Friday, June 23, 2006

Contemporary Culture and Catholic Sensibility

If you watched any of the current home-remodeling shows on cable, you've probably witnessed excesses of the "me" generation. These shows explore some of the lengths to which people go to create heavens of their havens or to turn their homes into "escapes." I had a chance to see one such home up close recently. What struck me is not only what the owner chose to accentuate, but she left out.

The interior was something else—mostly Tuscan with a few touches of Americana. The first floor had a large master suite off of the living room and an open kitchen with the latest brushed stainless steel appliances and all of the latest cooking whizbangery. There were two additional rooms on the first floor, which could've been small bedrooms fits for maybe one child each, but were an office and a hobby room. Above the garage and in the furthest corner of the house was a bonus room.

As I looked at a wall of photos of the owner in various locales (in front of the Eiffel Tower, with Mickey and Goofy, superimposed with the three stooges), I noticed off to the side in a rather simple built-in hutch some stereo equipment, a few games, and a photo of a young man in a tux—what appeared to be a rather recent senior photo—the owner's son, the only photo of a child in the entire house from what I can recall.

When I made my way back to my wife, she mentioned that the hostess's 17-year-old son was supposed to stop by, and the hostess truly wanted him to be there. I wondered what all of this was about... a divorced woman, with a single son, who had a single photo of him hidden in a corner of her home, and a wall of tribute to her own professional career. I can only guess that the son stayed in the bonus room when he visited.

One wall for herself. One picture of her son. I don't think I could get a clearer image of what's wrong with contemporary culture than this.

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