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unfortunate cultural vaccinations

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Aug 11, 2006

Milwaukee auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba wants you to know that he's horrified by television footage of Mideast carnage -- and by road rage as well. Not content with the standard explanations, however, he burrows beneath the surface to probe the root causes of our destructive impulses.

When they tell us that the television cartoons children of all ages watch are filled with violence, we tend to shrug it off with, "It's always been that way." As a matter of fact, all the way back to the days of Popeye and Olive (for those who can still remember that far back) arguments were settled by physical blows; somehow we mistakenly thought it was funny.

Our juvenile mistake was a costly one. Follow Sklba closely here:

The fact of the matter, however, is that art imitates life and our modern life is very violent indeed! The tragedy of these past three weeks along the border of Israel and Lebanon seems particularly brutal, and the loss of so many innocent civilian lives only underscores that reality.

Few commentators on the recent bloodshed have located such recondite tributaries. Sklba admits that our own religious language likewise encodes tolerance of inappropriate behaviors, and suggests that "we ought to be more cautious" about invoking Old Testament imagery of God as a warrior. If only we'd been given positive examples of compromise and reconciliation! As I understand the argument, we are called to be a Church of Wimpys but, lamentably, joined forces with the Blutos:

The fiery explosions and weeping mothers who fill our evening news reports are vivid testimony to a world gone terribly wrong. Maybe the cartoons of our childhood were unfortunate cultural vaccinations which made us immune to the tragedy of violence in more mature adulthood. None of this is acceptable.

Deep.

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