Dances with Smurfs

Every now and then, my students need to talk about something relevant to current events. I find, more than any other time, this occurs at least once during the Religion Unit of my Intro to Humanities I class. I also find that most of the issues they want to address are toward Islam, though Hinduism and Buddhism also bring up some issues of discomfort. Today was no different. Although the topic at hand was Hinduism, questions kept turning back onto Islam. This semester has seen some very interesting turns of events, from uprisings in Islamic countries to various state issues. Other issues include social issues – disbanding unions, rising gas prices, and teacher lay-offs.

At what point did the ideals of the Founding Fathers go by the wayside? And more to the point, at what point did people stop caring to fight back? Clearly, the little marches on the Capitol that keep occurring aren’t making enough of an impact.

Last night, I watched the “Dancing with Smurfs” episode of South Park. It’s a fairly recent episode, and it underscores one thing I see happening: Charismatic public figures are the best propagandists. There is a unified front of such people permeating American news media. The people they target or the people who criticize their charisma just shake their head and hope that by ignoring them, they’ will go away. If History has taught us anything, ignoring them doesn’t work.

I wish we could all be Wendys and tackle the Eric Cartmans in the media and political circles.