Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Don’t Even Know Who Jon and Kate Are

Typically, when I write about a topic, I do my best to research it thoroughly. Most of these installments take me about two to three hours of pondering, research, and word-smithing before I’m satisfied.

Not tonight. I’m going to try for a new record.

Here’s the deal. I’ve been hearing from various people that Jon and Kate are getting a divorce. I’ve been told it’s sad, and at the same time I’ve watched how thrilling the news can be for some people. I’ve seen their pictures recently in the tabloid newspapers at the grocery checkout stand. And I’ve been told by multiple sources that this whole thing might just be a ploy to gain some television ratings during a slow summer season.

But I don’t even know who Jon and Kate are.

Normally, I would feel compelled to research who they are, whether or not the stories are true, and then try to look at the situation from a Christian worldview in an effort to publish a side of the story rarely put forth by the mainstream media. But this time, I feel compelled to…. avoid that effort.

By asking only two or three questions of some acquaintances, I’ve been able to piece together that Jon and Kate are a real couple, with a bunch of young kids, who are on a television show where they are constantly having a camera thrust into their “normal” lives. I even had to ask someone if the picture I posted at the top of this entry is the real Jon and Kate. To tell the truth, I really don’t want to know any more.

I made a fairly unusual decision many years ago never to have cable television in my house (though I’m not even sure if this show is on cable or on the regular networks – it doesn’t matter). More importantly, my family and I have all decided that we won’t focus our time or our conversation around the television. It’s very rarely turned on in our home, and when it is, it is usually tuned to a live sporting event or to get the weather report (though to be completely honest with you, I’ve developed a liking for the “Lost” series on TV – but that’s it).

From the little I’ve been able to gather, it sounds as if television has hit a new low in subject matter. Following a family around with cameras, while enticing them with fame, paying them money to intrude on their personal time, and usurping that extremely valuable stage when they should be playing with and instructing their kids to mature – this all sounds like malevolent voyeurism. Don’t forget – every single one of those kids lives are being impacted by this decision from their parents. It’s no laughing matter to me, and it certainly doesn’t sound like good television – in my humble opinion.

I don’t know who Jon and Kate are. What I do know is that they are real people, and they are getting a divorce. To put a Christian perspective on it, it sounds like I should be praying for the family. Am I being naïve? Maybe. But that’s what I pledge to do every morning this week. I don’t need to know any more.

Seventeen minutes – I might re-think how I do this in the future.


Joe Taylor said...

I admit that I have watched the show, and the saddest part to me is that they profess to be Christians. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised, since the divorce rate is the same in the church... specifically pray for God to somehow be glorified through this. As disgusting as it may be, the world is watching to see how this family reacts to each new day. ~ Kara

Tamara said...

Haven't seen the show--can't afford cable, thank heaven. However, even w/o cable--the "news" about Jon & Kate is everywhere--network t.v., newspapers, online blurbs, and so on. Really, I'd love for it to go away.
I feel sorry for them & especially their children. However, I don't blame the media, Alan. These are adults with the ability to make their own choices. No one forced the media to come & film their lives--they decided to do that to themselves. We are not helpless victims of a soul-less media. Like your family, we all have the ability (even when tempted by fame & fortune) to simply choose to turn it off, to say no, to make better choices for our family.
Sorry for the soap box--audience vs. media control was the topic of my senior year media ethics paper & it still burns my butter.

Molly said...

Tamara - While you don't blame the media, doesn't it seem like it could be part if not all of the problem? It seems to me like they should get the cameras out of their (and their young childrens') lives and maybe see if that helps any before they go off and just divorce each other. I do agree that they could have made their own choice to get the media out of their lives, but they didn't so maybe they should try reversing that decision. Maybe without the pressure of the media they can work on their marriage. Instead they have chosen to sate the media and give up on their marriage. Seems like a drastic decision to me.
Oh, and I seriously have never heard the phrase "burns my butter", but it really cracked me up. :)
Good blog, Dad! But I beat your blog time yesterday by 6 minutes. :)