Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Jericho Saga continues

Yesterday I posted a link to a news item about fan response to CBS' cancellation of the show "Jericho". It's been great fun to watch people rally together for something that's important to them, and one of the things I'm really fascinated with is the civility of this coordinated "attack." The "commanders" have a plan: to overwhelm CBS with polite and passionate viewer feedback emphasizing their desire to see "Jericho" renewed for another season. Oh yeah, and nuts, lots and lots of nuts.
In the season finale, "Nuts!" is the response to a demand for surrender, both at the Battle of the Bulge and the battle between New Bern and Jericho. Jericho fans are saying "Nuts!" to CBS and demanding that the networks (all of them) rethink what their priorities are. CBS put a lot of time and energy into creating online buzz about the show...but online viewers and people like me who record the show on my DVR are excluded from the ratings calculations. CBS may have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams as international viewers, internet viewers, and DVR fans are "attacking" in droves via email, phone, snail mail, and peanut delivery (2 tons scheduled for delivery tomorrow--yes, I said 2 TONS).
The online support has spawned an interesting community; today a man who had been a leading supporter of the effort, to the extent that he planned to send a singing peanut telegram to CBS, wrote a long and tormented post about his 15 year old son. The boy was injured in a car accident over the weekend, and tomorrow at 9:02 am (a nod to the show's Wednesday at 9 pm time slot) his life support will be discontinued. Tomorrow's battle plan includes a moment of silence for the family.
Now, so far I have not posted anything outside of this blog. I haven't sent any peanuts or contributed to the fund to take out a full-page protest ad in Variety. I did answer one online poll (results: 7000 responses, 97% angry about the Jericho cancellation), and that's about as far as I'm willing to go, for now. But I will miss the show, and I'd much prefer that it be renewed.
But I'm much more interested in the passion that's been aroused online, and curious to how far it extends. What would it take to rouse the church to this extent? Even better, what would it take to rouse the unchurched around some Christ-like value? Why is it that we are so passionate about a TV show, but not about the work of God in the world? I'd argue that plenty of us are passionate about our faith and life, but why can't we communicate that passion more effectively? What would it take for poverty, hunger, slavery, war, poor access to health care, etc., etc., ad-almost-nauseam, to be as interesting, as important, as moving to people as the cancellation of a TV show?

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