Let us begin dictating our own agenda. Let us decide for ourselves what is worthy of our attention. Let us raise the bar in inter- and intra-communal discussions.
For every video showing a Taliban beating some lady, let us refrain from commenting at the behest of wider society. For every news story highlighting the plight of Saudi women and their prohibition from driving, let us turn our backs on outside forces dictating the relevancy of certain issues (and thus the irrelevancy of so many other). For every video of a Saudi beating an expat worker, let us avoid being goaded into an apologetic response merely to appease our host nations. For every nutjob Muslim highlighted for acting like a nutjob, let us stop validating the highlighters by psychoanalyzing the nutjob.
Let us stop digging ourselves deeper into our hole by continuously answering, ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ Just as we understand the idiocy in replying to that question, we must also understand the madness in responding to every sensationalized whoop and holler highlighted in our newsfeeds.
We need to begin framing our own context and establishing our own position instead of responding to foolish viral videos and cultural phenomena that serve to only further substantiate prejudices and biases. Instead of fostering an enlightened alternative, we are only nourishing the degenerate beasts of shock journalism, snuff entertainment, and socio-cultural rubbernecking.
Must we have an opinion on every shmuck getting her fifteen minutes of fame? Must we demean ourselves with water cooler discussions about the latest video phenom on Youtube?
Or maybe we can choose the high-road and become prophetic, not only in our daily worship, but in our consumption of daily culture. Let us stop shrouding these instances of cultural flatulence in faux discussions of morality and ethics and instead, insist on meaningful conversations rich with substance and import, consistent with our agenda and beliefs.