Gangnam Style was my ringtone for about 12 hours.
That is, until my phone rang and my husband gave me the death glare.
I was up late the other night working on something that required me to find music, which led me to YouTube, which led me to explore this new world of YouTube meme’s. Funny stuff. And while I think PSY’s video is just plain weird, I thought it was funny. And catchy. So I made it my ringtone.
Apparently my husband didn’t approve.
He urged me to do some research before hopping on a bandwagon that I knew nothing about, and subsequently asked that I remove the ringtone. I love my husband. And I respect him. After all, as a music-lover, he’s the type of guy who reads articles and watches entire series’ on his bands and artists. He knows them like he knows his own family. So he listens to music in a context way beyond the radio fads and YouTube sensations that so many of us base our interest on. Including myself. So I immediately removed Gangnam Style from my ringtone… and did a little horsey dance in the living room.
In my defense, though, I know NOTHING about this Korean artist.
I don’t know where he’s from. I don’t know his views on anything. I don’t know what kind of coffee he likes. All I know is he made a funny, weird video, and I thought his song had a good beat. I firmly told my husband that I was completely ignorant and I was not going to do a full-on research project before I chose to like or listen or eat or watch ___________. (fill in the blank)
Which brings me to the point of this rant.
Instead, we have to research everything. We have to take polls. We have to read twenty different sources before we get the whole truth on something. We can’t just take one person’s word for it. And we definitely cannot trust the advertisements or the media or the reviews.
But you know what? I don’t have time for that. I don’t have the money to be picky and choosy about what I buy at the grocery store. I don’t have a ‘stupid’ filter for my car radio (which is why we don’t listen to the radio). I don’t have an app on my phone that dings me every time I need to be notified that the brand of soap I am buying is run by a company whose CEO is friends with a man whose mother in law once gave some money to a charity in a country where it was used to buy water that was from a business that thinks purple is a better color than green, so I shouldn’t buy that soap.
Are you following?
This is ridiculous.
I hate that I can’t trust the people who grow my food.
I hate that I can’t trust the choices of the actor I love to watch.
I hate that all my clothes are from Laos and Cambodia and China… and I’ve seen the workers piled on the trucks, their faces covered in hankerchiefs, with barely enough money to feed their families.
I hate it.
But I can assure you, if I do full research on everything I eat, wear, drink, listen to, read, buy… everything. Not only would it consume my life, but it would drive me crazy. And I wouldn’t eat. And I wouldn’t wear anything. And I wouldn’t drink. And I wouldn’t listen or read or buy.
Because whether you agree with it or like it or support it or not, EVERYTHING comes from SOMEWHERE! I don’t see how we can pick and choose what’s a right product and a wrong product. How we can be passionate about not doing certain things, but then flippantly do something else. Can we ever really know the whole truth behind something? Do we know the jobs it is providing for people who otherwise would have none? Do we see the heart of the person on stage? Do we care about the children of the man whose hands skillfully crafted that item?
I like to think that in my Grandma’s day people were more upstanding, all sharing the same values. That companies were honest and hard-working. That the food from the farms that stocked her grocery stores was clean and organic. And that all of her clothes and fabrics and yarns were locally made.
But I know that’s not true.
From the beginning of civilization, humans have been looking for shortcuts and taking advantage of one another and pushing products that were not as good as they touted.
But from the beginning of civilization, the public has wanted progress, and new conveniences and cheaper prices and new fashions. It’s a double-edged sword.
Where does it end?
Which product or artist or organization is pure to the very core?
Which food is completely and totally safe- from seed to sprout?
When do we stop having to research everything we do?
I can assure you, there is someone in the world… perhaps a LOT of someone’s… who is not happy about what you just put in your mouth. Or what you just bought. Or what you just listened to on your iPod.
What are you gonna do about it?
Apologize? Spit it out? Take it back? Really?
As a mom, this is tough for me. We’re raising our girl in a new world. A world of commerce and competition and billboards and facebook and tweets. There is an excess of information that she will have to wade through before she can make any decision- no matter how simple.
How will we teach her to respond to that? How will we train her to listen to her heart and seek the Lord when there are so many voices vying for her attention and her support. How will she learn to think for herself when there are so many people out there willing and eager to do the thinking for her? And how can we be sure that she’ll be able to live with herself when she can’t always make the ‘right’ choice? Or God forbid, she choose to make the ‘unpopular’ choice?
I’m sure there’s an app for that.
And a YouTube meme.
And a protest.