How I learned to stop worrying and live in denial
[As I sort through the dimly lit closet that contains all of the necessary instruments for my visceral social commentary, I have found my beloved soapbox and, with a zeal not seen since I re-discovered my forgotten 8-bit NES, I’m kicking the light coat of dust off and delivering another assessment of the things that truly boggle my mind.]
My drives to work are, for the most part, wholly uneventful.
A few idiots who somehow obtained driver’s licenses here; the occasional wandering elderly person there – where they obtained those 14 bags of pears only god knows – but, I fill these drives with the same thing most people do when they are in transit to their respective levels of purgatory: music.
I don’t make it a habit to listen to the radio but on occasion I misplace my trusty Nano and I am coerced by boredom into spinning my dial between banal political punditry, top-40 schlock, or the mournful tune of some poor bastard whose truck decided to crap out on him before he reached the bar.
The choices are so alarmingly difficult to make, aren’t they?
On Monday morning I settled for the schlock. I’m not proud of it but there is a small amount of comfort in the [pardon me as I rapidly age before your very eyes] routine syncopated beats and over-produced warbling that is currently considered music. It’s not a great amount of comfort but after a night of overzealous Flip Cup and a few aspirin I was willing to aim low.
I stumbled upon yet another entry by Katy Perry into her vast catalog of electro-pop oriented promotion of unrepentant promiscuity and was confused as to whether this was the one where she kissed the girl or the one where she proclaimed me to be unique by virtue of likening me to colorful high explosives — but then I remembered that I didn’t care.
For those that don’t know, “Last Friday Night” was apparently a pretty big deal — Kenny G showed up — do not deny the jealousy bubbling within you.
The track essentially consists of a 4-and-a-half-minute maudlin about Katy’s drunken debauchery and her subsequent failure to realize that everything one does any more is placed on the Internet for posterity (or blackmail) and it is decidedly “quaint” at best.
Yet, when she happens upon this discovery, her tacit, intellect-crippling reply is simply: “oh well.”
That’s great Katy. When one of your fans take your idea and runs with it and is inevitably greeted by a pink slip and an STD, she can take reassurance in your lesson and mutter to herself “oh well” as she jacks back another round of antibiotics.
This isn’t an attack on Katy Perry as an individual but when you look past the contrived lyrics, public-domain mined backing tracks, and an almost blatant disregard for originality, it does present an alarming reiteration of a frightening trend: willful ignorance.
I’m left to ask what we are to gain as a society if we perpetually accept and act out the over arching memes that are thrown at us by those in a position of media-based authority.
“Popular music” and the bulk of mainstream cinema in general are promoted and made accessible to the widest of demographics in order to deliver a message of denial.
At one level or another, every form of product currently exported to consumers share the same basic message: “Drink. Party. Sex. Spend. Repeat.”
While I make no bones that I am a fan of hedonism, I’m also a pragmatist and I know that you have to engage in the practice of moderation.
I have felt, smelt and dealt with the “living” embodiments of this overwhelming “party culture” — people who live solely for the weekend and work throughout the week to fund their alcohol-fueled binges with no thought to what takes place within the world which they inhabit.
Try having a conversation about Bernie Madoff with someone screaming “Jell-O shots!” every five seconds.
What’s that? You’d like to discuss the economic repercussions for the U.S. surrounding an impending Libyan civil war and military intervention in Yemen? Well go to hell buddy, “Jersey Shore” is on!
People are continually pulling the wool over their own eyes in order to avert their attention from the “depressing” news that is taking place around the world.
Their attempts at deadening the influence of this information upon their own lives with alcohol or drugs smacks of a youthful nihilism that would have left Nietzsche with such an inflated ego that it could have lifted the children of irresponsible parents into Colorado’s upper troposphere.
When weekends were a time to blow off steam from the workweek, this was a logical response, and you generally didn’t want to focus on the negative and simply have a good time.
However, there is a stark contrast between forgetting your problems temporarily and rendering yourself completely oblivious 7 days a week.
All this occurs while more and more people are seeking out drugs and alcohol as their only method of feeling good or owning any sort of accomplishment.
We’ve slowly created a generation of individuals who have been raised on anti-depressants and told that they must perpetually live in fear of social ostracism yet constantly scream at them to be “unique.”
We allow ourselves to be force fed garbage that instills a subconscious drive to focus ourselves on unrepentant recreation for the sake of simply doing so.
Isaac Asimov put it perfectly: “If knowledge creates problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”
Last Friday night may have been “totally awesome” and more power to you for making it so, but I shudder to think of a world populated by those who relinquish their free will and concern for the world around them in order to look forward only to the weekend and the chance for amnesia-fueled regret.