Today is the 27th. That means I have been unemployed for exactly one month.
Here are the stats:
1. Four interviews
2. One interview lined up
3. One blog created and, I am proud to say, faithfully maintained
4. COUNTLESS job applications filled out, typed, emailed, mailed, hand-delivered (maybe I should just start my own document delivery company)
5. COUNTLESS cover letters written. My tour de force was the one I wrote to Disneyland. Of course, I never heard back from them. But it made me proud.
6. Thirty-three times I have updated/reviewed/amended my resume
7. One editorial test completed. Ok, I did NOT know you had to take tests to get jobs. And not just personality tests. EDIT tests, where you have to identify whether complimentary is spelled complimentary or complimentery. And, yes, I know it is spelled complimentary but when you are sitting there with no job and the stakes are so high, you start doubting everything, from the existence of God to how to spell your own name to whether complimentary has an a or an e.
Who knows what is to come. But I’m excited to find out.
The assignment mentioned how media is referred to as either a mirror or a lens. The mirror concept is based off of the idea that media is reflective in nature, simply revealing the societal realities it reports on. The other view, that media is a lens, suggests that media actually crafts the perspectives of its audience, bringing a distinct perspective to every piece produced. Our book suggests the latter, saying that media has a distinct message to deliver, depending on who is creating it. In the introduction, Badaracco says that media is biased, noting that “journalists no longer speak of ‘objective’ news reports, preferring instead to say they strive toward fair, accurate, and balanced reporting.”
Chapter 4 examines how Christian fundamentalists, though they blame media for “hypersexualizing society,” still use media to propagate their own agendas, “creating alternate institutions” to diffuse society with conservative values.
When being completely transparent, most secular media outlets see fundamentalism as dangerous and oppressive to certain segments of society. Shannyn Moore, a columnist for the Huffington Post, wrote an article titled “Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannyn-moore/christian-fundamentalist_b_209521.html.” In it, she writes that “the right wing media hacks make targets of the left. The fundamentalist reverends blather their intolerance of other Americans. Their marriages are in jeopardy if the GLBT community can walk down an aisle.” Columnist Mark Barna’s article for the Colorado Springs Gazette is titled “Is Christian Rhetoric Partly to Blame for Doctor’s Murder? (http://thepulpit.freedomblogging.com/2009/06/02/is-christian-rhetoric-partly-to-blame-for-abortion-doctors-murder/1711/)” It makes the connection between Christian anti-abortion messages and the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller, concernedly asking, “Will Christians sympathize with the murderer?” The article also highlights how Christian leaders said Tiller was guilty of murdering babies. This aligns with Badaracco’s conception of how fundamentalism can be polarizing in nature, writing that “fundamentalists hold to a radical dualism in which two sides – God and Satan – take no prisoners and broke no compromise” because they are “responding to what they see as the dangers and weaknesses of the world in which we live.”
In their own media, Christian fundamentalists portray themselves as holding the line between right and wrong, crusading for the moral fiber of the country. They are clear in this position and, as Badaracco writes, “uncompromising.” This is seen in an article written for Charisma News Online titled “Pro-Lifers Brace for Political Backlash After Tiller Murder (http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/22145-pro-lifers-brace-for-political-backlash-after-tiller-murder).” Author Adrienne Gaines is quick to point out the determination of pro-lifers to continue their anti-abortion work despite the murder of Tiller and quotes an anti-abortion leader as saying, “George Tiller was one of the most evil men on the planet; every bit as vile as the Nazi war criminals who were hunted down, tried, and sentenced after they participated in the ‘legal’ murder of the Jews that fell into their hands.” While Gaines balances this with less incendiary remarks from other conservative leaders who condemned the murder, the overall message is very clear: abortion is wrong and needs to be stopped for the moral good of the country. Christian fundamentalists see themselves fully engaged in the “culture wars” that Badaracco describes in chapter 1and have carved out media outlets to help in their mission, fighting the saturation of secular media with conservative messages, as noted in chapter 4.
When I look at Christian fundamentalism, I am unnerved by the extremity of their messages. This is because I have been indoctrinated by the idea of freedom. I believe firmly in personal choice and sometimes civil rights and Christian tenets oppose to each other. However, I am hesitant to completely embrace the relativistic ideals of liberalism. Instead, I fall somewhere in the middle though I am more slightly more inclined towards fundamentalism than liberalism.
Media Blog #1
As outlined in our Badaracco text, a person cannot divorce themselves from their theological moorings – instead, their views are the prism that refracts their beliefs into whatever they touch. Such is also the case for journalists and commentators. Their “religious imagination” informs everything, from what they report on to how.
Cal Thomas, an evangelical Christian, is no exception. Take his article “The Beginning of the End of the Religious Right?” (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/05/closing_one_door_opening_anoth.html) The title alone indicates an interest in mixing religion with politics. The article details the closing of The Center for Reclaiming America, a foundation created to inject conservative values into the country’s supposedly declining moral makeup. The article clearly points to Thomas’ brand of evangelicalism. Badaracco characterizes protestant beliefs as being polarizing by nature, citing the evangelical tendency to stress the differences between various positions. This is apparent as Thomas writes, “Politics is about compromise. The message of the church is about Truth” (yes, he even capitalized ‘truth’). This strident, black-and-white language is the perfect exhibit of Badaracco’s categorization of Protestant religion.
Another example of this is Thomas’ article titled “Grand Compromise Brings More Spending.” (http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/thomas122110.php3) The title itself points to a decisive viewpoint with little room for middle ground. It is a perfect example of the “culture wars” that Badaracco cites as the mentality of protestants. The following article utilizes extreme language and leaves the reader with the notion that the compromise equates a government handout. The religious imagination of Thomas is not a world of rainbows and unicorns but one of clearly drawn battle lines and clearly delineated enemies. It is similar to the mindset outlined in Badaracco, in which the author outlines the different sides (feminist, liberals, and gays on one side, conservatives on the other). Following this vein of thinking, this article is a platform for Thomas to rail against Democrats and their approach to government.
In his article, “Explaining Evil,” (http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/thomas011111.php3) Thomas tackles the shooting of Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords. While he is quick to call the shooting “pointless” and offer empathy to Giffords and the other victims, he is just as quick to promote his party lines. Sarah Palin is not to blame, gun control is not the answer, and he references C.S. Lewis, a famously Christian author. He articulates in no uncertain terms why a liberal response – to consider what responsibility the gun seller has, to consider whether Palin’s words were incendiary enough to spark the assassination attempt – is the incorrect one. He praises the response McCain, who called for the shooter to be brought to full justice of the law. Thomas says McCain’s quote is “moral clarity,” a strong voice amid the tolerant babble of liberalism.
With his strong language and seemingly inflexible views, Thomas’ writing is steeped in a lexicon of Protestantism and point to a value system that falls into Badarraco’s “culture war” category. It stands in opposition to the more gentler Catholic view of “similarity in differences” and is a distinct voice in the cultural dialogue of our times.