A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Pop culture is to culture what water is to granite: write your name in water and see how long it lasts. But, eventually, even the mightiest carved granite tablet will be worn away by rivers of water. Pop culture might be trivial and easily forgotten (I’m looking at you, Beanie Babies) but while it hangs around, it can change the way we think. For example, for 99% of human history, a person had to work hard to be universally hated – mass murder usually did the trick. Enter the Internet. These days, all anyone has to do is disagree with Twitter once too often and they’ll find themselves on the business end of a Cybermob, howling for their blood. Here are just a few other examples of how Pop Culture has changed our perceptions. There are many, many more.
Look what happened to clowns! Back in the day, clowns were fun. They were colourful. They were silly. They had big feet and made balloon animals. They hosted TV programs and were everybody’s first choice for their child’s birthday party. They even advertised fast food. Then, in 1986, along came Stephen King. BAM! Suddenly, clowns became evil. And not just regular evil, either — eat-your-eyeballs evil! Now, everybody’s afraid of clowns as if humans have always had a deep, primeval fear of painted faces. We even have one of those meaningless psychobabble names for it – coulrophobia.
Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, vampires were created to scare the hell outta people. They were the creatures whose very existence broke the laws of God and nature. They were the secret horror that lurked behind us in the dark, thirsty for our souls. Wow! What a difference a generation makes! Anne Rice and a couple of million imitators have turned vampires into that kinda odd, undead guy next door. Vampires play video games and Monopoly, and aside from the nasty habit of wanting to feast on your blood, they’re no more dangerous than an angry Chihuahua.
For centuries, machines were our friends. However, the prevailing wisdom of our time is that, one of these days, your laptop is going to become self-aware, leap up and slaughter you, the kids, your neighbour, your cousin and anybody else who gets in its way. Apparently, this is the inevitable result of Artificial Intelligence. Crap! It’s too complicated to explain here, but trust me: there is no scientific proof for this, at all. None! It’s all based on recent science fiction books, television and movies. Think about it! My computer can’t even get Auto-Correct right; how the hell is it going to take over the world?
And finally, one of the best ones:
Of all the lame excuses in the history of lame excuses, sex addiction has got to be the lamest.
“Sorry, honey! I slept with your brother, his best friend and Carl from work — cuz I’m a sex addict!”
“No, not all at the same time. I’m not that addicted!”
I’m pretty sure sex addiction isn’t a real thing. Mother Nature made us wanna have sex because that’s how we make more of us. It’s next to impossible to be addicted to something that you’re biologically programmed to do in the first place. It’s like saying, “I’m addicted to breathing.” Contemporary culture made up sex addiction so we’d have someplace to hide when we act like emotional assholes.
My point is, be careful what you believe to be irrefutable truth because, as some Persian poet said, a thousand years ago, “This, too, shall pass.”