Smart Phones, Social Media and Jesus by Robert Socha
This Christmas season, for the first time in years, our family visited the magnificent Fox Theater in Detroit to attend their one-day showing of a traveling group performing The Nutcracker. Understandably delayed 15 minutes because of the unfortunately necessary security measures creating the impression of assuring public safety, the second of three sold-out performances that day was alive with conversation and zeal. The palpable anticipation of this holiday treasure easily overcame any possible frustrations with the delay.
Lights dimmed, the audience hushed, and dancers began to interpret the score majestically. However, there was an unintended challenge because even 15 minutes was not long enough to allow everyone to take their seats. As a result, scores of patrons, seemingly oblivious to the thousands who had Planned their excursion with plenty of time to settle before showtime, were seated in the opening minutes of the first act obscuring the stage for extended periods. It was innocuous initially, but the flow of latecomers interrupting the performance challenged one’s patience and not being distracted from enjoying the show.
The egocentric displays that followed were utterly oblivious to the public square and proper theatrical etiquette. Three ladies seated directly in front of me during the most majestical and eye-popping scenes pull out their smartphones and photograph. The glare from their screens was a terrible distraction and an unnecessary interruption of this grand display of artistic talent. If the photography weren’t bad enough, one of the ladies would scroll through the plethora of pictures she just took, seemingly to choose, edit, and publish them right from the theater. The self-centered need for immediate approval, acceptance and social virtue was on static display. They would even audaciously discuss magnificent dance sequences during the performance. (Intermission?)
Smartphones and social media have challenged our collective will in a narcissistic display of hedonism.
I was appalled, and after enduring the self-centered photography for most of the first act, I loudly whispered, “seriously,” attempting to convey to these novice photographers their unacceptable behavior. Unfortunately, the rebuke went unheeded, probably unnoticed, and their pixel distraction continued into the second act. Finally, in a fit of desperation, I suggested to these ladies, “Please use your mind to record the moments you would like to revisit in the future.” Maybe I should have remained silent, but their interruptions ceased, although there were smatterings of others engaged in the same deplorable behavior throughout the venue.
I wonder about this trend. Is life so pressing, a public image so vital, and etiquette so trivial that one would find it necessary to interrupt the enjoyment of a treasure for countless souls to record a live performance digitally, to be rarely if ever revisited? Apparently, that is the case. It would be wonderful if we retrain ourselves to live in the moment and forgo the need for instant gratification. Then we could stimulate our memories and vocabularies with a grand description of what we witnessed.
Contrast the humble origins of the Savior, Christ the Lord. Yet, we arrive this week at the culmination of the Season to celebrate this providential event. In His life and ministry, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve – and give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Maybe we would do well to emulate His example, even in the theatre’s midst.
About the Author
Robert Socha, BIO Robert Socha (so-ha), was born in southern California. He served 5 years 3 months active duty in the United States Air Force; honorably. After his service he took an Associate’s Degree in Practical Theology, where, through his studies, developed a deep love of God and Country and sincere appreciation of the value of Liberty. Robert and his beloved wife of 21-plus years are raising 4 beautiful Texan children. They moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2013, to put their children in Hillsdale Academy. Robert is a sales professional. He and his wife consider Michigan a hidden gem, and absolutely love this city and state (current political environment notwithstanding) they’ve adopted.