Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Profundity Of Community

I'm not sure if any of you watch the NBC program "Community." If you don't, you really should. It's one of the most consistently funny shows I've seen in a very long time. The Community Christmas special was a spoof of past stop-motion animated items. It was very well done, but it also had, in my opinion, a very profound message that speaks to modernity's abuse of Christmas and anything else that's sacred.

The whole point of this episode was that one of the characters, Abed, was attempting to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Yes, it is trite and cliche, that's the point. I'm not going to spoil things, so I'll skip to the chase. When Abed receives his epiphany, it is in the form of the following:

"I get it. The meaning of Christmas is . . . the idea that Christmas has meaning, and it can mean whatever we want."

This was sort of alluded to in the Glee Christmas special (yes, I know I watch too much TV), when every 4th line was "Christmas is about forgiveness/being thankful/spending time with friends/whatever." It's also alluded to in every other secularized bit of holiday claptrap.

What we have these days is a situation where the essence of things, what they really are, no longer matter. Our exaltation of ourselves and the attending elevation of our subjective opinions to the level of universal truths makes it really easy to just ramble off that kind of nonsense without even thinking about whether or not we might be wrong.

Sure, I suppose that life can be a whole lot easier when we just define things how we want and ignore reality. It leaves said life a bit vapid and empty, though, not to mention destructive to the soul and intellect. It reminds me of the exchange between Alice and Humpty Dumpty:

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'

The weird part is that folks will laugh about this dialogue and acknowledge how ridiculous it is. Then they'll turn around and do the exact same thing whether it's with Christmas or even God Himself.

Kudos to shows like Community for demonstrating this absurdity to a contemporary audience. You can watch the episode for free on Hulu.

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