It’s an odd world in which we live these days, one in which actions speak volumes while volumes are being spoken that collectively, to paraphrase Shakespeare, are a tale spoken by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Fans of Cephas Hour are rejoicing that the Call, with the late and deeply lamented Michael Been’s son Robert Levon Been taking his place, are playing a handful of shows next month. Not quite the worldwide headlines that accompany every time Jason Bonham fills in for his late father at a Led Zeppelin show, but significant nonetheless. The younger Been is a talented artist; his powerhouse rock combo Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has a strong and steady following. With BRMC’s new record coming out in a couple of weeks it is doubtful Been’s collaboration with his father’s bandmates will be extended much past the two presently scheduled dates; his band starts its tour promoting its new record the following week. Still, for those of us fortunate enough to be able to attend one of the two shows, it will be a welcome respite from today’s dreary music scene.
As mentioned before there is a family vibe among fans of classic Christian alt rock. We cherish the music, the artists and each other as together we celebrate not just what was, but what is and what will be. When you know the present moment is not all there is and you know the past is a signpost pointing toward a shared future of life and love in which all the suffering of this life will be washed away, you see things differently. The trivial fades before the triumph of the cross and the empty grave.
It’s not that nothing else matters. An awareness of Christ clarifies world vision. It adds impetus toward taking action and speaking out on issues of the day, mindful of how they impact lives far beyond the surface. Even as faith permeates all aspects of a believer’s life, Jesus is present in all aspects of life period, be it as creator, healer, savior or admonisher that we should never abuse His creation through sin. And all are His creation, despite the efforts of many to behave in a manner anything but reflective of this truth.
One of the, if not the, most offensive of all offenses against Christ is when an individual portrays himself or herself as His humble servant when his or her actions state loudly this is not the case. The person who lambastes others for their misdeeds while either deliberately downplaying (translation: lying about) their own or denying them altogether, declaring he or she to be a purveyor of good while doing harm to the very cause and/or people allegedly being supported, must be called out and called to account. Life is both short and precious. There is no time for the trivial pursuing vainglorious nonsense.
In this light, recent activities by assorted and in some cases sordid-behaving conservative new media members warrant mention. I would much rather talk about the things of Christ. However, these people claim to both know Him and uplift Him even as their actions dishonor Him. To state this is not judging others. It is a matter of declaring the truth. Which, as I recall, was what Jesus did regardless of who took it in what fashion. Jesus is an extraordinarily equal opportunity individual. He smacks everyone, every single one of us, across the face with the truth.
A couple of days ago it came to light that Joshua Trevino, who’s done assorted writing for and performed various job services for conservative publications and politicians, was part of a contingent that over a recent three year period received close to $400,000 from the Malaysian government. In return, Trevino wrote, as well as placed from others, posts plus columns and articles in several publications promoting said government’s policies, especially its campaign against one Anwar Ibrahim (proper name Anwar). Anwar is a flawed individual to say the least, feet firmly planted on both sides of the fence over issues such as Israel versus Palestine. Generally, however, he is viewed as a pro-liberty, anti-corruption politician. He also supports to a degree gay rights, thus ensuring he is most unlikely to receive a speaking invitation to CPAC anytime soon. But I digress.
Trevino and his current employer Chuck Devore, for whom Trevino served as communications manager during his failed campaign to win the California GOP nomination to face Barbara Boxer for her Senate seat in 2010, have both dismissed the matter as no big deal and common practice stuff. This assertion unravels when considering that Trevino failed to make mention of this deal until now and had in the past vehemently denied its existence. I’m no legal expert, but I believe this falls into the category commonly referred to as “lying.”
Okay, so we’ve established Trevino is dishonest money-grubbing scum. No other description for a paid shill insisting he or she isn’t one comes to mind. However, the reaction by others to Trevino’s now-disclosed activities would be laughable if they were not deeply lamentable as they go off on him for his actions while in their next breath talking up events such as CPAC and BlogBash.
Circle back to earlier and the discussion about the Christian classic alt rock family. It has been preached loud and long that conservative new media is a family, or at least ought to be; an army of Davids speaking truth to power and fighting against the liberal mainstream media. Brothers and sisters in arms, one and all. Sounds great, does it not?
As also mentioned earlier, sound and fury.
One has to but glance at the upcoming CPAC charade to see there is not only zero unity in conservative new media, it is increasingly intent on clawing itself to death. You have the nonsense of BlogBash, an event run by Ali Akbar with financial support from front organizations run by individuals who have received financial aid from Akbar’s allegedly non-profit fundraising efforts. This is more commonly known as kickbacks. Meanwhile, in a world allegedly home to the conservative new media family you have a party, thrown by an organization (National Bloggers Club) that has completely abandoned its original stated objective to create an umbrella under which individual bloggers could be better equipped for acceptance as legitimate media for news events, billing itself as the most exclusive event at CPAC. Actually, given its rejection of GOProud and Pamela Geller CPAC itself is the most exclusive event at CPAC. But again I digress.
The hypocrisy grows in light of the aforementioned exclusions, which have generated tremendous heat but precious little action in terms of people refusing to support CPAC and/or its organizer the American Conservative Union, better known as ACU. The party goes on unabated, with many paying lip service to the notion they are going to CPAC regardless of the ACU as a means of building networks and the like. Really? That is steer manure in a seeping sack. They are going to see and be seen, perhaps playing the role of heroic rebel telling people off even as they reinforce their position within a phantom kingdom’s hierarchy.
There is a belief among these people that they are individually and collectively creating a new media empire. The reality is they have constructed an echo chamber, sealed off from those who so little as wish to become participants within its walls let alone the outside world, in which they scramble for a higher place at the banquet table, alternating between boot-licking and face-punching each other in an effort to get ahead. All the while, they remain unshakable in their delusion, labeled as belief, they are changing the world despite the inconvenient truth of the world neither knowing nor caring they exist. But don’t let that stop the party or handing out awards to each other. Their patron saint is Little Jack Horner.
The question begs asking as to who is truly effective in communicating the conservative message. Answer? Those with an audience outside the echo chamber. Translation: those who catch the most flak from wannabes. For example, taking potshots at Rush Limbaugh has become fashionable among the impatient young insistent they deserve the audience he has built even as he continues to outdraw them all combined. Indeed, we see many instances of organizations and individuals known and unknown, usually the latter, demanding those who are better known (at whatever level this might be) give them full and immediate access to their audience, followed by public temper tantrums when this is not instantly granted. I know I have at times played this “victim” card. There is neither honor nor correctness in having done so, and it is hardly to my credit this has taken place. All I can do is resolve to not do it again, instead of doing things the proper way. Others can, and will, do as they wish.
Who is genuinely creating a media force to counteract what we currently endure? Breitbart was on the path of doing so, but tragically died before his vision could be implemented. The only person moving the needle toward genuine media integration right now is Glenn Beck. I chuckled when I read how FreedomWorks is working with Glenn Beck’s media organization the Blaze to run the next BlogCon, scheduled for this May in Dallas. It takes no gift of prophecy to state that between now and then you will see a host of conservative bloggers who have previously kept Beck at arms length, if not openly derided him, having a sudden epiphany about how he is in fact the great and good leader we should all follow and uplift. This after months, going on years, of having either completely ignored Beck or ripped on him over accusations of routinely using the works of others without crediting the original source and the fact he and Breitbart were at loggerheads over same. So much for the #IAmBreitbart battle cry.
It all winds back to family and faith. Does family segregate itself from one another in order to declare who actually belongs, in the process of doing so puffing itself up over non-existent accomplishments? Does faith lead one such as Trevino, who has proclaimed loud and long his Catholicism-rooted devotion to God, to surreptitiously accept payment for promoting a foreign government that is no friend of freedom? Do we continue to kid ourselves that how we conduct ourselves is unimportant as long as we’re doing what we believe is vital work when in fact we evangelize no one but each other? Are these the ways of family and faith? Are these the ways of Christ? Is this the path of peace?
There is a better way.
It is summarized in one word: honesty. Honesty about who and what we are, told to ourselves as well as each other. Honesty when we mess up. Honesty when we need to humble ourselves before those we have wronged. Honesty about our beliefs, whatever they may be. As to the latter, to those whose who insist separation of faith and politics is a must in order to gain an audience, or at the very least making little if any mention of faith when discussing politics so as to not overly antagonize and exclude potential listeners might I point out that being open about what they believe never crimped U2′s record sales. Or, for that matter, made the Call pariahs.
Everywhere I go I see God’s handiwork. It is regrettable when people in word and especially deed exclude and dishonor Him from so much that truly matters, in the process minimizing their potential impact to nothing.