Last night, my wife and I cashed in our early Christmas gift and loaded up on some wings and fries at our favorite chicken place. Her sister joined us with her husband and their kids, and within a few minutes of us showing up, both the boys (ages 7 and 5) were incessantly singing "Ganganam Style" and doing the signature dance. This song, and its hit video which just surpassed 1 Billion views (that's right, Dr. Evil, a BILLION) on Youtube, has got an amazing amount of traction going both online and in our culture. Anybody who's anybody, even this group of Salesian nuns, has heard of this video and has enjoyed its catchy tune, even while having no idea what is being said:
Think about the magnetic power this silly video has: it has managed to garner the attention of a five year old AND a group of Salesian nuns. That's some serious viral video power. I haven't actually seen the full video, but it really got me thinking. How is it that something as silly and simple as a dance and a video can catch the attention of so many people from so diverse population bases? It's not like you get something for listening to it, talking about it, or doing the dance. You might enjoy the music or the dance, but there's no reward. It's essentially just a waste of time, which happens to be entertaining. But there are lots of other things which are entertaining and silly and wastes of time but none of them seem to catch on quite like this.
What got me the most, though, was that these two young boys knew what it was and even knew how to do the dance that I, admittedly, can't even figure out after watching others. They also were clued in to the fact that it was cool and thus its value was increased ten-fold because they Love being cool.
The Attraction of Catholicism
What has this to do with evangelization? Well, not much. Except this one thing: what if we could make the Catholic faith seem that appealing? After all, the billion viewers of the Gangnam style video walk away essentially unchanged. But a Catholic who plugs in to the faith and sinks his roots into what the Church offers Can't walk away unchanged. You can receive grace, you can be inspired to perform works of social justice that help the world, you can learn about the great traditions of prayer, philosophy, chant, art, etc. And at the end of the day, you can become a saint and literally change the world.
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And while we're talking about silly waste of time Youtube videos, check out John Paul II in a batting cage during his visit to San Francisco. This totally would have gone vial if they had Youtube back then!