If Video Killed the Radio Star, What has the Internet Killed?

               The song “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the first video to be played on MTV when the network was launched August 1, 1981. And some pundits and prophets trace all sorts of developments or devolutions from this event. TV changed, songs changed, kids changed too. Kids have always been about music but when your eyes are tuned to a song, the message is mainlined.

               My point here is not that video killed the radio star. iHeartRadio would disagree with some justification. But I know that the internet has killed something, something bigger and more long lasting. What? Tell me. What? I don’t know. I think it’s the concept that truth is rooted in history and can be known. I now remember where I read this but still only the gist: Once you give up the concept that truth can be known, all you’re left with is conspiracies. Russian author, Andrei Narozov said this in a July 2011 Chronicles article, “From JFK to DSK” (37).

               This observation popped into focus when I was preparing for St. Mark, the neglected evangelist. How many “St. Mark” any things are there compared to Saints Matthew and John and even St. Luke? Let’s not even talk about St. Paul. He wins the popularity contest. But then higher criticism came into its full throated unbelief, and Mark became the original Gospel. Once more very respected. Then the mythical Q surfaced and the rest is history. Actually, it’s conspiracy.

               I digress. I came upon this factoid about Mark. He is buried at Venice. It’s kind of funny how and why he got there, but that’s not germane to my point. This is: “In this cathedral on Easter, the liturgical Gospel is announced as being recorded ‘in the sixteenth chapter of the Gospel according to him,’ the reader dramatically pointing to the high altar under which the bones of Mark are supposed to rest”(Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy, 557). Is that cool or what?

               On the various platforms – I’m amazed that I know what this means and am comfortable using it, but if the medium is the message watch out. The tech industry could’ve chosen another word to convey what a technology platform does. The word ‘vehicle’ , or ‘means’, for example. None of the definitions from Oxford English Dictionary popped up by Google even includes that it’s used in reference to computers. Merriam-Webster has it as definition 5b. Get it? A word that has several definitions – none of them in the realm of computers per say – now has a technical one that is central to the realm (i.e. reign) of technology. Go figure. I’m sure “they” did. Oops, I’m back to conspiracy.

               People who have no concept of being under or in authority think once they find a source contradicting you they are golden or at least that view is as justifiable as yours. You can take any propositional statement I have made in the millions of sermon words posted on the internet, and Google will come back with dozens of statements “proving” me wrong. These won’t be rooted in a time or place but in a post on Reddit, Quora, or Facebook. And increasingly now YouTube. “I watched a video” is the new way of citing someone.

               Well, here’s my citation. The guy buried right there, wrote this. His writing has been seized, burned, banned, and worst of all demythologized by those claiming to be Christians. Yet, here it is. Better men, bigger men, brainer men have attacked St. Mark long before you or the latest village idiot on the internet.

               I got it!  My point is video may have killed the radio star, but the internet kills the brain cells of its [or should it be his or her?] users.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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