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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Open Letter to the Brain-Washed Masses

If only I were so eloquent.

Whether the speech is real, or internet hype, I like the sentiment. I agree with the content. I worry about the generations of children raised to meet the standards of television, internet, and the lowest common denominator.

I worry that the greatest artists and inventors of our time are being medicated into submissions, or beaten into mediocrity, by a society terrified of deviation from the standard norm.

It is no longer acceptable to differ from the crowd. Even alternative subcultures must fall within the expected norm, or face annihilation.

It is no longer acceptable to take strength from your uniqueness. Apologies must be given for being too short, too tall, too black, too white, too feminine, too masculine. Only the standard, the banal, and the trite are acceptable to society.

More than any religion, modern society is the great giver of the words Thou Shalt Not.

Thou shalt not question the norm.

Thou shalt not disagree with the popular view.

Thou shalt not deviate from the norm.

Creation is an abomination. Pale imitations of the great masterpieces are the comfort food of the hive mind. New ideas are shunned. New arts are destroyed. New geniuses flushed away for the moment's caprice.

I fear the world we create in our vanity.

I weep for the world that is lost in our desire to obey the popular.

I wonder when this Rome will fall, broken under the strains of the equally broken masses, only to be over run by barbarians who dare to rebel against forced thought and thus win the day.

6 comments:

  1. Well said. I agree. I wish I could say it as well as you have. I raise a glass of wine in acknowledgement. Thank you :D

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  2. Hmm. Well, students DO still doodle in class and decide against doing their homework in favor of reading about something that interests them. That's a good thing. I don't think the world is changing all that much and kids will always find creative ways to shirk the yoke of conformity. In a way, standards force them to think outside the box.

    A high-school teacher of mine once told me if you wanted to find the brightest minds in a class, you don't look to the top ten. You look to the second ten. Those are the ones who aren't slavishly devoted to the almighty-A, but still manage to succeed. He said that's where the creativity lies.

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  3. Well, I don't know if I agree with you. The past century has shown some very original works but I believe that had a lot to do with time frame involved. Of course the great works of the past decade aren't going to rival the great works of the past century ... there just hasn't been enough time!

    As for the issue of today's increasing mediocrity and conformity ... well, some very nice movies came out in the first half of the century and they had to fight some rather moralising censors.

    Heck, schools up until relatively recently taught by rote and caned the ones who disobeyed the norm. I think people have always been a bit scared of those who break the norms because people generally want a predictable and gentle life.

    Unless you're comparing the modern era to, say, the 1990s and not going back much further than that (perhaps, maybe, the late 1980s), alternative subcultures certainly used to be prosecuted until relatively recently and everyone was expected to know their place.

    We have always struggled with deviation from the norm, unpopular views, and wild cards. We certainly are going backwards into conservatism, but in my view that's more a case of us returning to the roots of 20-30 years ago, not developing a new style for the brainless masses.

    Of course, it is so much more memorable and frustrating when it's happening to us in the here and now.

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  4. Leona- Thank you.

    Amy - You have a very perceptive friend.

    Shannon - Thank you, it always takes guts to argue with someone. Blogs are an imperfect forum for discussion. I do have high hopes for the future, but there are still changes I want to see in the education system. It's a small, often overlooked, thing. World peace would be nice, I'd settle for peace in the school system because I know it grows from there.

    Name I Can't See Because My Computer is Funny- :o) Only half in jest, mostly written in Vent Mode.

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  5. Liana, well said. As a multi-generation descendent of school teachers, I have been terribly destressed about the lack demand for excellence in the basic education of our children. We have let it and them slide, promoting them undeservedly, and depriving them of a future.

    My father had completed the equivalent of my high school education by the time he was 13. He had finished the equivalent of college education by the time he was 16, and a graduate education by 17. He was a ship's officer at 17, and had sailed around the world before he was 21. Our children are being cheated.

    I am firmly of the opinion that this will not improve until parents take local education back into their hands and tell the Federal Gov. to take a hike!

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