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A Message from Duncan- January 30, 2023

A Message from Duncan- January 30, 2023


Elvis Takes Tea With Princess Diana in Heaven!


* (see bottom of article)

This isn’t a real headline.  I made it up.  Sorry.  If you were imagining The King breaking out the Royal Doulton with The People’s Princess in the great by-and-by, I can neither confirm nor deny it.  That’s not to say they are NOT supping Earl Grey together, but if they are, I don’t have the scoop for you.

Sometimes events in popular culture collide in a way that perfectly sums up a society.  These moments of cosmic cultural coincidence get people very excited.  Two cultural phenomena bump into each other while walking down the street, and the world can’t stop talking about it.  The Internet breaks.

It’s as if advertisers, TV broadcasters, and merchandise peddlers had written the script.

So, on Sunday February 11th, two of our nation’s biggest, most profitable, and spectacular icons meet together in the same place.  Superbowl Sunday is now ‘Football PLUS Taylor Swift Sunday’.  (I made up that headline too, but you get my point.) 

 I can’t imagine a better money-spinner than this.  Even people who can’t stand football will be tuning in to catch a glimpse of Taylor in the ‘Players’ Girlfriends Skybox’, if there is such a thing.  (By the way, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I should break the news to you that Taylor Swift, the immensely talented, versatile, and business-savvy rock star, is dating the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end, Travis Kelce.  And what a handsome couple they make.  And rich.  Very, very rich.)

If you think this is turning into one of those ‘everything is terrible and so much worse than ever’ articles beloved by clergy, let me disappoint you – There’s nothing new about idolizing the rich and famous.  It’s been an American pastime since the silent movies.  For example, Gelind and I have just finished watching a Britbox drama based on the life of Cary Grant.  I was amazed at how wealthy and adored someone could become with no more talent than a thousand struggling actors who lacked his good looks and charisma.

What’s new is the sophistication of the global entertainment industry, made possible by the digital revolution.  It has given two young people a measure of fame and wealth that few celebrity couples have enjoyed before. Taylor Swift is everywhere, including your teenage daughter’s social media feed and your dad’s Pandora playlist.

With great power comes great responsibility.  Or, if you prefer Jesus’ words, “To whom much is given, of them much is expected.’ (Luke 12:48.)  I find myself feeling sympathy for Swift and Kelce.  When they were kids, they just wanted to make music and play football.  Didn’t we all?  Somewhere in their youths it became clear that they could do these things exceptionally well.  Doors opened for them.  Portcullises dropped.  They now wield extraordinary influence over an untold number of fans, advertisers, and merchandisers.  Everything they do or say is recorded and transmitted.  Their tastes in food, clothes, and hair influence masses of people and impact entire industries.

And that makes me want to pray for them.  I hope that despite their youth, they can handle the awesome responsibility that comes with vast wealth and power.  They are leaders of our global culture, and leadership is all about character.  May they stay as wholesome as they currently are.

I’m also very pleased that I don’t have their level of influence.  I can be anonymous!  Thank you, Lord.  May they, and each of us, use our influence for the sake of the common good.  Amen.

(* What Elvis and Diana would look like today, according to AI-based artist, Alper Yesiltas.)