Now that the hamatanshen crumbs have settled (and are soon to be vacuumed up in preparation for Pessach), a little reflection on what Jessica Williams at the Daily Show touted as “the tenth most important Jewish holiday”.
So synagogue brotherhoods and sisterhoods and Jewish flagship organizations all across North America, trying to galvanize the laity through harnessing the excitement and energy of the interwebs (and, hopefully, some engagement from the kids in the process), produced festive parody clips in advance of Purim.
Those wacky kids at Ein Prat Institute were also at it again – or was the clip from 2011? (Which prompted me to wonder anew: Do these folks ever go to class? Or are all their lectures delivered in the desert while they wear a wide range of costumes? This Academy for Leadership seems to be incubating a curious cohort of future Jewish leaders… perhaps I might get some clarification on this from their advisors Mr. Shorofsky and Ms. Sherwood.)
Some of the clips were slickly produced, many less so. Many even less so than that. Ick.
But what was most intriguing about this experience was not the lameness of many of the clips (and many were really lame, did I mention that?), but how quickly memes flare up and burn out. (Not really a new idea, y’all, but particularly poignant in this context…)
While the various brotherhoods and sisterhoods met to plan out the video, thinking themselves hip for appropriating various internet memes, they failed to understand that by the time they uploaded the finished product, the referrents upon which they built their clips would already be stale and passe.
As part of the Purim festivities where I teach, we screened some examples for the kids. When the overfamiliar chords of “Gangnam Style” kicked in in the middle of a clip parodying Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”, children between the ages of 9 to 12 groaned with world-weariness. Really? This? Again? Have we not seen this before and better almost a billion times?
(…Which is why, BTW, I have not even considered the possibility of writing a second book. By the time any of the ideas put to paper would make it to the hands of readers, it would be on the verge of staleness, if not already crusted over.)
The ubiquity of memes breeds contempt – and it breeds it quick.
The internet is all about speed. Jewish institutions (like synagogues, Federations, etc.) are all about not-speed.
Hence, these two entities, by their very natures, do not play well together.
Sigh. On to the next one.