Father Dwight Longenecker
Lesson One: The Purpose of Pop Culture
I only hope you realize how lucky you are to have been given a second chance, and how supremely fortunate you are, at this stage to have progressed to my class and to have the opportunity to learn at my feet. It is not often that a demon of my class and accomplishment condescends to teach worms, so bask in my presence while you can, miserable squirmers. Learn from the master, dear fellows, learn from the master! No doubt I will not be with you long. Friends have told me that I will soon be called to a more worthy task, and you will no doubt have to put up with some inferior drudge like old Dr. Sturbage—with his halitosis, quack theories, and insufferable name dropping.
Before we begin, allow me to clarify a few things for you. There are vicious rumors spreading that I, Slubgrip, have been assigned to teach Pop Cult 101 here at Bowelbage as some sort of demotion or punishment for my own failures in the world of the bipeds.
This is simply untrue.
The fact of the matter is, I asked for a transfer to return here to my alma mater so that I might have a bit of a sabbatical, gather my thoughts, and prepare for an even higher and more prestigious assignment. It is true that teaching a course like this is not exactly a plum job, and certainly spending my days with adolescent and odiferous slugs and flukes like you is deplorable. Nevertheless, I did ask for the posting because I felt the training of my own protégées, in recent years, was so obviously incompetent, and I thought I might be able to remedy the situation somewhat.
Therefore, over the next few sessions my dear fellows, we will be considering the delightful area of temptation called popular culture. The whole area is expanding exponentially at this time, and while we have some real experts already working in the field, there is always room for specialists. Perhaps some of you, when you advance to the amphibian and then finally to reptile class, will find a certain aptitude and be assigned to field work. It will seem glamorous of course, to be working in film, television, and 'media', but don't worry my dear slugs and flatworms, the glamour will soon wear off and you will realize you are just an ordinary tempter—working for little recognition and no reward except to know that you are serving our dark and glorious Lord below.
So then, you disgusting slime strings, you may open your textbooks to Chapter One—Images and Idols. Work your way through it, while I nip into the next room for a cup of lava. When I return . . . we'll have a little chat.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. His latest book is Catholicism Pure and Simple. Visit his blog and sign up for Faith Works! his free, weekly newsletter on the practical practice of the Catholic faith here.