Sunday, October 14, 2007

No FaceBook for Me

My daughter, upon seeing my blog, tells me, "Whatever you do, don't get a FaceBook."

I have no intentions of doing that.

I don't know why she doesn't want me to, though. I guess, maybe, because it's too popular - the 21st Century vox populi (aren't you impressed with my Latin? I think Vox Populi is related to Bono).

My daughter is kind of like me, and usually tends to run from whatever is wildly popular at the time. The result (on my part) is the kind of pretentious, cynical snobbery you are about to read, if you keep reading. Sorry, but it's my typical response to coolness. I'm just wired that way. I'm an Otter, if you remember, so you're supposed to understand and accept me and all my otter warts for what we are.

It takes me a long, long time to adapt to new trends. I didn't used to be like that, at least not in every case. When I was in Junior High, I was the first in my class to wear bell bottoms. Really. The other farm boys (I wasn't much of a farm boy, but I did live on a farm) called them "sissy britches," and the cool kids said, "Look at Logan, trying to be cool. Ha."

So I haven't always been slow like I am now.

Maybe I have come to understand, in my feeble-minded way, that fads are temporary, and this too shall pass. Therefore if a fad stays around long enough, I might latch on. As I get older -- not more mature, just older -- I catch myself smiling a lot at fadishness. Call it coolness, because that's what it's all about: The Coolness Factor. All is vanity.

Once upon a time, in the height of the worship wars, when I was moving very slowly in the direction of guitar-driven worship sounds, kicking and screaming all the way (I'll leave it to you to determine what that phrase modifies: "moving very slowly" or "guitar-driven worship"), there were some people making fun of me because I wasn't using enough of the "new" music (I was still using hymns, for heaven's sake (hmmm)). I was in my forties, so I had a lot of ingrained habits. But, in my efforts to be hip and inclusive, I started increasing the mix of choruses (read: newer songs that younger worship leaders were using). I can be cool, I thought, I can be in the mode. But I discovered that that wasn't the answer. Now they made fun of me for trying to be someone other than who I was. "Look at Logan trying to be cool! Ha!"

Then I caught on. I noticed that once I used a cool song, it became no longer cool. These people who were making fun of me led "youth worship" occasionaly, and sang the new songs - over and over and over - but I observed that once I sang one of "their" songs, they no longer sang it. This formerly cool song was now relegated to the ranks of the old and dusty along with He Touched Me and Pass it On.

You know what they did? Yep. They raised the coolness bar on me. Me: "Hey, we're going to sing (latest cool song) Sunday." Them: "Oh, that old thing? Ha ha. You ain't cool. I'm off to get my tutu tattoed."

I'm pretty dense, but I'm starting to learn that I'll never be cool. I guess you have to be born cool, and I wasn't. It's sinking in. I'm getting the message, all you cool dudes out there. So I'll stop trying to be cool. I give up.

If FaceBook is cool, count me out - at least for a few decades.

See, if I had been one of the born-cool kids in Junior High, nobody would have made fun of me, and bell bottoms would have caught on much faster. But since I wasn't one of the born-cool kids, it took a longer time for bell-bottoms to catch on. I slowed the process, at least. Perhaps I should be proud of that.

Current King of Cool, David Crowder, (somewhat) recently recorded the song, I Saw the Light. It's an old, old bluegrass song that's been around for, well, a long, long time, and it's never - until now - been considered cool by the cool crowd. Farm boys love it, but we aren't cool. I helped a little with a bluegrass band when I was in college, and we sang "I Saw the Light," yeah, way back then.

Now, if a born-uncool Christian artist had made (yet another) recording of I Saw the Light, what would have happened? Not much. But since Crowder, the coolest, did it, it is now considered to be a cool song. Therefore, all we have to do to make anything cool is turn it over the the coolest cat around. That's all. If Crowder recorded He Touched Me, it would suddenly become cool, because we've crowned him King of All Coolness, and if he says it's cool, by golly, it's cool. Not that there's anything wrong with that. If I got up and sang He Touched Me, I would receive accolades from the silver crowd, but the rest of the congregation would tilt their heads in sad derision over this poor, uncool old guy who clearly doesn't know anything about "authentic (cool) worship."

Need more proof? How about the new versions of Amazing Grace, Jesus Paid it All, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross? There are many more old hymns that have been brought into the realm of coolness by cool Christian artists. All of us wave our hands and cry, "Praise God," and justly so. I suppose every generation must have its cool cats to lead the pack and determine what is cool and what ain't.

And you know - to carry this theme farther than I ought - those funny glasses that Mr. Vox wears would not be considered cool if they had first been sported by Barry Manilow. Interesting that Mr. Vox, the coolest of the "secular cool" (at least for the time being, though he's clearly headed for the down escalator), chose as a stage moniker an antiquated term from the long-dead Latin meaning "good voice."

I heard two Cool Guys arguing over the pronunciation of Mr. Vox's first name. "It's BAH-noh, idiot, not [long O] BOH-NOH," Cool Guy One said dirisively. "OH," said Cool Guy Two, who clearly was not as cool as Cool Guy One.

"Pardon me for interrupting, Your Coolness," I said, "but, actually, it probably would be "BOH-NOH" (long O sound without the diphtongal "oo," since there are no diphtongs in Latin), because this inauthentic name that the supposedly very authentic Mr. Vox has adopted is a Latin word, and Latin vowel pronunciations, as far as we know, are static, which means they remain the same no matter where or how many times the vowel occurs in a word, so it would either be BAH-NAH or BOH-NOH, but it is generally accepted that the pronunciation of a Latin O is OH. Thus, BOH-NOH."

"OH," said Cool Guy One. "AH," said Cool Guy Two.

But then, I could have been wrong, seeing as how I have no tattoos. Tattoes? Tattohs.



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