I don’t know if this really is a trend, or just something that I notice because it’s my circle of American culture, but fuck it, what’s a blog for if not to take your own experiences and apply them to the world at large?*
I am worried that we are a generation that cannot deal with anything with out a thick layer of cynicism and sardonic humor. It seems like we decided that if you care about anything, this makes you worthy of mockery at the very least, and at worst, an asshole.
The existence of 4chan seems to be the highest order of this, but it’s in mainstream society as well. South Park, if it has an over-arching plot at all, is nothing is worth it. Doesn’t matter if you’re Al Gore talking about global warming or Evangelicals winning souls for heaven, if you care about it you’re delusional, or fleecing someone, or just an ass. If you care about animal welfare rights, you’re going to grow pussies all over your body. If you want tolerance for gay people that means you want to put everyone in concentration camps and if you think that gay people shouldn’t marry that means that you’re just upset about the gay sex you’re not getting. There’s nothing as a sincere belief, and the few people who have them are shown as not having any ability to control them.
Reality television also proliferates this view. Nothing is private, nothing is worthy of respect and dignity. Love? Screw that, everyone knows it all about the sex and money (Rock of Love, Flavor of Love, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire). Somebody gets up on stage, belts out their very best rendition of “I Will Survive”? It sucks, they should be ashamed that they ever dared to get up there, how clichéd, and jesus, look how fat she is. Intervention for drug addiction where someone honestly, rawly, and openly cries for the person that they’re losing to addiction? Let’s video tape that shit, and then autotune it.
If we go into politics, it seems like the worst meta-joke in the world. “Hope and Change” was a punchline even before Obama didn’t really deliver on them. Why should we care? Conservatives are so increasingly pandering to the “jus folks” stereotype that it’s a mockery of it becomes impossible. Any belief of what would actually make a difference seems to get shot down as not being “realistic”.
I don’t want to go so far that everything is taboo, and we hide from one another and play so close to the chest that actual expression becomes impossible. But, I think we are doing something unhealthy but not being honest with our and others emotions. Some things should be private, and not broadcast for the entertainment of the masses. Some things should be allowed to be the intense experiences they are without worrying about that everyone is going to consider them a joke, or to turn it to cynicism to distance oneself from your own feelings.
Maybe it’s time to go from sarcasm to honest anger, from dark humor to true pain. Or maybe this is something that’s been going on from the time of Oscar Wilde and George Shaw and Romanticism and sincerity will come back into vogue again.
*And apparently, legitimate news sources as well.