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the Effects of Entertainers Behaving Badly
By psychologist Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. B.L.T.
Never before has the need been so great for Christian musicians and entertainers to raise the level of dialogue in this great country-to serve with the Lord Jesus at the helm, as "rock 'n' role models" for the whole world to emulate.
Heretofore, the year 2004 has been one of the worst in terms of musicians and other musicians behaving badly. First, there was MTV's Video Music Awards ceremony, the show I took the liberty of dubbing MTV's Pimp and Ho Show <http://www.tollbooth.org/2003/features/mtv.html>.
Then, there was Janet and Justin's Superbowl half-time peep show. Shortly thereafter, we encountered Howard Stern simply doing what he does best and being himself, only this time, more of himself, ultimately finding all of himself in hot water accordingly. Oh well! Lord knows his mind was long overdue for a good bath.
Let's fast forward to some post-July 4th festivities. Let me begin by saying I don't mean to single out Democrats in the criticism I am about to launch. I am keenly aware that it tends to be extremists on either end of the continuum who cause problems.
That being said, John Kerry and John Edwards could have put immediate distance between themselves and the other two Johns (John bon Jovi and John Mellancamp) who performed at their recent campaign fund-raising event in New York City. Each performer added tasteless, carelessly crafted, and otherwise gratuitous Bush-bashing to their performance. The Presidential and Vice Presidential contenders could have stood on the side of Bill Cosby against the type of vile vitriol uttered by Whoopi Goldberg at the same event-the same gutter-talk that Cosby wanted members of his own African American community to abandon in speeches he recently delivered at high-profile community events.
Instead, these would-be fearless leaders watched like Americans, "idle," even as the man formerly known as John "Cougar" Mellancamp turned into a coward and John bon Jovi turned joviality into a jackanapes. Apparently, John Kerry and John Edwards are willing to put aside principle in order to win in November. They stood by passively, offering no statement, not even a look of surprise, much less disdain, for the Hollywood hate fest that this event rapidly devolved into.
I felt powerless when I heard the news. Sure, we can all boycott Slim Fast for using Whoopi Goldberg as their spokesperson. We can burn bon Jovi and Mellancamp CDs. But that will only mean that the two musical Johns who support the two political Johns will sell more records. That will only mean that conservatives who are on a roll with the Slim Fast program will be adding rolls to their bellies and thighs. So where do we begin?
I can't answer for you, but I will begin by calling upon Christian musicians of either party, of any party, or no party at all, to be the "rock 'n' role models” that they were destined to be, drawing upon the ultimate role model, Christ Jesus, who never stooped to vile put-downs, carelessly delivered vitriol, perversity, or slander.
Constructive criticism is a boon to our civilization. Thoughtful, considerate, reflective dialogue is the talking cure for society gone awry. Christians are to be the salt of the earth. Socrates was apparently forced to die at the hands of enemies of dialogue for his belief in knowledge as a virtue. It is unlikely that we will have to drink poison for being shining examples with our music, our entertainment our conversation, and our lifestyles. Admittedly, we may not get our ultimate reward until we get to heaven, but to have the honor of participating in the enhancement of society instead of the degradation of society seems rewarding enough to me.