Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Uncomfortable with your own culture

A wise man once said:
If you don't like the way the world is turning out, then there's no point shouting at the TV. Try this instead: Go and live in a major city and start to exercise some kind of positive influence. Cities are culture factories. Culture is made in the large cities of this world. Do what you can to influence the culture around you by living in a city. Raise a family. Create a legacy of culture-changers who influence media and politics.”
So what's that got to do with Korr?
This may take a little while to explain...
Let me take you to one of my favourite places in Korr – the TV cottage (okay, I don't know what to call it). There is a small rectangular building in Korr that regularly houses some fifty or so passionate football fans, for the latest offering from the English Premier League. Ahhh, the wonders of television. For ninety minutes each week I have a window into my own culture.

Last weekend, with Manchester United 3-0 up at half-time, I sat back on my plastic chair, looking forward to more of the same in the second half. Ali Abdi, the proprietor of the establishment, likes to flick through the channels at half-time and on this night he settled on a Hollywood blockbuster for fifteen minutes.
Not such a comfortable half-time break for me.
The blockbuster in question played out the usual kinds of scenes:
-sleazy moments, where a man makes sexual advances on a woman and she provides little resistance;
-swaggering 'bad guy' who makes evil appear like a whole lot of fun;
-a wide variety of gruesome ways to die, in glorious technicolour;
I was the sole representative of Western culture in the room. Of course, no one turned around and blamed me for the film, but I couldn't help feeling a little ashamed. Guilty by association? After fifteen minutes of squirming (watching 'my' culture), the football was back on and the film was forgotten. But I wonder what people from Korr must think when they consider my culture, when they see the Hollywood approach to life. Sure, the special effects were impressive, but the morality?
To your average Englishman, I know that I'm sounding prudish right now, but keep in mind, most people in Korr go to the mosque or church where purity is preached and they may see very little or nothing of the world of television, magazines and the Internet from one day to the next. I heard a guy comment on this once,
The majority of teenagers in Korr are a bit like clean cotton wool. They are not corrupted by mass media like we are.”
They say that plastic bags are one of the great evils that the West have shared with the world, and I'm not denying that, but consider the effect of the 'entertainment' Western culture shares with the watching world. 
Maybe it's time to go and live in the city after all...

I do take heart from the words I find in the Bible that we can make a great difference wherever we are. Check out the words of Jesus, from the book of Matthew. 

13 You are the salt of the earth... 

14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

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