Hype – Substance

I was completely fired up to meet him. I had posters of him in my room, my brain was filled with his stats, I tried to emulate every move he made on the basketball court! Within minutes of meeting him the air came whooshing out of my hype balloon. He was rude, arrogant, and clearly only there to make money off those of us who stood in line to get his autograph.

As devastating as this experience was for my 10 year old psyche, it taught me an incredible life lesson: There’s hype and there is substance. Countless times this has been the unfortunate encounter I’ve experienced when I’ve met some fairly noteworthy individuals. While they might have significant achievement in their field, many were as a friend once said, “All hat and no cattle.”

For the last week there has been much made of all things Super Bowl. “It’s going to be an epic halftime show!” “Previews suggest that we may be seeing some of the most creative commercials ever!” Oh and then there is the actual football game. “This is going to be an all out battle and may turn out to be one of the best Super Bowls ever!”

I distinctly remember a time in high school when an upperclassman said to me about an assignment, “Listen, if you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your BS!” This is on par with a quote I once read from President Truman, “If you can’t convince them, confuse them!”

With the advent of social media and 24 hour cable TV, thousands of individuals have made untold dollars ‘BS’ ing and confusing people. One thing I’ve learned from the pandemic is that hype presently wins the day over substance. And the consequence of leaning on hype, dazzle, BS is that folks unwittingly live out the reality of the adage, “A lie unchallenged becomes truth.”

While it was a painful lesson for my 10 year old self, it did set me on course to become more inquisitive, curious, and – through the blessing of good teachers and mentors – to think critically.

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16

“For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve, We thank you, Lord.” – A Litany of Thanksgiving BCP

3 thoughts on “Hype – Substance”

  1. Brian – thank you for this timely message and articulating what many of us know but are at a loss in how to respond. Thanks also for tying in the passage from Matthew.

  2. Love the content of this message – there’s hype and there’s substance….going to message this to kids today!

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