The film State of Play is a fascinating tale of political twists and dogged journalism about wrongdoing at the heart of the British establishment. Two seemingly unrelated incidents appear in fact to be two strands in a massive pattern that links private lives and public events. A journalist and a police detective each pursue their own line of enquiry. As the reporter glimpses the enormity of the unfolding reality he remarks that they are on to a massive story. “It’s not a story, it’s a case,” says the cop to the reporter.
Looking through different professional lenses, they uncover not so much a conspiracy as well as moral fallibility. Ultimately the film is an enquiry into the human condition.
We are in the midst of our own State of Play. Played out in real time. It’s a story. It’s a case. But at the core, it’s a life. The death of schoolgirls and soldiers as well as the life of grieving families became the turning point from a scandal into a widespread outrage. Various lines of investigation in this myriad of wrongdoing makes up our enquiry into the human condition, undoubtedly further uncovering human fallibility, whether corrupt, fearful, complicit, complacent, or greedy. Nasty networks of vested interests will surface.
Gordon Lynch wrote in the Guardian, “The moral credibility of news media lies partly in their ability to work with the grain of sacred meanings shared with their audiences”. He states that the degree in which the News of the World harmed what many people take to be sacred triggered the public outrage and caused the demise of the paper itself.
Adopting a theological lens, I suggest that more of our activity and character needs to be evaluated by the lens of new creation. Combating ‘the rot” involves us all. We need to look at own buying power and investments ethics. Why has the Church of England over £3.8 million investments in the Murdoch empire? And closer to home, do our own households need to change the quality of paper we buy?
What we invest in has implications for society, and our patterns of consumption should reflect the ethics of the kingdom. Creating things that glorify God, that bring light. Storyline, cast, plot, character, and sequel can all reflect something of the new creation. Transmitting the sacred in our own state of play today.