Wednesday, February 27, 2013

i'm ok, you're an asshole

Blogging may be changing the world as we know it.  Never before has anything so intimately connected people. People get closer by sharing information with each other, right? And that only goes so far. But now we’re putting our diaries on the internet. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Getting detailed about your inner workings and feelings en masse is not something that’s ever existed before. All the complex inner dialogue that accompanies parenting and puberty and aging and everything else is shared by others on a huge scale and we know that we’re….normal. I wonder what horrible choices I might not have made as a teenager if I’d had the internet? I had magazines, but they make more money the worse you feel about yourself and were written from that angle. Bloggers might be selling ad-space but they are sharing (for the most part) their true lives. I’m sure someone somewhere is doing an in-depth study on this. If they’re not, they should be.
A 60-something acquaintance just joined facebook.  It makes me sad that instead of intelligent discussion she’ll be sucked into Tea Party nonsense about Keepin’ Merika, Merika! Fear tactics that tell blatant lies and twist facts and operate on the premise that “Straight White Men are supposed to be in charge, remember, y’all? We’re like, the Boss of the World, WTF happened????.” They realized recently that the internet was off and running and they were left behind. So this pathetic, last ditch smear campaign is laughable in the context of the future of the world. (Please God Please) The kids aren’t buying this shit, thank God. Some of them are, but most teenagers and young 20’s I know aren’t. Jersey Shore may have claimed some of our young people, but by no means all. The stereotype of typical American teenager is a bunch of bullshit. The older teens and 20’s have grown up with more media programming aimed at them than anyone ever has. Ever. Think about that for a minute. Yes, it’s to sell things. That’s how it works. But the programming itself has dialed into kids and what they want. It’s done a fair share of telling them what they want, too, which is not good, of course. I don’t like how the media portrays a “normal” socioeconomic status that is anything but. BUT there is some good in it. They see kids on TV feeling the same feelings they are, and that tells them their friends are feeling them, too.  Talk to a lot of people my age. We never dreamed that the other kids were having those same feelings. We all thought we were freaks!! Even when our parents told us “the other kids are going through this, too”, we didn’t believe them. We had violent cartoons and overinflated afterschool specials and going out to play when Soul Train came on. And Mr. Rogers, who helped so many people my age by telling them they were special and worthy and OK. Nobody will ever replace Mr. Rogers, but kids have so many more people telling them those things now than ever before in human history. My daughters are in their early 20’s. They grew up on Barney and Shining Time Station and Mr. Rogers and then Nickelodeon. Shows for kids! Shows that were actually about kids! “All That!” showed them that kids could be funny—really funny. Say what you will about that show, but it was funny.
A friend’s post about Bettie Page got me thinking. There are powerful women on a global scale. Female athletes and singers and actors and scholars and authors and politicians and professionals and mothers are in charge of their own lives in a new way. More nonwhite people are powerful in America than ever. Maybe more young white men will recognize their privilege and start using their perceived ‘power’ for the good of humanity instead of the good of themselves. I know mine are being raised that way, and I don’t mean in an “I apologize for being a white man” way. I mean in the “I’m not an asshole” way. 

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