I try not to get too worked up about the commercialization of church holidays. It seems inevitable in our culture, in which most people are at least nominally Christian yet the real national faith is capitalism. The Christmas shopping season is annoying and the Easter candy aisles are dangerous, but it seems futile to rail against things that are more symptom than illness.
It is pretty perplexing, however, when marketers try to capitalize on Lent.
I certainly don't hear from as many PR people as David Roberts does, but
when I do hear from them it tends to annoy me for most of the same
reasons it annoys him: no hyperlinks, buried ledes, missing background
info, generally little evidence that the sender knows what I do or cares
if I consider his or her pitch. I particularly enjoyed item #6 on his
list of tips.
Since Ernest Hemingway famously quoted Gertrude Stein in the 1920s, “You are a lost generation,” Americans have been fascinated by the idea of generational difference. Characterizing an entire generation involves a mammoth generalization, of course, and the generalizations are as likely to be resented as embraced by members of the cohort in question.
The United Church of Christ, whose often-daring progressive stances on full inclusion of homosexual worshipers in church life stir controversy inside and outside the denomination, suffered two losses last month.
One of my classmates 50-plus years ago first taught me about niche marketing. A professor who monitored field work and internships wanted us to be modern. He envisioned a world of specialists in which ministerial general practitioners would, like medical general practitioners, be obsolete. (A bad guess, by the way.) We should all pick an area of focus for our studies and career.
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