Some of you will remember Steven Spielberg’s popular animated series from the 1990’s, the Animaniacs. It featured the Warner Siblings, Yakko, Wakko and Dot. Set in Burbank, California they interacted with famous Hollywood characters in each episode. It had an old school variety show format and the characters spoke to the audience, throwing out one liners and often having to explain what was going on.
What they are no one really knows, but here is their story. In the 1930’s an eccentric and gifted animator at Warner Bros. created Yakko, Wakko and Dot. From the beginning, however, these three were labeled too wacky, too wild and just too zany for prime time. Their comical genius was too far ahead of the times. Behind top-secret closed-door meetings, the studio executives decided to lock them up immediately in the Warner Bros. Water Tower. They remained imprisoned in that water tower for over 60 years, when in 1993, they escaped! As soon as they got out, the Warner Siblings immediately began to amuse themselves by wreaking havoc upon an unsuspecting world. The Animaniacs may be gone but they have been replaced by the Egomaniacs. Also set in Burbank the cast has escaped from late night television and they too are wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting public.
Yakko is being played by Jay Leno, Wakko by Conan O’Brien and Dot by NBC. If you haven’t been following the story…well good for you. But here it is anyway. Five years ago NBC promised Late Show host Conan (Wakko) the Tonight Show when his current contract came up. In 2009 they delivered and moved his show into the coveted 11:35pm EST time slot. They moved Leno’s (Yakko) show to prime time at 10pm EST. After 6 months Yakko’s ratings were down 14% and Wakko’s a whooping 49%. The execs down at NBC (Dot) decided to give Yakko back the 11:35 slot (for only 1/2 hour) and move Wakko to 12:05. Yakko agreed, Wakko went kamikaze. He was not willing to give up his dream job and would go down in flames if he had to. Unwilling to budge NBC bought out Conan’s contract for $33 million to him personally. Never mind that he put 200 people out of a job, many who had fllowed him from NYC to LA to work on the show. It’s a matter of principle, right? The public (94%) for some strange reason sees him as the victim. Yes, the poor baby, how is he ever going to live on $33 million?
Ego is a Latin word that means “I myself”. Pop culture is driven by it and the world watches on and is mesmerized by it. Award shows like the Oscars are the quintessential example. Celebrities gather together in in the most self-congratulatory way that it is sickening. Yet billions, not millions tune in to swoon over the most shallow, self-indulgent and immoral members of the human race.
Young people in particular are so taken with pop culture’s enormous cast of Egomaniacs that they want to be just like them. In fact they will line up by the 1000’s to be the next American Idol. Last time I checked an idol was a bad thing. I am sure the bible must say something about it somewhere? Scripture warns us not to think more highly of oneself than you ought. Jesus said, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11).
Here we have a disaster in Haiti that has left 100,000 dead and millions homeless and yet the airwaves are still preoccupied with whether Yakko or Wakko is right. If you don’t give a rip…you have made the right choice. It’s just TV! It doesn’t matter, it’s not even real life…none of it. “Wait a minute, aren’t you one of them Pastor Mark? Isn’t your ugly mug all over the screen too?” I ask myself almost every day why I do what I do. The day I answer,” for I myself,” I am in big trouble. God said, “I will share My glory with no man”.
Anytime any of us do anything solely for recognition, credit or to be noticed by others we have stepped into the Egomaniac trap. Make no mistake about “the meek will inherit the earth”. We all have to ask ourselves the question, what reward do we really want in life? To be noticed by man or to be noticed by God? One reward lasts for Andy Warhol’s famous 15 minutes of fame. The other for eternity. Take your pick.