It’s always meme, meme, meme…
The decline of society, that’s what I want to discuss today.
Ok, that’s slightly dramatic. Perhaps not society as such, maybe just my immediate surroundings. And maybe not decline, but a steady persistent crumbling. And maybe not discuss so much as posture and pontificate wildly.
I’m acutely aware that I’m about to sound old, crotchety, reactionary and unfair. It’s also likely that most of my arguments will have more holes in them than a colander factory. I am a parent after all, and being exceptionally opinionated comes with the territory, as does being continually told that I’m wrong. Never the generational twain shall meet.
So first I’m going to briefly touch on the decline of the English language, or communication.
Every time I browse social media, I am faced with some pre-populated sentiment haphazardly thrown into the public intermincer. A ground down fragment of homespun philosophy which has been ritually deconstructed into an insubstantial bastardised cyber burger. Fit for consumption, but lacking any real nutritional value.
People appear to be becoming more reliant on memes sporting pseudo-intellectual inspirational verse, inane catch phrases or buzz word morsels. Typically these are emblazoned over stunning sunsets, beautiful beach scenes or celebrities faces.
These are used uniformly in a bid to define the senders quirky personality and stamp their individuality, en masse. Incidentally, this must alarm the novelty t-shirt companies, as that’s been their gig for years.
No one can just write ‘I hate Mondays’ in their comment box and press send. That’s just way too much effort. We have become too lazy to write or express ourselves, now we’re content to trawl our newsfeeds in a frantic search to find a picture of a pissed off cat that’s just fallen head first into a toilet – overlayed with the message, I hate Mondays.
This might be overstating the obvious but, we all hate fucking Mondays, and we’ve all fallen into toilets.
Disliking a weekday will never be an extension of who you are, or be a defining personality trait – it’s just a fact of life.
Imagine you actually believed that hating Mondays was the primary part of your psychological makeup, and it was your main criteria for dating – seeking likeminded person to share life with. Must hate Mondays. Anything else goes.
Mondays have been the skull festooned, blood-soaked, soul-sucking portal to the working week since the introduction of the Gregorian calendar. Get used to them. Mondays are here to stay until someone invents, and detonates, the uber-destructive Mondaybomb.
Just do what everyone else does as a coping mechanism; sit and scowl at everyone that passes your desk, toy menacingly with a letter opener and plot planet-wide genocide, or specifically targeted chaos.
At least up until lunchtime. A good sandwich experience can persuade you that everything isn’t quite so bad; and that Frank probably doesn’t need to be pushed down an open liftshaft, screaming in terror as he plummets.
I fear, in the not too distant future, we will all be communicating in farts, whistles and grunts.
We are destined to voluntarily evolve into mindless sharedrones; spewing out memes and animated gifs in an attempt to convey a message or sentiment that has long been forgotten.
After all: idle hands are social media’s bread and butter.
…With You, You, YouTube
That brings me quite neatly to the whole YouTube phenomenon.
YouTube and its ease of access appeal is not a new concept, not by any stretch of the imagination. I have, of late, been witnessing, and attempting to understand, the disturbing trend and mystical allure of famous YouTubers and Tube Heroes.
On a daily basis, our children will dedicate a sizeable chunk of their day to watching other children, or ultra-enthusiastic teens, playing games and providing running commentary, opening blind bags, egging each other on in outlandish challenges, or producing jump cut visual fan fiction.
That might not sound strange, but this sub voyeuristic format has taken preference over budgeted, meticulously written, syndicated specifically designed entertainment.
Don’t get me wrong, my indie-screw-the-establishment nature is drawn like a moth towards the idealistic freeform candle of allowing uninhibited creativity expression to challenge the entire entertainment industry.
However, there is something sinister and a little speculative fiction about kids flopped on a couch watching other kids play – it’s like me watching some guy type numbers into a spreadsheet and sigh for 8 hours a day.
I think the strangest trend is that we are now seeing action figures appear in pop culture gaming shops depicting famous YouTubers (Tube Heroes) who have risen to some baffling level of popularity and cult celebrity.
I dispute their claims to heroism. In medieval times a true hero was someone that could slay a dragon or stand up to a tyrannical king, in fact, to be more accurate, a true hero was someone that could challenge the mortality rate and stay alive beyond the age of 30.
I’m going to lay even money that none of these so-called tube heroes would be able to slay a real dragon – not even close. They do however possess the ability to live to 60 and beyond due to advances in the field of medicine over the last few centuries.
Of course, silliness aside, their fame isn’t the issue.
My main bone of contention is the companies that are adapting and evolving; finding ways to make money out of amateur documentary makers and the heroic Youtubers that can stick slugs up their nose. There’s a new insidious breed of rampant consumerism in town that is using children to advertise to other children.
My prediction is, that soon, we’ll see action figures of famous kids that open blind bags sitting on toy shop shelves beside the brand of blind bags that they open – all in some hideous snake eating its own tail, exploitative greedy advertiser eating shit paradox.
Naturally I wonder how it all started, and where it will end.
Does the future hold being sneered at by our derisive despondent children, who can’t be bothered to get out of their hoverbeds?
And we’ll complain, as we often do – even though we bought the hoverbed. Well, they were touted as the pinnacle of human invention and ingenuity, and every home should have one. So how could we not?
Ironically, we are fuelling the hypocrisy by buying our little cherubs the latest devices – and then posting smarmy asides on social media bemoaning the fact that our kids aren’t outside whitewashing a neighbours fence, running away with hobos, and portraying a Huck Finn ideal.
The irony is that we’d be enraged if they did, as we’ve just spent $1,000,000.00 on their new hoverbed – so why aren’t they using it?
And anyway, being sullen, unhealthy, introverted and aspiring to be a Tube Hero is the new playing with worms in the dirt, learning valuable life lessons and enhancing your social skills through emotionally rewarding interaction, right?