Pop culture tends to change at the speed of light. As soon as we begin to take hold of a rising trend, it begins to fade. Oh, you were finally getting the hang of the shoot? Too late. You’d better learn how to floss, and you might even be too late for that. Students are especially susceptible to pop culture trends. They tend to emulate influencers from all reaches of the media. The upsurge of social media has changed the game, and pop culture, forever.
With all of these different modes of input, trends rise and fall faster than ever. Very few have staying power, and it seems like it is always the trends that we love to hate that never seem to go away. If I had things my way, here are a few trends that I wish to be different in 2019:
We need fewer prequels/sequels/reboots, and more standalone movies
Yeah, this is not super-spiritual, but as pop culture goes, the only good movies that ever seem to be released are the 8th retelling of the origin of your favorite superhero, the 18th movie about really fast cars or a terribly predictable romcom. Kudos to the companies that have found a formula that works, but I long for movies where I enjoy a new, fresh story. It pains me to say this, but I have even grown tired of the old-guard of action heroes trying to hold onto their careers by blowing stuff up at 70 years old. It seems that the creativity of Hollywood is dwindling. We don’t all share opinions on what movies are good, but we probably all share the opinion that they should have never tried a sequel to Dumb and Dumber. Yet, there are movies every year that fall into this category. We are now faced with the third retelling of the story of the Grinch. Let the madness stop.
More Christians crossing over into the mainstream
This is a trend that I hope continues to grow. With artists such as Lecrae and Lauren Daigle recently being given opportunities to enter into the secular arenas, there seems to be a larger number of Christians in the secular world that are expressing their faith to their overwhelmingly secular audiences. Chance the Rapper, Tori Kelly, Chris Pratt and others are really beginning to speak out. What is interesting is that they are not speaking in generalities about God, but being explicit, invoking the name of Jesus, and speaking about the Bible as the Word of God.
The only problems come from the Christian community itself. We have made it very difficult for Christians to rise in influence, because at the first sign of any flaw, we turn on them. Lauren Diagle might be the most recent victim of Christian cannibalism in the aftermath of her interview with Ellen. No, we cannot allow the truth of God to take a backseat to culture, but we cannot attack the Christian influences that are elevated in the culture. The influencers of today promote so many trends that are harming our students. With celebrities such as Kanye West coming out with pseudo-religious lyrics, but promoting the use of pornography, even our Christian kids can end up impossibly confused on what is acceptable. I do not feel like I need to go into great detail, but think about some of the trends coming from those who have celebrity status (and millions of followers on YouTube and Instagram equal celebrity status), and it’s so disappointing what people choose to imitate.
Bring Back Strong Men
This is not just because I am a man, this one actually came up by talking with a female coworker. The strong character of men is being attacked by the feminizing of pop culture. This does not mean that there should be no strong female characters, because there is a definite need for that. The problem is that we, as a culture, cannot seem to find a balance. Women should feel bold and encouraged to do great things, but not at the cost of manhood. Being a strong man in our culture seems to be synonymous with abusive, or at the very least unappealing. If there is ever a pop culture moment that comes up on twitter, check the comments. Many times there will be a celebration of anything feminine, while there is a distaste for any accomplishment made by a heterosexual, strong male character. It is already difficult enough for boys to grow into Biblical manhood, and our culture is making it more difficult by the day.
What trends do you wish to be different in 2019?