The Publicity Paradox

Journalist Ted Koppel once challenged an audience to “Consider this paradox: Almost everything that is publicly said these days is recorded. Almost nothing of what is said is worth remembering.”

If that was the case thirty five years ago, how much more today. A trickle of information has become a torrent that threatens to drown us in mundane words and contradictory ideas. And technology has forever transformed the thought landscape, for better or worse.

In his day, media theorist Marshall McLuhan mused, “Gutenberg made everybody a reader. Xerox makes everybody a publisher.” In our day the Internet makes everybody a celebrity pundit whose random opinion instantly can go global. Cut-and-paste wisdom competes with cat-and-puppy videos while “friends” assume you share their political views and anxiously await photos of their lunch. (Help!)

We need to laugh, and should not become communication curmudgeons. But our new, mandatory free time intensifies the need to sift what we read, hear, and view. Apostle Paul helps (Philippians 4:8): “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about these things.”

Solomon anticipated our dilemma three millennia ago: “Of making many books there is no end.” In context (Ecclesiastes 12:9-14), he was warning against the avalanche of media that can bury the wise words of the One Shepherd.

May no book, blog, or video distract us from Him.
His words are life and surely worth remembering.

“Father, all of my viewing and listening and reading I lay before you this day. Help me choose wisely what will help me and glorify you.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.”

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