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Archive for the ‘Commercials’ Category

Charles Dance, who stars in the HBO series “Game of Thrones” as the stern and scheming Tywin Lannister, recently narrated the BBC Sport spot for the 2014 Winter Olympics.  Pretty cool 🙂

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There’s been a lot of buzz about MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris-Perry’s comment that children belong to the entire community, not just to their families.

Conservative critics have been quick to accuse Harris-Perry of undermining the crucial importance of the nuclear family, of advocating a socialist society in which parental rights are overturned by the societal aggregate.

Harris-Perry has since clarified her comments, indicating that she only meant that members of larger communities must acknowledge a certain shared responsibility for the wellbeing of the community’s children; in other words, while parental rights should always be respected, no one can disregard the good of children on the grounds that “they’re someone else’s kids, not mine.”

If this is in fact what she meant, then I would agree with her — at least broadly.  This interpretation of her comments leaves room for an essential truth about the family: The welfare of children is, in fact, first and foremost the responsibility of the parents — not the schools, not the community, and not even other relatives.

But this does not mean that communities don’t have a role to play.  Basically, it goes like this: Just as communities are important precisely because they are made up of unique individuals (rather than the individual getting his value from the collective), so also larger social units matter insofar as they affirm and uphold the domestic family.

The family is the foundational social unit; but for just this reason, it is important that families are embedded within social supports that encourage and aid their mission (including the primacy of parental authority in the education and upbringing of children).  Moreover, it is crucial that such supports are made up not merely of systems, but of a network of domestic families that can support one another.

It seems to me that there has been a reciprocal decline in both families and communities over the past half-century.  Many of my “elders” (and I use that term loosely, so please don’t anyone be offended) would probably attest to the fact that here in America, we had stronger communities when we had stronger families.  This was especially true of neighborhoods, where stay-at-home mothers would form familial networks while their husbands were off at work and their children were off at school.

It is true that we live in a society that is not the most conducive to the health of families.  From excessive and ubiquitous violence and sex in the media and entertainment industries to small town neighborhoods in which almost none of the neighbors know one another, we have a rather toxic environment in which family life and family values can thrive only with difficulty.

But I think the reverse is also true.  We, as a culture, have slacked off in our efforts to preserve the family because it has looked more and more like there is nothing to preserve.  As family life goes downhill (divorce, etc.), so does society’s sense of shared responsibility for the family.  And as society takes less responsibility for fostering family life, people are less motivated to pursue authentic family life…

…and on and on.  It’s one of those proverbial vicious circles.

Anyway, the Harris-Perry controversy just got me thinking about that.  When it comes to the family, I wish we would spend more time seriously and open-mindedly discussing these sorts of questions rather than getting into conversations that end with us labeling each other “narrow-minded right wing fanatics” and “radical left wing liberals.”

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Game of Thrones_Dikembe Mutombo

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It occurs to me that I’ve been absent for three days, which is a longer length of time between posts than I have had since I started actively posting on “Into the Dance.”  In part, this is due to my having been working on a story for my community’s online newspaper, for which I write on a periodic basis.  Apart from that, I suppose tiredness was the main factor.

In any case, please forgive my absence.  Apart from Sunday (which is my customary day off) and the occasional Saturday, I will attempt to resume my habit of posting each day.

At the risk of seeming lazy, I’d like to share another video.  This is a recent video featuring legendary football coach Lou Holtz.  Many people have seen it already, but I thought it would still be worth sharing.  It’s a well done video from “Catholics Come Home,” a media apostolate geared toward Catholics who have wandered away from their faith:

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