Someone forwarded me this video recently. I am generally hesitant about diving into forwarded messages or videos, my feeling being that for something to be worth forwarding it needs to be really good and I am a little skeptical. Then my thinking goes, what if it really is very good – should I not then wait for a moment when not besieged by marauding infants? At this point I am so confused I decide I’d better check the next boring email in my inbox and fight off some of life’s admin. So it is fortunate that I clicked on this because I thought it great.
I watched the events unfold and enjoyed the clip for having managed to enshrine the sheer depths of mundanity of a food court.
Then my eye caught the first of a string of comments beneath it and I was truly flummoxed. This is apparently not what the vast majority of viewers saw at all. There were people professing to be atheists and urging others not to think too much about who wrote the music or why. There were happy Christians responding with God’s blessings and so it went on. As I settle down to write this post a week or so later the debate has become a raging slinging match between the bible belt and religion bashers. Wideawake73 is particularly aggressive and has found his happy counter part in migeuldELLO who dons a halo.
How can it so have misfired? The events in the movie clip belong to the Flashmob phenomenon, where people congregate suddenly and without warning in a public place and perform an unusual act before dispersing. It is generally not politically or otherwise motivated but more for the enjoyment of being a part of a giant human pop-up book and poking fun at one’s surroundings.
The first instance of it was in 2003 when 100 people congregated on a NY department store and surrounded an expensive rug. They had been briefed to tell store staff that they were part of a commune and were looking for a love rug but all purchasing decisions had to be taken jointly.
Now in this case if anyone is to be offended I would say it is the Food Court and Malls in Ontario and everywhere. What could be more incongruous than an Alleluia Chorus in the midst of a food court limply decorated with red ribbons and swimming in polystyrene plates and tired hunched bodies?
I can also attest to the fact that a choir of that caliber is not made up of religious proselytizers. Religious proselytizers would sing something completely different, intelligible to anyone of the age of thee and in all likelihood rather ugly. Such a choir is made up of people who can sing and love to sing as others love to paint. The vast majority of them spend their time during a service thumbing away on their Blackberries or leafing through Home Décor magazines waiting for the next chance to make a beautiful noise.
To find this offensive is tantamount to being offended when somebody sends you a greetings card with a cherub on it.
Talking of cherubs I will be sending out Christmas cards with cherubs and even angels. They are MET angels, in other words classy angels but rest assured I have no intention of converting anyone. I am sending them because, like the music of Handel, they are beautiful whereas the angelic qualities of my children are often harder to determine.