True as in Genuine as in Authentic

Years ago I went shopping in North Adelaide at a shop called “Le Cornu’s” (some of you will remember it – it proudly claimed to have had the longest “non-reflective window” in the world). There I found a “rustic country kitchen hutch” that was very attractive. I went to move it, and almost threw it against the ceiling of the store. It looked like solide timber, but was as light as a feather. Upon closer inspection, I found that the wooden “panels” were in fact hollow. Someone had constructed a cupboard out of a whole lot of “veneer” panels. Think about it. Instead of one piece of timber, they used one sheet for the top, one for the bottom, and separate pieces tacked on for the sides. What kind of effort had to go into creating such a false – though admittedly attractive – piece of furniture? Would it not have been easier to make it out of REAL timber planks?

That day I decided that one of my values in life would be authenticity. When I think of “truth”, I am not simply thinking of an intellectual/rational concept. I am thinking of a virtue. A virtue of genuineness. A virtue of reality. A virtue of authenticty.

Some of you will know that one of my reasons for becoming a Catholic (along with continuity and authority) was authenticity. I was looking for the real deal, the genuine thing, the true Church. I sincerely, truly, genuinely believe I have found it (no cheek out of you, PE!).

And so we come to the Chinese lip-synching Karaoke Miaoke scandal.

From The Age editorial:

A Politburo member said: “The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression. Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects. But in the aspect of voice, Yang Peiyi is flawless.” So China, in effect, combined the two girls to present to the world the perfect child. It may have been superb television, but it wasn’t the real thing, and trying to find the real thing in China is a Herculean task.

And a government or culture which does not know the value of a “real thing”, which honestly believes that appearances are more valuable than authenticity, is below my contempt.

I have known “Le Cornu’s” churches, where the appearances are all there but not the reality. China is a “Le Cornu’s” government.

In my experience, children have a good sense of justice. My kids were infuriated by the story. They really felt for little Yang Peiyi, the same age as my youngest daughter, whose voice it really was. It was a good opportunity for me to emphasise to them that they must always value truth above lies. True as in Genuine as in Authentic.

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0 Responses to True as in Genuine as in Authentic

  1. Innocent III says:

    David, I think you have put your finger on a metaphor for our age. I hae always been found it amusing that most of the ‘up-market’ establishments of our day are really concrete with ‘veneer panelling’. Compared to the institutions of yesteryear which were solid stone and marble. The whole sixties revolution was always a revolution of appearances. The harsh reality of this revolution was the soulless concrete rotting way beneath the fancy facades. THe facades are beginning to fall off and what is left is not pretty but authenticity will always survive. Children as you say are aware of it (I have noticed this as a teacher – few are fooled by the system of unearned awards)and I suspect the future will deal harshly with the history of our age.

  2. Schütz says:

    The architectural side of this situation is not incidental. Consider the way in which (for eg.) the old and historically significant Carlton Brewery (just down the road from my office in East Melbourne) was heritage listed and could not be demolished because of its “streetscape” value.

    So they gutted it and built appartments IN THE SHELL that was left.

    Says it all really.

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