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Building a Better Media Culture

Photo by Anete Lusina

Ninety percent of media offerings today are controlled by six major media empires: AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Disney, Newscorp and Viacom. As a Catholic who has always valued subsidiarity and freedom of creative expression, I'm here to support independent voices. Building up formidable competition to these empires is a lifelong commitment. They were not built in a day. Daily blog posts are not enough to compete, I know. But I can use these posts to share my vision. That is what I aim to do. If you have a similar goal, if you want to see a more diverse media in your lifetime, just don't give up. Little by little we can all show these six conglomerates some considerable competition.

In my grandmother's day, Catholics had ethnic parishes that had many of their own ethnic rituals and mores. To this day we see it, but these ethnic communities are now within our parishes, which troubles me. One parish will try to accommodate multiple cultures (youth, Hispanics, charismatic, traditional, Filipino). Each one then forms a sort of sub-parish, causing the parish community to splinter each time. Our attempts to accommodate everyone dilute and confuse the more valuable principles that unite us. Everything is getting bigger, and that's not making things better. Ethnic parishes used to be very to-themselves, for sure, but when it came to important principles and tenets of the faith---like traditional family values and religious liberty---they all came together because they knew it was the Catholic faith that united them and made them strong, not their ethnicity or the size of their parish.

What I'm saying is, even if there are a bunch of individual Catholic bloggers, podcasters, and other influencers creating their own style of content, we can show our unity when it comes to the truths proclaimed by the Catholic Church. These truths are stronger than any and all the foundations of the six media empires---which don't have much of a foundation at all. We show our unity through our distinct, creative, authentic individuality. For instance, every state in the United States has their own laws, government, state bird, seal, and so on. Each one state is its own authentic sovereign society, and yet they are all proudly a part of the same United States. The Church ought to be, and used to be, the same way. This is why I actually support the use of the vernacular in Mass, but I also support those parishes that want Mass in Latin. It is our freedom that unites us.

As we have noticed over the decades, the six conglomerates that rule media in America today are starting to show their true colors. Their creed is inevitable for those who don't believe in God. They believe in magic, secular humanism, and the state. Without God, we are left to believe only in ourselves. This has become a quite popular creed in media today: Believe in yourself above all else, and others will believe in you as well. How much they believe in you will then be reflected by the number of likes you get. This causes many people to just chase popularity and, as a result, they lose sight of anything higher and bigger than themselves.

So, I am building a space where good media can live. Here I will list the media I have found that helps us look beyond ourselves to something greater, so as to give us something worth living for. I will try to share here my favorite media of the week, or month, or as often as I can get to the task. The list will include an:

  1. Article

  2. Book

  3. Game

  4. Movie

  5. Podcast

  6. Social Media Post

  7. Song

  8. Video

It works out well that the number of categories is 8, because all good media is produced with a vision of infinity and eternity in mind, since there is no limit to the human imagination. Now, the media may not be nominally Catholic, but it will at least be of interest to an audience that values truth, goodness and beauty. This way, by sharing wholesome media, hopefully we can help put to bed the bad media so prevalent today.

Article: How to Build Beautiful Places (Current Affairs) - "What Alexander was striving for was that architects should love their buildings like parents love their children. Every detail of the building—every windowsill, the door handles—there should be that much attention to detail and care all over the different items of a building."

Book: The Brothers Karamozov - “For those who renounce Christianity and rebel against it . . . neither their wisdom nor the ardor of their hearts has been able to create another, higher image of man and his dignity than the image shown of old by Christ.”

Game: Sid Meier's Civilization 4 - The quotes for the technologies alone make it full of more riches than most games, but it was also bold enough to insert religions into the game. These elements and the whole big-picture concept of the game make it an epic gaming experience. Civ 5 didn't improve much, and Civ 6 is a game I just can't get into because it changed so much. But just the thought of playing Civ 4 reminds me of better times.

Movie: Roommates - A boy moves in with his grandpa after his parents die. The relationship they build through the movie is one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced in cinema.

Podcast: Bible in a Year (with Fr Mike Schmitz [Ascension]) - I plan to usually post podcast episodes, but this inaugural selection highlights the entire podcast by Fr Schmitz and Ascension, just for the sheer breadth of the offering. It provides great structure and motivation for reading the whole Bible, which is something many of us plan to do anyway. As much as I love the idea of listening to the podcast every day for a year, I find that just listening to any episode whenever you can still provides a beautiful window into the wonder and mystery of God's book. Just "tolle et lege". Or, in this case, click and listen.

Social Media Post: It's My Destiny (WayToBillionaire) - I'm not sure if I believe in destiny or fate (perhaps that's a post for another time), but this post helps me believe that maybe we each do have one. If we each do have a destiny given to us by God, it makes sense that the world, the flesh, and he devil would be our greatest foes against accomplishing it.

Song: Steak Night at the Prairie Rose (Mike and the Moonpies) - This song is about a boy raised by his father and his bar friends after his mom and dad split. I don't know why I connect with it so much. I guess it's just because it shows how some good can come out of brokenness. The story told beforehand (in the video provided) tells of how the singer/songwriter may have even found his calling to be a singer in the bar. I'm not glorifying bars here. The song just shows that not all hope is lost if you're raised in a broken family. Our culture has damaged many youths. Because so many people were raised in broken families, because our pride so often gets in the way of making marriages work, alternatives emerge in the peripherals of our culture--like in bars, where the regulars learn to love and help raise their father's child. It's not ideal, but it is real and true.

Video: Prayer life Stink? A short guide on how to talk with God, not to God (IMBeggar) - I found this video when I needed it the most. I was losing touch with the essence and purpose of prayer. This video brought me back to the basics.



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