This Is The Mo­ment

Sharp - - GUIDE -

The year we started com­part­men­tal­iz­ing events and feel­ings, and overus­ing the word “mo­ment”

HIRTY YEARS AGO a wise young man pointed out, pos­si­bly for the first time, that “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it.” It was true when Fer­ris Bueller said it (on his day off, no less), and it’s even more true to­day — only now you haven’t truly looked around un­less you’ve posted an ac­com­pa­ny­ing com­men­tary about it on so­cial me­dia. The speed with which news sto­ries are con­sumed, di­gested, and for­got­ten is fast enough to train as­tro­nauts. The in­ces­sant hunger for con­tent (and the at­ten­dant, and in­evitable, ou­trage it in­spires) has pop­u­lar­ized a term that fash­ion and me­dia in­sid­ers have been us­ing for a while to de­scribe what­ever is trend­ing: “Hav­ing a Mo­ment.”

While the term is ac­cu­rate, it’s also kind of sad — and not just in the par­ents-danc­ing-to-bey­oncé-way that all clichés are sad. It’s a quiet ad­mis­sion that our col­lec­tive at­ten­tion spans aren’t sturdy enough to main­tain in­ter­est in a sub­ject with­out a fi­nite amount of time at­tached to it. A mo­ment has a be­gin­ning and an end. Prob­lem is, the is­sues at the heart of many of our present mo­ments don’t. So­cial jus­tice is hav­ing a mo­ment; racism, sex­ism, in­tol­er­ance? That shit isn’t mo­men­tary.

So, be­fore we move on to the next topic, we should take a look at some of the most prom­i­nent “mo­ments” of the last year or so. Be­cause it’s pos­si­ble that while we were writ­ing and promptly for­get­ting our hot takes, we missed a mo­ment or two, or more im­por­tantly, missed what we should have learned in the mo­ment. Af­ter all, life moves pretty fast.

TMore than 20 years af­ter O.J.’S in­fa­mous trial, the dis­graced for­mer foot­ball star was ev­ery­where, in­spir­ing a nau­se­at­ing nos­tal­gia in any­one who re­mem­bers where they were when they heard The Ver­dict. Two — that’s right, two! — ma­jor se­ries re-ex­am­ined the case and the phe­nom­e­non. The first, a fic­tional retelling star­ring Cuba Good­ing Jr. and David Sch­wim­mer, gar­nered sev­eral Emmy nom­i­na­tions. The sec­ond, a fivepart ESPN se­ries, stands as one of the best doc­u­men­taries of the last decade. In a cul­tural mo­ment when truth and jus­tice have never felt more ten­u­ous for more peo­ple, dredg­ing up the past can seem the most pre­scient thing to do. We didn’t even know David Bowie was sick when, just 10 days into the new year, we found out he’d suc­cumbed to can­cer. Same thing a few days later with Alan Rick­man. Then Harper Lee, Garry Shan­dling, Merle Hag­gard. Prince. Gene Wilder. Maybe 2016 wasn’t an anom­aly — lots of peo­ple die, celebri­ties are peo­ple, ergo, it hap­pens. But in the so­cial me­dia age, when ev­ery­one is clam­our­ing to de­fine them­selves against the news, it seemed to hit harder; peo­ple mourned longer, shal­lower, more pub­licly. The real les­son from Jan­uary 10 wasn’t just how great Bowie was — but how many of your friends were se­cretly such big Bowie fans. In­sta­gram was sup­posed to re­place mag­a­zine ad­ver­tis­ing. It didn’t. This was the year peo­ple fi­nally stopped pay­ing at­ten­tion to peo­ple who are fa­mous for be­ing fa­mous, or for cu­rat­ing and cap­tur­ing their douchey life­styles on the In­ter­net. In a no­to­ri­ous in­ter­view with prom­i­nent (but anony­mous) so­cial me­dia ex­ec­u­tive ad­mit­ted that “in­flu­encer” cam­paigns don’t ac­tu­ally work. Soon after­ward Kim Kar­dashian was robbed dur­ing Paris fash­ion week. Co­in­ci­dence or the sys­tem eat­ing it­self to death? Scary ei­ther way.

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