Muggeridge on modern money-changers


Christ and the MediaI read this paragraph in Malcolm Muggeridge’s Christ and the Media and thought I would share it without additional comment.

I had occasion once to take Mother Theresa into a New York television studio for her to appear in the Morning Show, a programme which helps Americans from coast to coast to munch their breakfast cereal and gulp down their breakfast coffee. She was to be interviewed by a man we could see on a studio monitor in living colour, with a drooping green moustache, a purple nose and scarlet hair. It was the first time Mother Teresa had been in an American television studio, and so she was quite unprepared for the constant interruptions for commercials. As it happened, surely as a result of divine intervention, all the commercials that particular morning were to do with different varieties of packaged food, recommended as being non-fattening and non-nourishing. Mother Teresa looked at them with a kind of wonder, her own constant preoccupation on being, of course, to find the wherewithal to nourish the starving and put some flesh on human skeletons. It took some little time for the irony of the situation to strike her. When it did, she remarked, in a perfectly audible voice: ‘I see that Christ is needed in television studios.’ A total silence descended on all present, and I fully expected the lights to go out and the floor manager to drop dead. Reality has momentarily intruded into one of the media’s mills of fantasy – an unprecedented occurrence. Somehow it gave me an extraordinarily vivid sense of what it must have been like all those years ago in the Temple at Jerusalem, when the money-changers were chased out, and their tables overturned. In the studio normal proceedings for the Morning Show were soon resumed, just as I am sure the money-changers were back in their places the following day. Indeed, they are there still. Both incidents, however, bear out the saying with which Solzhenitsyn concludes his Nobel lecture: ‘One word of truth outweighs the world.’