All-Star Media

Hey now, you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play
Hey now, you’re a rock star, get the show on, get paid
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mold

I will, I’m afraid, never get that 2012 song by Smash Mouth out of my head. It seems that the coolest thing to do lately–or maybe it was a cool thing several years ago and my grandsons have only just discovered it–is to use that song in strange and unfamiliar settings. In the last few minutes, I’ve been treated to Kermit the Frog singing “All Star.” Before that it was Heath Ledger as the Joker followed by Shrek. So that you’ll share my misery, I’m embedding the original song’s video here.

Yes, this morning, as we wait for it to be time to go to church, as Penny is getting dressed and I’ve already taken care of the dog, Isa is sitting on the couch rocking out to “All Star” memes. It could be worse, I suppose. But then I’m afraid it will get worse.

Recently, in considering my recent 46 hours wasted watching Z Nation, I mentioned Richard Baxter’s four questions for vetting appropriate reading material. Today, I’m tempted to use the second question–“Are there better books that would edify me more?”–with Isa.

I love the fact that Baxter’s implied measurement for the quality of a book is how much it would edify him. Granted, “edify” isn’t a word that we use a great deal, and it’s one that Isa probably doesn’t know at all. What if we tried “build up” or “make me better”? I have to confess that my measurement for most media, whether it be the gardening videos that Penny watches, contemporary novels, or zombie television shows, is not edification but entertainment quality. When the last episode of Z Nation finally wrapped, I was relieved not because I hadn’t been edified but because the overall story of the series had become tedious.

Richard Baxter might not agree with me on the edifying qualities of some of the things that I read or watch without feeling as if I’ve wasted my time. For example, I rather guess that Baxter would not have been a fan of William Shakespeare, who died just three years before Baxter was born. I could suggest that Hamlet carries powerful messages about guilt and sin and stuff like that. Baxter would probably shake his head, perhaps smile condescendingly, and then ask his question again. “Are there other books (or plays or videos) that would edify you more?”

Is my attention to things like Shakespeare or fly-fishing literature or James Fenimore Cooper and the claim that it is somehow edifying really just a rationalization, a way to excuse my guilty pleasures? I’m not completely sure that it is, but I do believe that we need to ask the question.

But what I need to do is take control of the TV from Isa before I have “All Star” etched in my brain for the rest of my life.

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