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Back in 1968 when Andy Warhol made his comment to photographer Nat Finkelstein about everyone enjoying 15 minutes of fame, he seemed prescient, and the notion entered the cultural water-supply. I would argue that Warhol's prediction is only partially fulfilled. Some people do enjoy their 15 minutes of fame. I offer Clara Peller, William Hung, and Michael Edwards as exhibits A, B, and C. The greater cultural phenomenon is that some folks take 15 minute's-worth of interesting content and parlay that into long careers and massive fortunes. I offer the names Hilton, Kardashian, and Lohan as exhibits C, D, and E.
Those who take a teaspoon full of talent and manufacture a fortune and a career usually do so by combining physical attractiveness and shamelessness. Our culture is obsessed with "reality" — with famous people baring their lives and their bodies for public inspection. Of course, nothing could be less real than "reality" entertainment. The camera changes everything it captures, and everyone in front of a camera strikes a pose.
A century ago our culture had the same appetite for celebrity, but most of those celebrities were guarded about their personal lives. No celebrity couple has been as popular and well-known than the Lindbergh's were in the 192o'3 and 30's. Charles was the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Anne was a Senator's daughter who was a pioneering aviatrix herself, helping her husband set records and explore air-routes. If these accomplishments were not enough to ensure their celebrity, their firstborn son was notoriously kidnapped and murdered in 1932. Through it all, both Lindberghs were fiercely private.
In a 1931 flight, Charles and Anne proved that the quickest air-route to Asia was across the Arctic Circle. In 1932 their son was kidnapped and murdered. In 1934 Anne wrote about their 1931 flight in a book titled North to the Orient.* In North to the Orient she does not mention any of the details of that hellish year, 1932 — but she does mention her son. After taking off from New York they flew over Long Island, and she could see "the harbor where my family waved, the white farmhouse on the point where my baby was. What a joy to hold them all in my eyes at once, as one tries to possess all of them in one look." Later, in Japan, she hears a melancholy song at a tea ceremony, and asks for a translation. It is the song of a mother who has lost her infant son, and Anne writes: "I long to see my boy." She wrote that line after she had already lost him. I think that despite the fierceness of her privacy, Anne has given us a moment of reality, and bared for us her heart.
This is an exceptional gift. One is reminded of the famous comment Stephen Vincent Benet made in his epic poem John Brown's Body about General Robert E. Lee keeping his heart safe from the "pick-locks of Biographers." It is rare that we get a clear glimpse of the true heart of another.
To truly observe a heard laid bare, one must open the word of God. David surely gives us his heart time after time in the Psalms. David is called the man after God's own heart (Acts 13.22). This was the reason he was chosen to be King (I Samuel 3.14); for no one lays His heart bare like God does.
How can I give you up, 0 Ephraim? How can I surrender you, 0 Israel? My heart is turned over within Me. Hosea 11.8
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you in with lovingkindness. Jeremiah 31.3
This is love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4.10
In every verse of the Bible, as well as every sunrise, every rainfall, every fresh-baked loaf, every new-born child, God bares His heart. We need no pick-locks to help us discover it — the love inside is visible and real.
*North to the Orient, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh; Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1935.