The ins and outs of a young library media specialist's life. Rock, rock on.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Note to Hipsters: You Can Stop Trying So Hard Now


Salon.com offered up a very interesting review this week entitled "Hipster rebel punk outsiders-- 99 cents a dozen", by Andrew O'Hehir. In it, O'Hehir discusses the new book Hello I'm Special, a look at how today's society lauds nonconformity to the point that nonconformity has become the norm. Individuality is conformity. I see it every day here in a school- whether the girls are wearing polo shirts and ribbons in their hair or Coheed and Cambria sweatshirts with 137 safety pins stuck through their jeans, every one is striving to be themselves. Which is just like everyone else. Paradoxical, no?

We grow up and go through school with everyone telling us we're special, unique, individual, that we can do anything we want if we just want it badly enough or we try hard enough. This isn't true, of course. If I wish hard enough to sprout wings and fly to the moon it still isn't going to happen. If I play 12 hours of tennis a day, every day, for the next 20 years, it doesn't mean you'll see me kicking Anna Kournikova's ass at Wimbledon (esp. since I can't play for crap on grass courts). There are limits to what we can and should do, despite what the media wants us to believe.

A few quotes from the article (in case you're too lazy to read it) that really struck a chord:

"Those of us who grew up in the post-industrial, pop-culture-saturated West (and a whole lot of people who didn't) have been raised to believe that we are unique individuals with special destinies. When it comes to imagining that destiny, however, all we have are the mass-produced images of fame and success that everyone shares: Donald Trump in his corner office with its vulgar but expensive furniture, Howard Stern partying joylessly amid pneumatic boobs, pop stars and movie actors trying vainly to imitate the more real-seeming pop stars and movie actors of the past."

"Stuffed with half-baked philosophies of self-actualization and self-fulfillment, we also believe that we are ourselves primarily or even solely responsible for reaching that destiny. We have all embraced that e-mail from the cosmos assuring us that we're VIPs ... even though that requires pretending not to notice that everybody else got the same message. "

"No individual can be so strange, no artist so confrontational, as to escape the New Conformity."

So where does this leave us? I guess it leaves us piecing together what we can to make a life that means more to us than just individuality. Something that's bigger, broader. Perhaps even a view that doesn't require glossy photos, celebrity fashion opinions, and extremist vanity. With media being so ingrained in our lives, how can we even conceive of things differently?

1 Comments:

Blogger MyUtopia rocks hardcore!

It is interesting that we have gotten to this point. So would being a non-invididual be the controversial way to go? Wierd

9:41 AM

 

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