If you are in the business of making New Year’s resolutions, why not attempt one that saves time instead of depletes it? Give up trying to keep up. Let the pop culture whirlwind pass you by. Be wonderfully ignorant of the world of what’s happening now.
The headline on my Twitter feed was from CNN and linked to an article entitled “The Cultural Moments that Defined 2019.” The tweet rang out with this incredible announcement:
From Jennifer Lopez storming Milan Fashion Week in an updated version of her iconic Versace dress to the sale of a $120,000 banana, the year was full of unforgettable moments.
Where to begin with such pablum? One could point to the verbal downgrade of the word “iconic”—now nothing more than a synonym for pop-culture famous. One could also mention the absurdity of modern art whereby a piece of ordinary fruit is sold for a handsome annual salary. But I’d like to focus on the last two words: “unforgettable moments.”
With the exception of the Notre Dame fire, everything in the article (warning: risque images) is utterly and entirely forgettable. Virtually no one will care about Jane Fonda’s red coat years from now or months from now (or seconds from now?). Just like the Instagram post from Phoebe Waller-Bridge will not be etched in our collective memory. In fact, when I first typed the last sentence, I wrote Bridget Walker-Phoebe, because I couldn’t recall the name I read two minutes ago.
The pop culture style moments detailed by CNN mattered almost nil to almost everyone, and their long-term cultural import will likely be less than that. What we have here is pretty much the textbook definition of what will not be remembered.
Trivialities and the Weight of Glory
I’m not a technophobe. I have a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and enough teenagers in the house to keep me conversant with my fair share of pop culture. I’m not quitting social media. Neither do I think it’s all a waste of time.
But honestly, most of it is.
Of course, there are common grace gifts to enjoy in the latest viral videos, memes, and GIFs. And yet, there are more gifts—of common grace and special grace—to be enjoyed in an excellent book, a thoughtful conversation, a long walk, time in silence, time in prayer, and time in the Word. If I’m going to suffer from FOMO, I want it to be the fear of missing out on all the things I could be learning, all the ways I could be growing, or all the ways I could be a bigger blessing to my family, my church, and my friends.