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Questions upon a Christmas eve

I've been passing the time tonight after wrapping my Christmas gifts, catching up on the Boundless podcasts since I've not been able to listen to them lately. Earlier today, I'd been reading "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman, a fascinating examination of the influence on U.S. culture of television and the printing press. (Intellectual and about media of communication.... right up my alley!!)

As a result, I've had a lot of things running through my head, as I posted as my Facebook status:

Sarah has a bunch of thoughts running through her head, related to Christmas and other things... is the goal of college a BA or an MRS degree? What is the role of a college student (NOT kid) in a church? Can the U.S. recover from irrelevant information overload? What would happen if I never watched another minute of syndicated TV? And other such things.

Aside from the redundancy of "other things"/"other such things" (which at this moment grates on my ears), that can refer fairly well to many of the issues I'm pondering these days.

Christmas: I found a blog post today that suggested that perhaps the commercialization of Christmas is only a sign of how much we care... how much we want to show our love to our friends, family, and coworkers. I think there may be an element of truth, but I'm sure it's not the whole story (or even a majority of it). I also wonder what most people's attitudes are toward buying Christmas gifts... is it seen as a game of trying your best to get something that somebody's gonna like (i.e. a fun challenge), or as something utterly time-consuming and devoid of sentiment?

College and the MRS degree: That's slightly tongue in cheek. For one thing, though it may be quite nice to meet your "significant other" via your college classes/experience, the primary goal of college is still to get a college education. However, I know at least two gals who dropped out/are dropping out of college because they're getting married. I also got deluged with engagements this semester (ok maybe just a couple or three, but still!). Thirdly, that "ring by spring" thing? It kicks into medium gear during junior year, as far as I can tell. (I figure high gear is reserved for senior year.)

College students in the church: I feel very awkward in both churches I regularly attend (my "real" home church and my "college" home church). I can't exactly get involved in a regular ministry in my college-church, because I'm only there halfway sporadically for a few months of the year; and at my home church, I'm lucky to play guitar (and that ministry is a carryover from high school days) only when I'm home on break or over the summer. And to me, half of being in a church is actually doing something as a member of that church.... I've not stomach for pew-warming! So being a college student, with its attendant church-hopping, makes things difficult for me.

The U.S. information overload: OK, so information overload is pretty cliché by now. But something that stuck out to me when I read that Postman book was the observation that very little of the TV evening news is anything that prompts you to alter your plans for the day (besides the weather). Is that true? If you watch the evening news, or see it online, or *gasp* read it in an old-fashioned newspaper, does the DAILY NEWS actually matter, personally, beyond getting you mildly annoyed at various people/circumstances? Who tells you the stuff that really does make you change your daily schedule... your neighbor, the e-mail updates from somewhere, Twitter, what?

Syndicated TV: This is a corollary to the book, again. While living in Central America, I once saw an episode of something called "The Jane Show" (I think...) in which the protagonist suddenly realized that cable television was vital to office small-talk. All was exaggerated and hyperbolized, of course (hyperbolized isn't a word, is it...). However, you know how humor has to have an element of truth in order to be funny? Well, supposing one did enter the real world (i.e. out of college) without the world's common knowledge of syndicated television shows. How would that person interact socially, I wonder? (I'll probably be able to give a first-hand account in a few years, by the way.)

That's all for today. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


da_baum said…
People I know have been getting engaged like crazy! Just since this summer, I know probably...10 people who have gotten engaged (though some of those are couples that I know both people)! I think half of those were in the last month and a half of the semester... It's like a disease or something...

I've also heard good things from my older bro about Amusing Ourselves to Death.
RS said…
Oh my, I do believe that's more people than I know have gotten engaged. I know three couples since summer, that I can think of right off the bat, but I feel like I'm missing somebody too. Haha, a disease, eh?

Yeah, fascinating book, really. I'm probably going to finish it tomorrow or Saturday.
Anonymous said…
Senior year is usually when its at its peak I'd guess.

I never had many friends get engaged at college, mostly because I was too much of a jerk to hang out with someone who had a crutch like a g/f (don't ask how I got that way).

It is a big thing, but as with all things, its a part of life for many people - enjoy it, but don't let it be a reflection on you. God has different calls for each of us, but its hard to see that when everyone you know is going on about marriage, simply because the setting makes such arrangements occur easily.

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