These are strange times indeed. Did you ever think you’d hear your own mother say ‘twerking’? Thank God for the internet, and the inherent judgeyness of mankind.
It’s difficult, in these times of Rape Culture, Check Your Privilege, and CIS-gendered Patriarchal Misogyny, to know quite how you should be offended by stuff, whether you have a right to be offended by it, or if you want the government to step in and prevent schools teaching Taylor Swift songs to your five year old.
Political Correctness has always been accused of ‘going mad’, by people who don’t understand the concept of Political Correctness, the reasons behind it, or the fact that there isn’t actually a ‘brigade’. But it’s not PC that’s the problem. The problem is that the internet is a platform for Anyone With A Computer Or Phone, and as we all know, the internet is a digital version of The General Public. And those people are imbeciles.
Wait, wait, wait! You can’t shame people for being imbeciles! That’s raceaphobic or something!
It’s okay, I’m not shaming them. I’m just pointing out that if you have ideals in a society: Success, Beauty, Intelligence, Strength, it’s because the majority of people do not possess them. That’s why they are seen as virtues, ideals, things we want to be. Or, if we can’t be them, things we pretend to hate.
Hate drives humanity as much as love. Sometimes we combine the two, by professing to ‘love to hate’ something or someone. They’re basically the same emotion anyway, as anyone who has just had a relationship break-up will testify.
The problem with society is not Political Correctness, or Feminism, or Sexism, Rape Culture, Transphobia, George Zimmerman, Miley’s latex-covered vulva, or any of those things; collectively or in isolation. The problem is that the world is mostly empty vessels making a bunch of noise, and the internet is an ear that your finger isn’t big enough to plug.
If you happen to like anything popular, like Lady GaGa, or True Blood, or professional football, it doesn’t matter how high a level YOU appreciate it on. It doesn’t matter that YOU’RE not a mouthbreathing idiot. If you want to appreciate these things via social media, you’re going to have to encounter people who communicate mainly in belches or Punching Stuff. It’s like when you enjoy beer, but don’t have much money. You might find yourself in Wetherspoons, side-by-side at the bar with someone who has tattooed eyeballs, and a dog made entirely of teeth. An occupational hazard.
You could of course choose just to like obscure things. Esoteric pursuits will bring a whole different set of peers, it’s true. But then, those peers will mainly be made up of People Who Think Their Shit Smells Better, and those people are almost as annoying as That Guy Who Thinks Famous People Read The Comments On Their Own Facebook Pages. Stupid or clever, every crowd has its goons.
Don’t get me wrong: we need popular culture. If your entire day was just filled with information about wars, famines, medical science breakthroughs and amazing, undiscovered talent, you wouldn’t be any happier. You’d just develop a bitter edge to your smugness, and waste the day lamenting that other people were ignorant of all the amazing stuff you knew from eschewing TMZ. You literally can’t win.
So we click on the links, even though we know we shouldn’t. And we get involved in lengthy discussions about Kim Kardashian or Amy’s Bakery, or how the Charlie Bit My Finger kid is now owned by Viacom. It gives us a sense of belonging; of being current; of not being that one friend who goes ‘MILEY WHO? LOL!’ as if his ignorance makes him the Dalai Lama. And we justify it to ourselves, because life is too short and YO L it O.
The most important thing happening in the news today will not be on the front page of your news website. They will lead with the story which gets the most clicks. Clicks mean ad revenue, and ad revenue pays for their fancy graphics, their hot lady co-anchors, and the mountains and mountains of Bath Salts which they need to fuel Glen Beck’s on-air, crying rants about freedom. And until Bashar al-Assad starts bombing his people with photos of Selena Gomez’s vagina, that’s always how it’s going to be.
Peace and love, and it’s nice to be back.