Why are there no normal Christians on TV, generally speaking? Why is it that thoughtful people are quoted so much less frequently than opinionated people in the media? This passage from Freakonomics has some clues:
"…an expert doesn’t so much argue the various sides of an issue as plant his flag firmly on one side. That’s because an expert whose argument reeks of restraint or nuance often doesn’t get much attention. An expert must be bold if he hopes to alchemize his homespun theory into conventional wisdom."
So, unfortunately, we hear more from loud, opinionated people than we do from thoughtful people. As a result we often get really bad information about things. This is why there are no normal Christians on TV. Normal people, thoughtful people just aren’t as interesting as people who will eat bugs or swear at each other on national television. No one wants to watch a normal Christian talk about issues of biblical interpretation, but if Pat Robertson says he can leg-press 2,000 pounds or calls for the assassination of a head of state… well, people will tune in for that! That’s entertainment!
It’s unfortunately true that in our sound-byte world, the shrill voices of partisanism out-sell the voices of reason. Remember when Jon Stewart tried to talk some sense into the Crossfire guys? The problem is that the Crossfire guys know that they’re not encouraging real debate and discussion, they’re just making money by calling each other names. The high school hallway fight always gathers a crowd, no matter how senseless it is.
RC of strangeculture says
Also, I think building solid multi-dimensional takes time and effort, so especially when it comes to television story writers are going to exploit stereo-types in order to need to spend less effort is creating unique characters…especially non-stereotypical Christian characters.
–RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com
Benjamin Sternke says
Good point, RC.