So Close, So Far

In a scintillating poem, “Late Apocalypse,” Scott Cairns (Slow Pilgrim, 214-5), Scott Cairns gives the sharpest, pithiest description of the contradictions of communications technology I’ve ever read. Cairns is playing off Revelation 1, where John “turned to see the voice.” Again and again the narrator of the poem turns – to see “seven bright convenience stores” and “seven military vehicles” and “seven Wal Marts.” Then:

I turned and beheld seven rows of plasma screens, each bearing
seven vivid scenes, each flickering, each pulsing with a light
revealing distant terrors, conflagrations, sufferings—and all
thereby brought so close, and all thereby kept far away.

That is it: Those screens before which we spend our days bring every human horror before our eyes. The terror is all there, so close. But the screen keeps us safe, and we know it. The terror can’t get to us, it’s beyond the pulsing screen, haunting our dreams and making us shake our heads in sad sympathy, but not threatening.

"FYI our Uniting Church of Australia has its Pitt Street Uniting Church led by a ..."

Canon and Church
"I quite agree. But our knowledge of Jesus comes from the narrative traditions which were ..."

Canon and Church
"If God is indeed real and good then anyone whom does not teach good is ..."

Canon and Church
"Why use Paul (just some guy) as your measuring stick. His philosophy was entirely different ..."

Canon and Church

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!