Critical Appreciation & a Gene Kelly vs. Michael Jackson Dance Off

Carl Trueman, in his typical witty style, asks where has the art of critical appreciation gone:

the art of critical appreciation seems to have disappeared from the culture of the modern world, especially the modern evangelical (for want of a better term) world.

Even as I write, I have just been passed an article from USA Today in which Stott is described as one of the Christian church’s `most universally beloved figures.’  Only an American could have written that.  Back home in Britain, Stott was a more ambiguous figure, great man though he undoubtedly was.  Like all great men, his faults were as dramatic as his virtues, from his conscientious objection to war service in World War II to aspects of his theology to his ecclesiastical strategy.

Death is, of course, the great atonement.  I have commented before on how you only have to die these days in order to have all of your sins, both great and small, cast as far from you as the east is from the West.  The late Ted Kennedy is a good example. So is Michael Jackson.  Jackson, in fact, is an even more dramatic example of how death – particularly death in absurd circumstances at a comparatively early age – not only washes away one’s sins in the public eye but also lifts one’s modest talent to the level of that of the Olympian gods. Watching Gene Kelly in the wonderful film An American in Paris recently, I commented to my wife that Kelly could dance, he could really dance. In comparison, Michael Jackson was able to do what?  Walk backwards with a certain amount of style? There is no comparison; yet Jackson is a god; Kelly is all but forgotten.

He goes on…

critical appreciation seems to be a lost art these days. My suspicion is that this derives from the rather effeminate nature of modern culture where we regard any criticism as deeply personal and a fundamental attack on character. Add to this the American cultural proclivity of investing unreasonably huge amounts of hope and expectation in single individuals and you have a powerful sedative which will dull the senses to matters of real concern.

(This from a guy watching Gene Kelly movies…)

What’s the take home? For me, don’t take myself or the criticism to seriously; 2) don’t invest huge amounts of hope and expectations in individuals–hope in God.

You can read the entire article HERE.