Monday, August 02, 2010


There's Trendy and The There's "Trendy"

Justin Taylor quotes Dane Ortlund on response to a trend:
  1. Uncritically dismiss it due to its trendiness
  2. Uncritically absorb it due to its being embraced by others we know or respect; vicariously feeding on others’ excitement about it without personally digesting it ourselves.
  3. Consider what it means, and whether it is biblical; ponder what is true in it; ask why it is trendy.

A bit of obvious analysis actually, but in some sense it misses the point. And the example offered later that the underlying ideas of the Reformation were trendy in their time, completely misses the effect of modern communication in such a situation.

Critical analysis is something one does with an idea, by the time it has become a trend - such analysis is out the door, uncriticality is the name of the game.

Further more, modern communication technique is largely uncritical. Well done video does not allow for sustained argument or deep analysis. It imparts information very well, but argument and ponderance are very different from mere information. When we reduce an idea that require one ponder it to mere information that can be transmitted by modern technique, we remove much of the strength from it.

Ortlund is right that there is often something good and useful behind a trend. Most people never generally bothered to look behind a trend - but the tools of communication in this day and age actually make the trends more impenetrable. It is harder work to look there than it used to be.

Therefore, it seems reasonable to fight letting a good idea become trendy. The idea loses out to the image.

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