Friday, June 18, 2004

Pandora's Box, Side A

Salon.com:

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The management company that represents Britney Spears and 'N Sync is searching for a divine voice.

'Gifted,'' a Christian version of the popular American Idol TV show, is scheduled to debut in October on Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based conglomerate that features such well-known evangelists as Benny Hinn.

It's American Idol! Minus the modicum of talent and subtle references to idolatry! As if American Idol isn't saccharine and sanitized enough. I suppose the contemporary dress-code and ocasional flirtatious wink was too much for the Christian Entertainment world to handle.

As Slacktivist points out, this is more than just an uppity youth group or conglomerate of Mothers Against Short Skirts (MASS). The SIC community has for quite a long while now, engaged in a long standing trend of undermining aesthetic sensibilities in order to promote their core values namely, vapid witnessing to dogma rather than scriptural fellowship and advertising what they are against rather than for.

The real problem with Christian Pop Music or any Evangelical Art in general is not that it's preachy. It's that it's afraid of artistic conventions like metaphor, irony and ambiguous narrative, as Slacktivist elaborates:

It is no accident that the Left Behind novels are remarkably free of metaphor, of multi-leveled themes, or even of the kinds of visual details that might be taken to stand for something at a non-literal level. Artless art -- explicit, monovalent, prosaic prose -- is the only permissible form of storytelling.

Evangelical Artists reject ambiguity because it breads a tendency towards introspection and interpretation. If you don't have the message spelled out for you in bold capital letters or blatant choruses of "Our God is an Awesome God," than you might go looking for the message and find something that challenges the Evangelical Dogma.

This rejection of metaphor also explains the Satanic Panic of the seventies and eighties, when SICs tried to prove that there were evil messages hidden backwards on the records of Musicians like Kiss, Metallica, Twisted Sister and the Beatles. Perplexed by the lyrics of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, these concerned mothers and tightly wrapped preachers went looking for a sign and stumbled over their own unexplored subconscious. And it frightened them. So unaccustomed to playing with our cultural archetypes were they, that they shut their eyes, said a dozen hallelujahs and went and formed their own music label, only insular home schooled kids with WWJD bracelets need apply.

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