The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Blurred messages

Viewpoint Columnist | Monday, September 16, 2013

While cheering for the Irish at the season opener versus Temple, I was surprised and disappointed during the game to hear the greatest and oldest of all American marching bands playing the infamous and distastefully disgraceful song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.
For those unfamiliar with the song, the crass melodies tell a tale which is commonly agreed to describe the dilemma or “Blurred Lines” surrounding rape. I leave further details of the matter the song describes for the reader to discover for himself or herself. While I choose not to go any further into the specifics of the song, I will advocate that this song not be played in the future at our home football games.
If students, faculty and staff recognize it or not, like it or hate it, Notre Dame has been a Catholic school of the utmost integrity and tradition since 1842. Many hold this university to be the greatest Catholic school of higher education in the United States and furthermore one of the top academic institutions of any kind in the nation. Thus as a Catholic school, it gives a poor impression of the moral and ethical integrity of the students, faculty, staff and athletic departments at Notre Dame if we promote such vulgar vanities and insensitive ravings of the American popular culture.
The Catholic Church with the love of God through the example of Jesus and guidance of the Holy Spirit has clearly defined the sanctity and holiness of the human person composed of the mind, body and soul. Our new-age 21st century culture begins to further and further cross the line of disrespecting and disregarding these beliefs and exploiting human sexuality in numerous ways. The objectification of women and the degradation of the sanctity of marriage are just two of the numerous ways our society has turned to evil ways. Under the teachings and commandments of God and the Church, in no way can the playing of a song containing these sexually explicit and derogatory messages be justified and reconciled. As a school named after Our Lady, Mary Mother of God, how do we allow these mixed messages to exist in such vanity?
The situation of rape as Robin Thicke entreats us to sing along to is perversely insulting to the Catholic tradition and integrity of the University. There are people who have been deeply affected and traumatized by various forms of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape here on our campus, in the country and in our world. Mocking or jeering at the pains, the sufferings and the hurt these victimized individuals are left to cope with by playing a heinous song such as “Blurred Lines” is horribly wrong. If the band continues to play this song, how many people will be reminded of a time where they were abused or taken advantage of?
I wish this particular song is the only singular element of our culture that derides and degrades the morality of the masses, God and His just and holy commandments, but this is just one example of a plethora of illustrations that exist within the fast paced, instant gratification society we live in today.  While it may be hard living within this culture, if we step back and observe the movies, music, books, magazines and shows that we immerse ourselves in, we see that we are addicted to the images and sounds of violence, drugs, sex, alcohol, profanity and swears which permeate our lives through the various forms both obvious and subtle that we experience. 
Nothing really has changed since the days when Christianity was founded amidst the height of the Roman civilization that had its fair share of ungodly behaviors, practices and transgressions. As believers in Christ inspired to live fruitful lives witnessing the gospel, we do not have to begin a countercultural movement. We are called to continue the countercultural movement of the Church founded by Jesus himself to move towards the truth and goodness of God through love, compassion and service. 
The answer to our question then becomes a direct line that is crystal clear. Let’s not send blurred messages from the University of Our Lady. Rather, we should take direction from the conclusion of our mission statements “In all dimensions of the University, Notre Dame pursues its objectives through the formation of an authentic human community graced by the Spirit of Christ.”