Media saturates us with end-of-the-year data. Looking back before moving forward is interesting but sometimes deadly.
Lot's wife would agree. Living in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong things, she received opportunity to start over with only two stipulations: "Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains" (Genesis 19:17). She looked back and "became a pillar of salt" (v. 26).
That's "think higher to go higher." The top two Most Notable Quotes of the year verify it. After the worst offshore oil spill disaster in history, did BP's Tony Hayward expect sympathy when he whined, "I'd like my life back"? Did Christine O'Donnell, candidate for the U.S. Senate, need to dignify silliness with, "I'm not a witch"?
And what was 24-year-old Lady Gaga, one of Parade magazine's Personalities of the Year, saying when she wore an ensemble made entirely of raw meat to collect her MTV video music award? "I am" or "I am not" just another piece of meat? Giving her an out, perhaps she was prophetically portraying what would become the 2010 Word of the Year: "austerity." After all, meat is still cheaper than designer originals.
If none of the above brings a tear while singing "Auld Lang Syne," loosely translated "for the sake of old times," perhaps the comeback of aprons will do it. That cute little cloth overemphasizing the abdomen, screaming "housewife of the 50s," is now being featured as fashion with a "warming memory."
Maybe the death knoll for "landlines" (the old-fashioned telephone) deserves a sad toast. Half of America's 25-29-year-olds use only cell phones. Those with landlines are hooked into computers so that others must call their cell phones to reach them.
Traditional TV viewing is at an all-time high, and the U.S. is its biggest market with the largest couch potatoes growing even larger. Linear programming, i.e., TV watching as scheduled by broadcasters, still leads media tools. Perhaps that (or temporary insanity) accounts for Barbara Walters putting Snooki and the "Jersey Shore" crowd on her list of Most Fascinating People.
Or, maybe it's because among Parade's 2010 Most Amazing Discoveries, scientists decoded DNA from Neanderthal skeletons and found the same genetic material in some people today, Ozzy Osbourne being one (not a joke). Hopefully, the White House will test our Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who exposed himself on national television Dec. 20 as completely unaware of 12 would-be terrorists arrested in Great Britain the day before.
Time chose Mark Zuckerberg, 26-year-old co-founder and CEO of Facebook, as Person of the Year, "for changing how we all live our lives." We may not "all" want to be as "open and connected" as Zuckerberg dreams, but unless we plan to join Lot's wife, we'd better understand our world enough to think higher and go higher, the difference between spice or just dead salt.
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.