Last night the kids wanted to watch the ball drop. I figured, why not.
But we were also watching the college football game and it ran right up to the wire. And my streaming setup bobbled a bit on me, since as convenient as it may be in a lot of ways, navigating the complicated rule sets is hard and it’s definitely slower than just switching a channel.
Upshot, I was late, and we tuned in to ABC just in time to see two men kissing each other in celebration after the ball dropped.
Prior to the drop, I had been running the Times Square on my phone to keep an eye on when they would actually drop the ball, and running right up against it was someone singing the song “Yesterday” while the crowd swayed, enchanted, probably in every sense of the term.
Having missed the ball drop, we then turned to YouTube to watch a previous year’s drop, which turned out to be 2021. Which was impressive in how small the ball was on the top of the screen, while the ad for Kia embedded in the 30-second countdown timer display was clear as day. Once it dropped my wife observed that everyone was decked out in purple hats sposored by Planet Hollywood. (Or something, not going back to check the video.) Which definitely made the whole thing feel fake.
And while it’s not news to me that we are “in the world but not of it”, it was certainly a moment of further recognition of that fact. I raise my kids Christian. I feel like if anything I’m negligent in that. I’m certainly not the stereotype where every family dinner is me pounding the table about my beliefs and nobody is allowed to dissent or anything like that. We just casually raise them Christian. Perhaps too casually.
But I don’t feel like my family’s revulsion for the rapid fire clown world antics I describe above particularly come from our Christianity. Any normal person would feel the same way. People have to be drenched in clown world propaganda to think two men kissing is a great way to celebrate the new year, or that selling corporations every square inch of what is almost a national-level celebration is totally awesome. And even when my opinion of Yesterday isn’t what it is now (I’ve moved from “Nice enough but uncompelling” to “majorly Satanic” over the years), it’s still a bizarre choice to celebrate a new year with in my opinion.
The bad news is that in 2023, sealing yourself off from Clown World enough to protect your children is a lot harder than it used to be. Even harder if you account for the fact that you need to seal them off, but also prepare them for living in it when they are adults.
The good news is that I think that if you do succeed, it’s a lot more likely to stick than it was when I was a kid. The clown world of the year 2000 still had enough sense and sanity in it to be an appealing option for people who may have been raised sane and/or Christian. It was notoriously successful at pulling people away who had been raised away from it, but not sufficiently prepared to defend themselves. I felt the siren call myself, though by God’s Grace I can say with a straight face I more-or-less resisted it. (Not entirely, of course, but I didn’t fall into the really big traps.)
But in 2023, Clown World has become so absurd that I don’t think it holds any appeal for my children. One of my children is probably going to have to go to college for their career path; in a weird way, as Clown World’s antics become so much more and more obscene I actually worry less and less about it, at least with regard to his soul and well being. What’s their offer anymore? “Come with us and we’ll cut off your dick?” I at least understand the appeal of free (heterosexual) love to anyone. The sex drive is universal.
But Clown World’s offer to my children is ever-increasingly so crazy that I don’t think it even operates on their wavelength anymore.
When I was growing up, the offer was appealing to anyone. Now the offer doesn’t even make sense. If you can avoid living in Clown World’s frame, it’s probably easier to stay out of it now than it used to be.
Sadly, that’s a pretty big “if”. I wish I could give the gift of basic sanity to everyone.
But at least I can give it to my children.
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