for your soul, unplug. [casual fri]

This weekend, I’m going to go to New York. For the first time in a long time, I won’t be bringing my computer on a trip. I had no idea how tethered I was to this thing until I felt the thrill shudder through me at the thought of having a weekend with just a moleskine, my new (real) book, a Kindle, and a phone (hey, I can’t completely unplug in New York, right?).

About a year-and-a-half ago I read Tim Challie’s The Next Story about a Christian perspective on the digital explosion. He explored: How do we embrace technology rightly? How do we tend to do it wrongly? What are some temptations inherent in technology? How might we act to not let technology consume us? How do we maintain our humanity and community in the midst of it? What is a “theology” of technology?
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Girls: my new obsession

The TV show. The TV show. Rest assured, I mean HBO’s new dramedy, produced by Judd Apatow, about four twentysomething girls living in New York City. It just wrapped up its first season, and it was amazing.

Why was it amazing? Well, a few reasons. The writing is wonderful–it’s funny, thought-provoking, real, and profound. The characters are distinct and well-acted.

The show casts outright indictments against many of the marks of current twentysomething culture, revealing our narcissism, obsession with irony, and incessant naval-gazing; our infatuation with “becoming” and “being” more than “doing”; it betrays how our
Facebook culture has reduced our self-identity to the level and substance of a “Profile”, and the way we present ourselves and relate to others appears more like a well-manicured “Wall” (or rather, “Timeline”) rather than real, human interaction and messiness.

Further, the show shows genuinely messy and hard friendships and relationships. Granted, other media does this, but Girls is the best I’ve seen at showing how these difficulties are not “hiccups” or “things to overcome and get past”, but instead are the very things that challenge, shape, grow, and mature the characters and ultimately help them overcome those above-mentioned shortcomings of contemporary culture. It’s only by our messiness colliding and us holding on (as opposed to discarding) one another that we will become who we are trying to be.

Yes, the show takes us into the most intimate moments of characters’ lives–moments that are at times beyond our normal sensibilities of sexuality, relational “health”, and humor–and so many people (especially Christians, the primary readership of this site) will want to think long and consider deeply before embarking on this show.

Girls is indeed unflinching in its voyeurism and dysfunction, but it’s precisely that rawness and nakedness that ultimately turns the accusing finger towards us, exposing the ultimate delusion of our generation: that we’ve made emperors of us all, but emperors, in the end, with no clothes–more naked, awkward, fearful, and in need of covering than anyone that shows up on that screen.

But it’s also a comedy, so in the end, it reminds us not to take ourselves, the show, or even reviews of the show too seriously.

It’s so good.