that Arnie had broken trust with his family and "the people of California." Huh? I'm one of the people of California and I don't feel that The Gov broke any trust with me by fathering -- AND acknowledging AND financially supporting -- a child by his housekeeper. What the hell business is it of mine -- or yours -- or anyone's but the people involved? It took the media less than 24 hours to find the hapless housekeeper's name, address, relatives and pictures of the child, and you can bet your last buffalo nickel that we've only heard the beginning of this sad saga... which isn't so different from all the other politicos who have done the same thing.
I have to admit I long for the days of secret trysts, like Ike's, FDR's, JFK's -- and everyone else's -- before the media consumed our world and forced these undesired details down our collective throat. In the week since he announced his candidacy for President, we've heard more about Fig Newt's love life and Tiffany bill than we have about his political ideals and agenda. I can understand disclosing facts that would be pertinent to a candidate's character, but the slimy details that thrive in the underbelly of the media could be skipped.
I'm not a theologian or psychic...
But I don't need to be either to see the writing on the Vatican wall if the Catholic Church doesn't get its act together soon and seriously (SERIOUSLY) address all the crises that are brewing among its billion-plus members (68,000,000 in the US alone, the largest Christian group). I play daily brain ping-pong by following both a rigidly-conservative online forum (catholic.com) and a wildly liberal daily news source, National Catholic Reporter (www.ncronline.org). (Membership is required on both of those sites to post, but you can read for free. Slip on your Kevlar vest before clicking.)
The conservative wing has gained a bit of momentum recently as the backlash to the changes of Vatican II Council continues, with the Pope leading with gusto the charge back to the 12th century. There are still Catholics around who long for the days of strict black-and-white rules that are never questioned, for fish on Friday and Latin masses with nary a guitar in sight, for never having to make a personal decision without the iron-fisted "guidance" of Holy Mother Church -- for everything that was safely in place from 33 A.D. until 1962. I've seen many postings on the conservative forum stating much of the sex abuse scandal has been exaggerated and perpetuated by "the media," by those who are only after money, and by the great world-wide conspiracy to destroy the Church. I've seen reluctance -- actually, a complete inability -- to find any flaw in anything the Church does, has ever done (except Vat. II) or will ever do. They appear to me to be more closely aligned with the Church than with its Founder...which I find ludicrous and alarming.
In postings from the lefty side (yes, my side), I see complete frustration along with virulent calls for immediate action against blind and arrogant Bishops -- including the Bishop of Rome -- for the abuse crisis that is still not solved or resolved, though progress has been made. We lefties dream of the implementation of our liberal agenda, which includes women's equality, including priestly ordination, birth control decisions left to couples, priestly celibacy becoming an option, loving acceptance of gays, intellectual freedom for theologians without censure, and probably most important, decision-making power by lay people. Currently, ALL decisions in the Roman Catholic Church are made by the ordained, which immediately excludes half of the human race -- my half.
The Middle East is not the only area where desire for freedom churns. The Protestant Reformation of the 16th-17th centuries did not occur in a void but partially from desire to rectify what was seen then as corruption in the Church. I'm a Catholic woman (which means an official nobody), but I'm convinced 21st century Rome is about to get rocked by a new revolution if it doesn't recognize and reform the culture of triumphalism, clericalism, sexism and traditionalism that has constipated it since the counter-reformation of the last three centuries. I just hope that Barack doesn't hear of these particular winds of change or he'll send in the troops to support this quest for freedom, also.