On abusing Einstein

They tell us marketing is a murky world.  And while it’s pretty much a closed book to me, I’m going to attempt here to pry it open on a very specific page.  Of course, we all know that marketing is designed to convince us that life without a given product is unimaginable.  This could be because it makes life so much simpler, or cheaper, or more glamorous.

But when the target of your marketing is a parent, there is another, more insidious approach.  And for those of you who don’t have children, I will explain:  the marketer will show you that, if you don’t buy this product, you will be letting down not just yourself but your children.  You will be denying them the opportunity to reach their potential.  They will fail to develop the ability to think.  They will arrive at adulthood penniless, friendless and talentless.

And to highlight what our little ones will be missing out on, we encouraged to think about the level that will be attained by children who do have access to the product on question.  Names like “Einsten” abound.

One such example is Disney’s “Little Einsteins”, which seeks to develop its viewers by engaging them with Classical music and culture.

Not to put too fine a point on it though, these aren’t actually the fields Albert himself was most noted for.  Now I’m all in favour of my child being able to distinguish Beethoven from Brahms; Rachmaninov from Rossini; and Mendelssohn from Meatloaf.  But to assert that this will lay the groundwork for my child to pursue career in theoretical physics is, at best, a gross misrepresentation.

Confession

On reflection, I may be being a little pedantic. But this little rant made me wonder…

In church we can have some pretty strong opinions.  For some it’s whether we believe we are saved by faith or by what we do.  For some it’s whether pre-millenial or post-millenial is right*.  For some it’s whether liberals/evangelicals are really Christians at all.  For some it’s whether celery and marmite were created by God or the devil**.

And we can seek to develop people’s faith by engaging them with such discussions.  Not to put too fine a point on it though, these aren’t actually the fields Christ himself was most noted for.  Now I’m all in favour of the Church being able to distinguish sanctification from justification; Catholic theology from protestant theology; and so forth.  But to assert that this will lay the groundwork for the Church to pursue a lifestyle of imitating Christ is, at best, a gross misrepresentation.

© 2011 Paul Brownnutt
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*If you don’t know, really really don’t ask!

** If you don’t know, vote with me:  How could a loving God create such revolting substances?

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