When I was in theological school in the ‘70s, I remember coming across the warning In 2 Timothy that one of the signs of the last of the Last Days would be that essentially people would be “off the charts” when it came to completely distorted self love, obsession with pleasure, treachery, lack of self control, egomania, hatred for parents, lack of love for God, and the list goes on. Several things of late have made me think about that warning once more.
As we wrestle in the grip of social media, and media of all types, for that matter, we find ourselves surrounded by stuff that is so goofy that even back in the heyday of the rebellion of the ‘60s we would have said, “Man, that’s messed up.”
We have a new term to illustrate this malady, fairly recently coined, and no doubt a candidate to win the annual “new dictionary word” award. It’s called “self-identification.” It defies reason, logic, common sense, and couldn’t get any traction if we didn’t have the ability to just about take “selfies” on time lapse in our sleep.
Bruce Jenner, arguably one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time, now wants to be known as Caitlyn, and “shis” picture is everywhere. I do feel sorry for “shim,” I do, because I cannot imagine how empty his soul must be, to tolerate such levels of pain and abuse to have his body mutilated in the process of being “transformed,” and no amount of surgery or airbrushed photos can fix that.
Rachel Dolezal, who was born blond and with fair skin, could have been a poster child as an “Aryan” in Hitler’s Germany. She radically changed her appearance, “self identified” as a black woman, and finally her parents exposed the fact that their daughter was not who she said she was to those in her world. She resigned from the NAACP, lost her African studies teaching job, and ended up on all the morning shows. When asked by Matt Lauer if she is African-American, she said, “I identify as black.”
Rush Limbaugh decided for the sake of satire to “self-identify” as a “skinny guy.” He has had a well-publicized life long battle with his weight, and to illustrate how self-absorbed we as a culture have become, Rush is taking the position that we should see him as skinny. Thankfully, he is not serious.
Saddam Hussein, according to one of his mistresses, used to stand in front of a mirror in his skivvies, wearing cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and with a cigar clenched in his teeth, would vigorously holler, “Heil Hitler!” I guess my question in that example is, was Saddam “self-identifying” as a cowboy, der Fuhrer, a model for Fruit of the Loom, or all three?
This kind of stuff has always existed, as illustrated especially by the Caesars and the Pharaohs, but times of hardship and war have tended to keep it at bay. You don’t have time for “transanity” when Pearl Harbor is being attacked or the Twin Towers are coming down, or Katrina is turning the French Quarter into “K-ville.”
And while I certainly don’t want to see calamity come to our great nation, I have started to wonder if it’s the only thing that will get our heads screwed back on straight. I would hope that if Caitlyn Jenner is anywhere near a flood or a fire, “shis” decision will be to use “shis” legendary athletic prowess to pull people to safety. We shall see.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner