Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quoth the Raven

on pop theology, philosophy, theology, culture, pop culture, christianityThe first of I hope many guest posts.

by Joshua Martin
Jaded Love Interest: “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Sentimental Romantic: “This means something.  This is important.”
Jaded Love Interest: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Sentimental Romantic: “Wuv, twue wuv is what bwings us together today…”
Jaded Love Interest: “I am Iron Man”
Sentimental Romantic: “I love you.”
Jaded Love Interest: “I know.”

From TV to movies to music to comedians to books and on and on and on...until we are virtually incapable of carrying a conversation of our own without quoting that one line from that one place.  Throughout our days we experience a multitude of emotions and thoughts and express them in a culture that is driven by the media we use and consume. From the next song, to the next movie, to the next book to read (and I'm worried books are going out of style) and into a dimension that is filled with constant separation from non-mediated, real world experiences. As a result, we have become more and more influenced by all the noise that surrounds us.

Test a theory for me, the next time you hang out with a group of friends see if someone, perchance even yourself, quotes a movie or a TV show, or a song, or a line that you heard that one time at the one place.  I find from my experience that when we try to be inspiring, or when we try to speak from the heart, we inevitably fall into our grab bag of quotations.  This is not bad, most of us quote a verse from the bible or a good moral compass-type turn of phrase because it conveys our point. Often times we may not carry the cred to actually have a conversation on a particular subject and if we cannot quote a popular saying from our culture our our perspective may come up short.

But when I look on Facebook and see status after status of quotable quotes (myself included), it amuses me that most people are missing the chance to share a significant thought from their own experience.  The popularity of quotations spawns from the access we have to at least one, if not a hundred or a thousand popular quotations.  If randomly asked you to tell a joke or say something inspiring, just imagine the encyclopaedia of quotations that immediately surface.  Sure you could try to pass along your own thoughts, but someone else has already said what you want to say but better and with more effective wordplay.

Quotations aren’t bad, they can be quite useful.  Whether it's to serve as an inspiration or to recall a shared moment between two friends, quotations are meaningful. In conversation with friends a good quotation can call to mind a particular moment and everyone can share in the humor, or the awkward guy in the conversation (a.k.a. me) will often quote something to throw the attention onto something else.

Quotations are a shared experience that make a past experience relevant for a moment. Quotations can alienate or insult as well as bring joy and comfort; they are a mix of experiences that are brought from the past into the present. What was the last thing you quoted, did it give a weight and depth to the thought you wanted to express, give support to a statement or opinion upon which you would take a stand? I guess I’m exploring the function of quotations in society.  Do we utilize them to support our expression and our beliefs or do they allow us to be identified as the "guy that can quote anything" or "girl that can say every line from Princess Bride"? (though that is awesome)  So my challenge is this: Can we relate our own thoughts to others without simply quoting the thoughts and assumed wisdom of others.

It just may be possible, but don't quote me on that. (audible groans commence)

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