28 July 2005

Self-awareness now! (BR)

So we've already defined ourselves.

It's funny, because the generation before the generation that just came of age (i.e. graduated from college) did little to try and define our age group beyond hemming and hawing about whether we'd be overly stimulated and desensitized by exposure to sex and violence.

Now, more than any other group of twenty-somethings in American history, even the Hippies, we have essentially imposed our interests and tendencies upon the general population. Who do we thank but Madison Avenue, for also making us the youngest advertising demographic in history.

I was contemplating the Millenials' (the only term I've heard associated with my generation) place in history, and I thought about the special 'Blogosphere' editions of programming on CNN and MSNBC. I'm not one much for newsblogs myself, I like to think of this place as apart from the crowd, not trying to be currently relevant, just interesting.

The narcissism of the weblog, livejournal...that I, with no credentials, nothing but the 'fact' of my presumed existence, I and my thoughts and my particular experience may be compelling enough to entice strangers.

But we've been cultivated to expect our environment, and especially the media, the environment which we adopt as common, to respond to our more basic drives. Make it colorful, high-volume, show me an ass. Even a silhouette of an ass. I'm fixated. But now the world is like, like us.

The cultural jump from Sesame Street to Fear Factor is not so drastic. Essentially, the world has become a cartoon so we don't get bored. And if reality falls short in some areas, we can CGI that shit in. We can live out any conceivable scenario vicariously,

Oh yes we HAD our MTV, and our Nintendos and Tamogotchis and beepers and cellphones and now our motherfucking Blackberries and PSPs. Now the generation that raised us is jealous, because their tastes were never catered to. They never had a specialty television channel for their particular obscure interest, like military history or transgenderism or Wall Street. "Why, back in my day..." sounds idiotic coming out of someone who laughed at All in the Family and smoked pot to Led Zeppelin IV, so they can't even bitch about us.

So they emulate us.

Desperate housewives who squeeze into their daughters' clothes, full-grown adults speaking into headset telephones while they walk down Broadway. It's us programming them.

This power that we have over our surroundings is strange and difficult to contemplate. It might be impossible to harness fully and use. Though it's an outgrowth of the exploitation of our most basic desires, an awareness of who we are, what we have and the extent to which it enables us to true self-determination and individualism is something worth pondering.

The pitfalls are obvious and natural. The progress of simplifying complex processes into quick, ancillary tasks tends toward human sloth. But the awareness of power has an energizing effect on the spirit. The confluence of this type and this measure of power and energy with good intentions is rare, indeed. But it's happened.

And in the type of world where some yacko from Singapore can stumble on the online journal of some other jacko from Palm Springs and find out why Amanda is totally holding out on Brad this week, someone is going to figure out an effective way of putting will to power, so to speak, and make something great and universally captivating.

And if it's Ted Turner, by God, I'm just going to beat up the first person I see.


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