On Miley and more: Lessons in perspective Syria, 'Screwtape Letters' put celebrity news in context

Published on Friday, 30 August 2013 22:48 - Written by By Rebecca Hoeffner rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

Some things have happened in the last couple weeks that were so offensive, so outrageous, that it’s taken the news by storm.

Two performers danced lewdly at an award show that already celebrates such themes. Can you believe it? The audacity.

Oh, and then there’s the little matter of Syria’s president allegedly using chemical weapons on his own people.

This is not to say I’ve been diligent in keeping up with Syria myself. I was shocked to read that Syria’s civil war has been going on for two years now, and the death toll is well over 100,000 people.

Imagine if everyone in Tyler was killed, and you’re still about a couple thousand short of the death toll.

In C.S. Lewis’ classic, “The Screwtape Letters,” one of the senior demon’s biggest pieces of advice to his young mentee is to keep his human distracted.

It’s one of evil’s most efficient strategies.

Who knows what the United States military should do, if anything. Our leaders are no doubt heavily weighing their choices. While there may be a best option, there are no good ones.

All I’m saying is that in the flood of Internet posts about Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus, there was a quiet little story about a father who was reunited with his toddler, whom he thought had been killed in the chemical attack. In the video, he wept and collapsed from joy and relief. Then he just smiled as he gazed into his young son’s face and stroked his hair, grateful to hold him again.

Many other parents weren’t so lucky.

So what was Ms. Cyrus’ reaction to all the criticism about her vulgar performance? She was thrilled that she got so much attention, which no doubt makes her a profit somewhere down the line. She is a business, after all.

“Thanks to processes which we set at work in them centuries ago, they find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes,” Screwtape said to his nephew about humans. “Keep pressing home on him the ordinariness of things.”

Maybe, just maybe, we let ourselves be too distracted from what is really important.