Monday, December 26, 2011

Pop Shooting Stars

How quickly fads and fashions change.

Listening to Celtic Christmas, Volume 1 this morning. Yes, I am still listening to Christmas music. In fact, we just began listening to Christmas music at home. The twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas day – not end, retailers!

Anyway, I'm listening to Celtic Christmas and realize, “The All Things Celtic” phase of popular culture has faded. Yes PBS is still going to carry Celtic Women specials to raise funds. Yes, there will still be some things Celtic at Target. But we went thru a Celtic Mania just two years ago (or maybe it was three). Just a short time ago. If you were not Celtic you were trash!


It's over. Popular culture is fickle, always looking for the next big thing. The one hit wonders come and go. Popular artists rise and fall. It takes only the blink of an eye for an artist to go from “you oughta know” to judge on some singing contest or other (I'm looking at you Sara Bareilles.) One minute you're refusing to be brought down, looking hot in your retro '40s slip – the next you're a MILF coaching up and coming pop stars.

It's always been quick, this rise and fall of pop icons. But the pace seems to be picking up.

Two weeks ago ESPN was the all Tebow network. Chris Carter was the lone voice raised in protest against the “he's not orthodox, all he does is win” meme that dominated talk about Tebow and thus talk on the network for the six week run when the Broncos beat mediocre to bad teams. Then came the Patriots and the Tebow mystique could not hold. Now it's a second loss and Tebow barely rates a mention Sports Center. Tebow wasn't just a sports icon, he was a pop icon – pushing sports drink along with tractor tires. I wonder if his sports drink ad is going to be canceled this week.

Pop icons. They last six weeks? Two weeks? As long as a Republican Presidential Candidate not names Romney? At any rate not long at all. So what does this say for those of us who are interested in “timeless truth” and pop culture?

I guess it says we shouldn't look to pop culture for anything like truth. And maybe it says that “Progress devours its children,” (the title of a lecture I heard in seminary from the German theologian Helmut Thielicke) or better “Pop Culture devours its children.” Or maybe it says, “You're old, don't try to keep up, the pace will kill you.”

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