Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hey, guys! What'd I miss?

Through the lens of popular culture, going on a mission is a lot like being dead for two years. Because of the internet, TV, radio, and the fact that everyone can use these on their phones means that the latest and greatest from America's artists and stars spreads like wildfire. And since missionaries don't frequent any of those, they're a lot like that one guy up in the mountains that douses his property with water. None of that cultural wildfire there.

That's the Elders. Right there.

That being so, when I left my green patch last December and walked out onto the charred, cultured world (so to speak), there were a few things that caught me off guard. Turns out, American culture waits for no man, and while I was a-proselytin' in South Carolina, the media world decided to roll along without me. I'd heard a few things here and there about what was going on in the "real world," but now that I was supposed to experience them? It was like walking out of a "do not open until December 2011" sealed can. 

Bless my stars, a hipster!

Some things blew me away more than most. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the android Data is often confused by human behavior, and has to have it explained to him by the crew. Have you ever had to tell someone what a yawn is? (You probably just yawned. If not, then the previous sentence probably just did it.) Or why humans love music? That's probably what it was akin to when my poor friends and family were telling me what a hashtag was.

So, a few things I had to have explained to me:


Of course this was going to be a tough one. Even to those that were here 2009-2011, she's strange. I think that's her point, though... Still pondering that one. I remember someone telling me that she wore a "meat dress" to a red carpet event. I imagined a deep red evening gown maybe, with a few pieces of fried chicken hanging from the hem, or something like that.

50 wasted steaks, right there.

Good grief, the entire thing was 100% pure, real MEAT. After the Janet Jackson wardrobe planned stu... eh, malfunction, I thought we'd seen the weirdest clothing-TV spot in history (as well as stuff we wish we didn't see). But instead, we get ("get" being used liberally) to behold a pop star decked out in cow innards, who would later go on to sing "Born This Way." If you were born to wear meat in public, be glad you weren't around in the 1800's. They institutionalization folks like that.

This woman is world famous, selling more records than most of your favorite artists. That took some explaining.


I only missed James Cameron's "Avatar" by two days: I entered the MTC on December 16th, 2009, while the oversized Smurfs took to the theaters on the 18th. I spend a few months hearing about how amazing and visually stunning this film is, but never seeing it. 

I get home, and within a few days, my dad is telling me that I HAVE to see Avatar. He says that it's one of the coolest-looking movies since Star Wars. He was right: it was really, really fun to watch. I was blown away by what they could do with motion capture, CGI, sound, etc. I immediately started talking to my friends about how enjoyable this movie was.

My friends who had seen it two years ago.

It's exciting to be able to watch two years worth of good movies, all at once, if you wanted to. That makes it all the more disappointing when you realize that you can't really discuss many of them with your friends, and they've already moved onto bigger and better things. Like Justin Bieber.

Sorry. Moving on.

A sad example: A few days after getting home, I went to the Sprint store to snag a phone. When I left, it seemed that the only people with "real" smart phones were doctors, lawyers, and the pre-teen daughters of said doctors and lawyers. Now, they're like those floating spider webs: plentiful, scattered everywhere, and causing many an awkward social moment.

Anyway, I pick the phone I want, and the salesman goes on to point out some of its features. When he got to the part about apps?

How the... when did... how... I...

You can use Google Earth to see any spot on the planet from space. On your phone. You can video chat anywhere there's a WiFi or 4G signal. On your phone. You can translate French into Latin. On your phone. You can record a song and have the internet tell you what it is. On your phone. You can have a cat tap dance while singing the national anthem. On your PHONE.

As a tech-junkie, I was giddy. I need to share this with people! I need to spread this app-fueled elation with those around me! I downloaded an "air horn" app, which lets you use your phone as a train horn, a fog horn, or those annoying vuvuzelas you saw at the World Cup. I thought the comedic effect provided by this technological marvel would last for weeks on end.

You can imagine my despondency when I was told that the air horn was old hat, and by trying to use it for comedy was putting me into the same drawer as "hey, I'm still hip!" 40-year-old-parents. After a few more pathetic attempts at using the air horn to accentuate a point or two, I resigned myself to the fact that I'll just have to skip 2010 and 2011 DVR-style, and move on with everybody else. 

I still can't get over the BP oil spill, though. I mean, three months?!


  1. Conceited, but good nonetheless.

  2. Conceited, no. Good, yes. ;)

    I get squeamish just looking at the meat dress...I don't know how she did it..

  3. Definitely not conceited! :)

    Yeah, I'm with Bailey on this one... The meat dress was too much.

  4. Conceited? I think Mac's right. I'm publicly posting my thoughts, and encouraging everyone to read it.

    HOWEVER, he said it was good conceitedness. I'm cool with that.