Thursday, October 22, 2009

“Around One Table”

Hoax Revealed

On the HoBD listserv yesterday, I learned about the video at “Around One Table,” purportedly from the Episcopal Church. There was much brouhaha about it. Some of my TEC friends were extremely distressed, because they believed the Around One Table video was produced by and/or for the Episcopal Church. You can see it here, on YouTube, or at a site called Around One Table.

After watching the video, I immediately discerned The Truth, and I assured my friends that they had surely been duped into believing that the Around One Table video was actually produced by or for the Episcopal Church. My comments were shared on the HoBD list, which I know many of you read. But in case any of you have also fallen for that hoax, I offer my comments here, elaborated a bit more than I posted on the HoBD listserv.

If you believe the Around One Table video was created by the Episcopal Church, you are entirely too trusting ... or maybe even gullible and naive! Obviously, you were taken in by the ruse. I can't believe you fell for this video, which is so obviously a hoax!

In the first place, it's obviously not produced by a Christian church. If a Church had produced it, they would have devoted at least 10% of the time to talking about spirituality and its meaningful place in our lives. They would have made some effort to connect what we do with what we believe. After posing dire statistics, a Church would surely have said what it was doing about them.... I mean, think about it. An actual church wouldn’t have spent all its focus on the doom-and-gloom newspaper headlines, ignoring the place of spirituality, faith, and Christ in our lives. Right? Heck! Even the Unitarian Universalists would have had a more spiritual and positive message than this video offers!

Second, it's obvious that the video was created by an 8th-grader, suffering from a serious case of ADD, who has no ability to focus, and who is probably fixated on the apocalypse. The child who created that video needs our prayers. I hope someone can find him/her and offer psychological counseling. No sane adult Episcopalian would have created something as weird and dismal as this video, and s/he certainly would not have pretended it represented the Episcopal Church. No healthy individual would have presented our message on this gloomy black background.

Third, this video was created by some amateur with no knowledge of research. The Around One Table site proudly claims it based its research on five years of study with 3,000 Episcopalians. There are about 2 million Episcopalians. This means the "study" included 0.15% of our Episcopalians. And the author of this "study" says it took 5 years to ferret out the substantive values of 0.15% of The Episcopal Church? ROTFLMAO! Surely no one beyond middle school would expect such claims to be taken seriously. (Actually, I expect today's 6th-graders would know better, but I am trying to be generous.)

Finally, if a group affiliated with the Episcopal Church had produced this video, they would have shown real people, real churches, real ministry. There would have been some color in it. There would have been some real, incarnational human beings in it. They would have included some production values. They would not have used the elementary-school graphics that this PowerPoint slideshow used. They would have had access to something more sophisticated than clip-art. And they would have actually spent money to create it. Even "Save the Children" wouldn't air such a hokey, amateur video on late-night television! So you know the Episcopal Church wouldn't produce such a corny piece of tripe. After all, under the able leadership of Linda Watt, the Episcopal Church is moving into a brave new magical world of communications without staff! She and Communications Director Ann Rudig are convinced that they'll create brilliant communications after shedding most of the actual journalists and communicators who used to serve our Church and after disregarding the advice of the Standing Commission on Communications. You just know in your heart that the communications geniuses at Church Center would not have allowed such a pitiful piece to be released as our message to the world. Nah! Would not happen!

Consider all the facts, my friends, and then relax. There's no way in the world that this video is actually a production of or by the Episcopal Church. I'm pretty sure it's something a middle-school student produced one night when s/he was facing a last-minute deadline on a school project to show s/he knew how to use PowerPoint and what the kids call "emo" music.

You know as well as I do that our beloved Episcopal Church wouldn't crank out something this gloomy and half-baked for a national (or international) audience.

Wouldn't happen. Couldn't happen. No way.

This must be a hoax from someone who hacked into the Episcopal Church website. It has to be!

Doesn't it?

So tell me: What do you think of the Around One Table video?


Blogger Ann said...

Actually it was not produced by the staff at 815 (your correct in this assumption) -- worse news though it was produced with the pension funds your church has so loving donated to care for your clergy and laity who have worked faithfully for the church. Also in on the deal -- the House of Bishops Theology Committee or so I hear.

10/22/2009 9:02 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

oops that is you're -- not your. inner grammarian having a fit right now!

10/22/2009 9:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Ann, you're injecting facts when I want to do satire. Satire is much more fun (and real!) than facts. I know it was not funded by "815," but was funded by the Church Pension Group's support of the Credo Institute. But let's not let those facts get in the way of my Swiftian satire, ok?

Just look at the video and ask yourself: Would any Episcopalian group have produced this massive flop of a video?

Work with me, my friend. ;-)

10/22/2009 9:23 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

it is great satire --

10/22/2009 9:34 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Good Lord, Lisa, I hadn't actually seen this thing, and you're right: It's awful. OK, you want to tell the story? Use REAL pictures of REAL people. Let THOSE people speak. Dump all the stats at the beginning - they're not part of the story (at least, not in the way in which they are presented). Shorten it down to the basics: In a world full of pain, we offer hope. In a world full of loss, we offer love. To the world in need, we give ourselves. How hard could that be? Really, the EpiscoNinjas is far better, AND it makes you smile. Sigh. How much was spent on this, and with whom did they field test it? TELL me it wasn't the College of Bishops! TELL me they did not screen this! Double sigh, alas and alack.

10/23/2009 9:27 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

My dear Lauren, from the tone of your comment, it seems you took the "Around One Table" video seriously. I fear you fell for the ruse that this pitiful video was created by the Episcopal Church. Didn't I spend all my energy to explain that it could not possibly have been created by TEC? Didn't I line out one argument after another to show that it must surely be a hoax?

Yes, I agree with you that it's perfectly dreadful. That's just another reason I believe it's a hoax, created by an angst-ridden middle-school student. No professional would have produced something this bad.

Fear not, Lauren. NO WAY our Professional Communicators at TEC would have foisted this upon the world. Surely your disgust affirms this.

Your points about the video that should be made are exactly on target, Lauren! I hope the Real Communicators at TEC will soon discover this hoax and create a video that actually reflects who we really are as Episcopalians.

This hoax must not be allowed to stand without a rebuttal ... and a product that reflects our reality.

10/23/2009 10:48 PM  

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