Joke of the Day (except that it’s true)

I’m not making this up. This just happened to me.

I was contacted this morning by someone who works for one of the three major news networks. They wanted me to come downtown and film a segment for a TV news talk-show addressing the question, “Is the media anti-religious?”

I prepared. I pondered. I was ready.

Here was the basic idea of my planned reply:

“‘The media (if we must use such a vast generalization, like “Hollywood” or “Democrats” or “Republicans”) tends to go with whatever will be the most arresting story, and thus “they” often go for extreme voices instead of something closer to the truth. Thus, we end up with a lot of stories about religious people doing extreme and terrible things, or about religious people being ‘intolerant.’ But you get the same thing in the religious press … religious voices speaking in extreme, attention-grabbing, self-righteous terms about the non-religious. It would be helpful for the nation as a whole if other voices were given room, to represent religious people who are actually thinking people interested in contributing to a healthy, balanced dialogue instead of throwing stones from the far end of the spectrum.”

Then, a few minutes later, before they had heard anything about my potential replies, they called back.

And guess what…

They told me I wasn’t an “extreme-enough” voice. They had realized I wasn’t going to be offering an extreme anti-media response, and were looking for some religious person who would.

I can’t think of a punchline good enough to end this story.

Perhaps this is the punchline– just repeating the question: Is the media anti-religious? Here we have a media outlet “reporting” on how Christians think they’re being marginalized … and how do they create the story? By marginalizing Christians.

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Jeffrey Overstreet has relaunched a bigger, better version of this blog at The new Looking Closer doesn't have any of the trashy click-bait advertisements that you're probably seeing all over this Patheos page. So give yourself a break.

  • jasdye

    Pray for me. I need some serious, serious counseling.

    “You can do it!”

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Thanks for the updates, Adam and Matt. Sounds like I’ve got to catch “The Edukators.”

    Sorry to hear about “The Holy Girl.” I don’t recommend films that have gratuitous sex in them, so it sounds like this one needs to go on my DO NOT PROMOTE list.

  • Matt Page

    FWIW I’ve seen both 2046 & Edukators and started threads on them at the Arts and Faith discussion forum. Edukators particularly is a great piece of work, and I will be amazed if anything beats it for film of the year for me.


  • Adam Walter

    I agree–there’s much, much to look forward to this year. However, I expect international offerings will do far better than Argentina’s The Holy Girl (e.g., I’m sure Saraband will be one of the year’s high points with Bergman returning to the director’s chair with his first big thing since, what, 1982’s Fanny and Alexander?). I just saw The Holy Girl a couple days ago at the Seattle film fest, and it really was a disappointment. The dicey bits of the film (a masturbation scene & some pretty disturbing teen sex) were hardly justified by the loose plot. Also, once the film finally gets around to setting up an arbitrary climactic moment, it fizzles. The climax never comes–hence, no denouement and nothing like a resolution. And the director really didn’t do much with the religion angle.

  • Bryan Zug

    funny and sad all at the same time — thanks for documenting the journey — these are things you suspect, but never really have concrete examples of…

  • mark

    Not extreme enough. Did they read your letter to the fans of “The Passion…”?

  • Neb

    If you put this in a novel your editor would say, “Sorry, not believable enough.” The media are totally pathetic. Check this out:

  • Foolish Knight

    That’s just plain crazy.

  • David Smedberg

    You know, that’s just terrible. Too bad you’re not gonna tell us which one of the networks it was . . .

    Surprised they were so frank as to tell you what the motive behind the call-back was.