I will always remember Super Bowl XLVIII as a game and halftime show that did not live up to the hype. Now, do not get me wrong, although the game was a dud, there was a brilliant halftime performance by Bruno Mars with an energetic appearance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The halftime hype I am referring to is “The Halftime Show that Wasn’t,” or more precisely the mass gay wedding that wasn’t. It seems the Internet, or Rumornet as I like to call it, reported a mass gay wedding would be performed at halftime of the super bowl. Of course, it was a hoax and did not happen, but some people were duped, hoodwinked, fooled, or just plain misled into not watching the halftime show due to the ruse. That is a shame because they missed one of the better Super Bowl halftime entertainments that we have witnessed in a long time. However, what makes this really sad is that this is another example of the “Chicken Little and the sky is falling” mentality that has engulfed our society over the past few years. It is simply madness, but I will talk more about that later. First, I want to address a couple of simple truths.
Truth number one: Do not believe everything you see or hear on the Internet. This is one of the first lessons about the Internet that we teach school children. Intermingled with the reliable information are rumors, misinformation, pranks, garbage, and outright lies that the responsible Internet surfer must wade through to get to the truth. Unfortunately, that does not always happen when kids get on the Internet, and apparently it does not happen with some adults as well. When dealing with kids, that is expected, but when dealing with adults, that is irresponsible.
Truth number two: It is irresponsible for any adult, but especially adults in positions of trust such as the ministry and public office to spread rumors, gossip, or hearsay. I know what I am saying may be offensive to some, but it is the truth. People in leadership positions are not perfect, and they will from time to time make honest mistakes, but a mistake that is the result of uncorroborated information is irresponsible. People look to their leaders for guidance, and when a leader says or infers something anti-Christian will take place during halftime of the super bowl, people listen. People look at their leaders as informed, and believe they would not say it unless it was true. Therefore, it is wise for people in positions of trust to exercise some forethought and maybe even a little caution when speaking publicly as well as privately, especially in this day of social media where everyone lives in a glass house.
We are all human, and as a result, we are all guilty of overloading our mouths from time to time. However, let me put you in touch with a little reality secret. If you are truly seeking the truth, you should stay away from such websites as Adobo Chronicles, Deadspin, and The Onion. Everything you read on these sites is based on truth, except for the lies. Of course, I am only naming three of countless Internet websites that pander misinformation as the truth. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, or if it is so far to the left or right that it borders on the ridiculous, that is probably a good sign that you need to seek more information before you buy into it.
However, “The Halftime that Wasn’t” would hardly be noteworthy if it was not another example of Chicken Little screaming the sky is falling. This is just the latest episode of the untethered paranoia that seems to be swallowing our country whole. Folks, it is pure madness what is happening in our country. When I think about the psychotic fog that has settled over our nation, I am reminded of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” The poem, which depicts the slow fall of a distraught lover into madness, could be seen as an allegory of today’s America. With each passing day, we seem to become more and more a distraught society slipping ever closer toward insanity. In fact, madness seems to have become our raven sitting on the “bust of Pallus,” but rather than speaking the ominous “Nevermore,” our madness speaks of conspiracies, paranoia, hate, and distrust. Our madness demands our opinions be heard, but yet takes offense when other people dare voice their opinions. Our madness cries out to believe and live as we choose, but yet is repulsed by the beliefs and lifestyles of our neighbors. Our madness takes exception to anyone who does not like or agree with what we say or do, but yet, thinks nothing of condemning what others say or do. Our madness proclaims we are Christians, but yet is quick to judge and dismiss the religious rights and beliefs of others. Like the distraught lover in “The Raven,” who mourns the loss of his love, our madness laments the loss of freedom, but yet forgets freedom comes with tolerance and understanding. Unfortunately, such madness is a reflection of our hearts, and if not reconciled, this madness will continue to give birth to such insidious events as the “The Halftime that Wasn’t,” and over time decay the very morals on which we have built our society.
© 2014, Jack Linton