April 22, 2009

When Jason Changed His Mind

2009 1512 page7 capOMBARDED. THAT IS HOW I FELT THE DAY AFTER JASON MESNICK dumped his fiancée for the runner-up on the reality television show The Bachelor. On that March day almost all the major Internet news sites I came across, including network stations MSN and CNN, headlined the story. Researching another topic, I could not escape the flurry of words relating (and reliving) the incident in which the single dad admitted he “made a mistake” in whom he picked for his future wife. “Outrage” and “shock” were some of the nicer sentiments mentioned in reported viewer responses—which were also impossible to ignore entirely.
While it’s silly, first of all, to go on TV to try to find a life partner (this social experiment has failed time and time again!), I think it is even more outrageous that people care so passionately about the whole sordid affair.
I get the appeal. Wouldn’t anyone rather release tension on this guy, in his quasi-real life situation, than deal with the reality of home foreclosures, lost jobs, and vanished retirement funds? It doesn’t take much from us—we can rally against something that is vicariously “safe.” We can criticize collectively and somehow feel better about our own dismal situations. Railing against the bachelor makes us feel better—at least for the moment.
But I propose something superior, positive, and longer lasting. Rather than rail at (or support) the pedestrian things of our world, we can rally together under the amazing banner of the gospel message. How great would it be if the news coverage was all about rallying against real injustice, poverty, deprivation! How awesome would it be if we saw how many picked Jesus over all others! How wonderful would it be if the Internet were blanketed—bombarded—with headlines about Christians being Christian!

Kimberly Luste Maran is an assistant editor of the Adventist Review.