Sr. Helena Burns, FSP

Sr. Helena Burns, FSP

Sr. Helena, fsp, is a Daughter of St. Paul. She holds a Masters in Media Literacy Education and studied screenwriting at UCLA. www.HellBurns.com  Twitter: @srhelenaburns

A much-ballyhooed documentary entitled The Social Dilemma has been making the rounds on Netflix. It’s about some major players in the world of Big Tech, Silicon Valley and social media who have called it quits and are now on what I call “the apology tour.”

The first haiku I ever wrote was about home. I was in sixth grade French class staring out the window as usual (zut alors!), and it came to me wholly formed, in a flash of insight.

Isn’t it fascinating how, back in spring 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the first impulse for comfort and familiarity was an urge to watch Christmas shows? The goodwill and good feels of Christmastime pageantry is powerful medicine.

The “nuclear family.” Such a strange phrase. Does it glow? What exactly is it?

I was recently asked by a parish to do a (virtual) workshop on “News Literacy.” I was told by the families that invited me: “The confusion goes way beyond just ‘fake news.’ There are so many voices on so many digital platforms, speaking both without and within the Church — we need some guidance!” All sides produce legitimate-seeming data, evidence and documentation. Who and what to believe?

If you’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time staring into a screen these days … raise your hand. Or, as a gentleman tweeted recently: “How many people want to SCREAM after every Zoom meeting?” (He didn’t mean scream for joy). And, BTW, you can virtually, silently “raise your hand” on Zoom, also!

Across the U.S., prominent, colourful and verbose lawn signs have been popping up. They all begin with “We Believe…” with slight variations in the body of the text. The text is basically a compendium of recent slogans on various hot-button issues. One of my Sisters commented to me as we drove by: “It’s like a secular Creed.” (Simply google “we believe lawn signs” for a sample.)

If the 20th century was the “age of anxiety” (W.H. Auden), the 21st century is shaping up to be the “age of rage.”

Ladies, you’re being lied to. You can’t have it all. (And while we’re at it, all what?) No one can or does “have it all.”

The ever-deepening crisis of authentic fatherhood (doing the tough job of being a father/parent and not just a buddy) and fatherlessness in families today is taking a steep toll.

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