The Common Good
September-October 1995

I've Fallen from Grace and I Can't Get Up!

by Ed Spivey Jr. | September-October 1995

EDITORS' NOTE: The above headline may not necessarily relate to the following article.

EDITORS' NOTE: The above headline may not necessarily relate to the following article.

Darn those French. First, they refuse to patronize EuroDisney, that fine American institution working without any thought of compensation to exhibit the abiding truths about our country: namely, that we occasionally dress up in large mouse costumes.

It is a mystery to many of us here in the United States why French people aren't excited by a theme park that charges too much and doesn't let you bring in your own food. Go figure.

(EDITORS' NOTE: If the Disney Corp. were an advertiser to Sojourners, the previous paragraph would be slightly edited to say: "Disney means FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!")

And second (you thought I forgot), now France has decided to blow up a small island in the Pacific Ocean.

That's right, France is going to resume nuclear testing, and we can think of only one reason: Of the 170 countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, France is the only one that has a theme park from Disney. Coincidence? I think not.

French President Jacques Chirac (pronouced Cous-teau) says his decision to resume nuclear testing under Mururoa Atoll in Polynesia is "irrevocable," a French word that means, literally, "Eat my shorts, Greenpeace."

Testing is important, French nuclear officials insist, to settle a question that has baffled nuclear scientists for years: namely, whether an atomic bomb can blow up a small uninhabited island with a big boom, or a really, really big boom.

Reportedly, the French government also wanted to send a warning to residents of other Pacific Islands who may be secretly planning to invade the French homeland. A huge explosion on a neighboring atoll would be a clear deterrent to hordes of islanders even now massing on their beaches, preparing to attack Europe with traditional coconut-based weapons.

In hurried meetings in the United States, peace activists are drawing up plans to oppose the nuclear testing by boycotting all things French. Unfortunately, they could not agree on whether to include french fries, since they taste so good. French kissing was also considered, but it turns out that Southern Baptists already banned this practice a couple of decades ago. (Once again, Southern Baptists are way ahead of the curve on the big issues.)

While a boycott may seem extreme, at times like this it's important to remember the words of French philosopher Camus... oops! Can't use him, because he's French! How about Karl Marx, back-up philosopher, who said, "Those who have not learned the lessons of the past are doomed to fail any pop quiz given on the subject."

BRAVE NEW CYBERWORLD

The Internet is hot. Millions of computer users all over the world are connected to each other "on- line." Who can blame them? Here's a transcript of two people using the Internet's exciting new "chat" feature. (The way it works is-and I hope I'm getting this right-two people in different locations actually communicate with each other using existing phone lines, only without hearing each other's voices. Plus you have to type instead of talk. Progress? You bet!)

USER ONE: What's up?

USER TWO: Not much. You?

USER ONE: Not much. So...you got a computer, eh?

USER TWO: Yep. You?

USER ONE: Yep. Sure do.

USER TWO: Well, gotta go.

As you can see, the technological possibilities are endless. You can COUNT ME IN! My new online address is: saynotocomputers@whydon'tyouspendmoretimeoutdoors.com.

THE BIG PICTURE

As we approach an important election year let us acknowledge the enormous challenges that will confront the newly elected president (unless Phil Gramm wins, in which case the final evidence of alien takeover will be in place, and we should await further instructions).

After prayerful reflection we humbly submit the three major problems that will require the immediate attention of a new administration:

#1. The deterioration of U.S. relations with mainland China. The largest economic engine in the world, it turns out, is led by humorless dweebs in bad glasses whose idea of a good time is selling missiles to Pakistan and nuclear technology to Iran.

#2. The growing influence of religious fanaticism. And finally,

#3. My 12-year-old daughter's love of country music.

Understandably, some may question religious fanatics being on the list. As far as we know, they have never threatened to sing "Timber, I'm Falling In Love" repeatedly on a long, cross-country car ride. And Salman Rushdie can hide from Reba McIntire's latest hit, even if we can't.

But where did we go wrong?

What is she rebelling against? Too many Pete Seeger songs when she was little? Not enough sequins on the multicultural dolls we gave her? Does the fullness of her life cry out for some shallow messages accompanied by really good guitar? When we confronted our daughter, she simply replied, "Dad, Mom, you say it best when you say nothin' at all."

Too late we realized maybe we should have let her watch more TV after all.

STUDY QUESTIONS

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and three of The Monkees "rock" group are appearing in commercials for Pizza Hut. Is this a sign of the end times? Discuss.

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