Clearly I don’t spend enough time on the internet. Trevor Noah just did a review of 2016 and the last segment was viral video challenges — the mannequin challenge, the water bottle challenge, and the backpack challenge. I was vaguely aware of the first two and totally missed the third one. Even my kids didn’t mention it, so something’s clearly wrong.
The comedian who did the segment, talking about the mannequin challenge said, “It’s a video of people standing still. Congratulations, you’ve invented the photograph!”. While we’re inventing challenges that take us backward, let me suggest some for 2017.
- The kindness challenge. We spent a huge part of 2016 being nasty to each other. In 2017, let’s see how many people we can be kind to. Just for old times sake.
- The religious challenge. If you claim to be a Christian, act like one. If you claim to be a Muslim or a Jew, act like one. Start with not killing anyone. Once you’ve got that, move on to not condemning others because they’re not you. By mid-summer, after that one, move on to seeing as much good in people as you can. If you’ve mastered that, and convinced others to make it a viral movement, move on to actually caring for others. If that works, help others accomplish their dreams — like food, shelter, clothing, bodily integrity.
- The fact challenge. This one’s really for the video nuts out there. If you are telling the news to others, tell the truth. Use actual facts. Suggested topics: gravity, history, science, dinosaurs. Then, climate change, bribery, fatal shootings, violence between people, actual costs of things, whether people can afford to live and why or why not, whether the criminal justice system actually gets justice, whether child protective services protects children, or the health care system makes people healthier, or whether school systems teach things worth knowing…. The list of topics could go on forever.
- The broad generalization challenge. Try to go through all of 2017 without saying “those…… are all…” I know of lots of people who can’t do this one. Some want to run the country.
- The standing up for others challenge. When you see someone’s rights being violated, or some law being broken by someone who’s never had a consequence in their lives, stand up to the bully or the criminal. Tell them they are wrong. Stop them from doing it again.
- The basic needs challenge. If you’ve got more than you need, and some else has less than they need, share.
- The give people a chance challenge. If someone asks to do something that you can’t picture them doing, let them try and see if they have something to offer.
- The treat nature like it’s important challenge. Be nice to animals. Don’t destroy the environment. Don’t destroy ancient rock formations.
There are so many things that could go viral here, and if they did, well, 2017 would be a whole lot better than 2016. I might even pay more attention to pop culture this way.
Resisting oppression with Peace,