I recently watched a hilarious YouTube video (alert: some language is not suitable for a family blog) in which a young Briton discusses how he and his generation, the Millennials, are losing themselves to irony.
He notes how he speaks in tweets and hashtags to the point that he’s lost sight of whether he means what he’s saying or if he’s just being sarcastic. Even as he questions his own behaviors and motivations in the video, he can’t quite tell (and neither can we) if he’s being serious or just running with the pervasive irony that defines the zeitgeist. It’s hysterical because it’s spot-on.
His earnestness would count as epic navel-gazing if it weren’t so…true.
Sometimes it feels as though it’s just not cool to like things anymore. Believing in anything or anyone is frowned upon, as though voicing an unadulterated excitement about something is a sign of intellectual inferiority or naïveté.
None of this, of course, is good news for faith and spirituality. If a young person isn’t able to voice genuine affection for a simple pop song, it’s exponentially harder for her to speak up and say, “I believe in a God I’ve never met or seen.”
We talk about “guilty pleasures”—no one wants to admit that we all actually like “Call Me Maybe” —and we think in memes and catchphrases. Irony has become the go-to defense against being too passionate about anything; it’s protection against the risk of sincerity. Admittedly, a lot of this style of communication is funny and pithy and makes for a great sitcom script. But life is more than a sitcom, and faith and belief depend entirely on being willing to take a risk.
Image: freedigitalphotos.net/Victor Habbick