We’re a bit depressed this morning.
No, not because the stock market has gone haywire this week.
And no, not because of all this political bantering that seems to fill every void of our lives these days.
No, we’re depressed because of something that involves the Pope… and, oddly enough, we haven’t stepped foot in a Catholic church in years.
You see, we spent a few hours in the studio this week recording the audio version of one of our newest books. (Apparently, we thought it’d be smart to work on two at once.)
It’s a compilation of our thoughts and musings on Ben Franklin and his 13 virtues.
The aim of the short work is to take a classical view on a modern debate. What does it mean to be a man? What should we leave behind? What does it take to bring us to our very best?
We’ve had a lot of fun working on the book.
But now that it’s nearly ready to be published, we fear we’ve made a grave mistake.
We fear we may be wasting our time.
What’s Wrong With Us?
Are we and our not-so-humble mission too late? Are we doomed to fail?
That certainly appears to be the case as we spread open the dusty pages of America’s newspapers this week.
We’ve got bombs being mailed to politicians. We’ve got Satan-worshiping 12-year-old girls planning stabbing sprees at their schools. And we’ve got word of a pack of teens running wild in New York, robbing just about anything in their path.
It’s clear the world needs what we’re doing… but does it want it?
Is it ready for the sort of medicine that could ail what’s wrong?
We sure don’t think so.
Take, for instance, some head-scratching news out of the Vatican this week. Pope Francis held a meeting with a very pertinent purpose.
He’s working to build a bridge between the youngest and the oldest generations.
It makes great sense… until we see who’s on the guest list.
You’ve surely heard of Martin Scorsese. He’s the Hollywood legend who is known (and praised) for making an art out of violence and profanity.
Take, for example, this review of his popular movie The Departed:
Violence is promised throughout the film, and in the third act, it is delivered in one of the most nightmarish sequences in movie history. It isn’t disturbing in the manipulative way some horror films play with fears, but rather, it feels terrifyingly real because the character is so expertly drawn as a loner on the brink of mental collapse that when it finally happens, the result is almost worse than what our imaginations had anticipated.
Next time you turn on the TV and see somebody describing a deadly shooting spree as if it were “something out of a movie,” we beg you to think of that quote.
It’s true that art imitates life… but the depraved sure as hell get their ideas from the movies.
And yet Scorsese is so blind to the big screen’s effect on our culture that he stood in front of the Pope and asked what’s wrong.
With a Straight Face
How do the older generations, the famed movie man wants to know, fix what’s wrong?
“How can we elderly people,” he asked, “strengthen and guide the young in what they’ve gotta go through in life?”
Surely the Pope, as modern as he is, was thinking what we’re all thinking. “Turn off the damned TV.”
But wait… Scorsese ain’t done.
“How, Holy Father,” he continued, seemingly ignoring the forked tail sticking out of his own pants leg, “can the faith of a young woman and man survive in this maelstrom?”
And there you have it, folks.
All of the world’s problems summed up in one dumb question asked by what appears to be quite a dumb man.
The solution, as a man as successful as Scorsese surely must understand, lies right in front of him each time he looks in the mirror.
It’s in front of all of us when we gaze into that wondrous reflective glass.
The church isn’t going to solve this problem. A movie isn’t going to solve it. And surely some political feel-goodery isn’t going to fix it.
There’s just one person… It was Time magazine’s person of the year in 2006.
As we discuss in our upcoming book, no man is perfect. We all have flaws.
But a good man doesn’t beg for somebody else to fix the problem. He doesn’t point his finger in another’s direction and tell him to get it right.
No, he looks in himself.
He sees what’s wrong.
And he fixes it.
Franklin devoted an entire day each week to it. Every Sunday, he’d reflect on who he was and who he wanted to become.
Is that idea alive today? Do most folks take Sunday and stare in the mirror?
Nope… there’d be no time to lay on the couch and watch Scorsese’s latest horror flick.
We’ll finish our book. And we’ll be proud of our work. You can bet on it.
You can also bet that we’ll mail an autographed copy of it to the man who is so confused about how the world suddenly got so violent.
But we won’t expect to see him turn it into a movie anytime soon.
After all, it’s art that imitates life.
And, we fear, few folks want the life we’re offering.