A comment on the post below has spent me to sit on my soapbox.
Sure our culture have seen a few generations of celebrity rebels who fight against standard protocol because they are wealthy or bored enough to do so. These are the people that ride the waves of shock culture.
I’m not talking about celebrities who use their influence to invest in humanitarian or political causes.
What I’m thinking about is no revelation and perhaps I need to clarity a few points.
There are new elements in American culture that - in the hands of a selfish adolescent, which they are by nature - are abused and out of control. Social media and the Net are marketers’ dreams. They can make tailored, direct deposits into the minds of innocent middle and high school kids. Often, because there is little life experience, these children fall for it, hard.
Parents are forced into a corner when they must provide the Net for school research. Some schools work in Google Docs. And, not allowing your child to text, have an email or Facebook account literally isolates them from their friends. A parent might refrain from one or two. Be assured, parents must heavily monitor all social media with time and scrutiny. There’s too much exposure and too much Snake Oil.
In the '40s my great grandfather worked for the Pulitzer newspapers promoting advertising. After working around the country, he finally settled at The Saint Louis Post Dispatch. I once read the script to one of his talks to a retail group. It was remarkable and clear my grandfather had to sell the notion of advertising as a worthwhile expense. Based on what he penned, it was most evident that he was battling the argument, “Why advertise? I already have enough customers and am fine.” This Zen-like state is rarely found in today’s American business climate. We’ve grown from the desire to meet our needs to just want more.
That was some 70 years ago that advertising venues where still needing to convince businesses there was a benefit in advertising.
Now? We have PR/marketing/advertising campaigns on steroids and very few of these groups have a social conscious. Mostly, it’s about money. If it wasn’t, how else does one explain push-up bikini tops for eight-year-olds, hair extensions for middle school girls, ten-year-olds in thong underwear, and gratuitous cleavage in 7th grade? Yes, children wearing bras that blatantly claim to enlarge the appearance of their budding little chests by three times.
These days? There are more Americans bucking trends because they are following a marketed campaign with no point but to make money. So I ask, are they really bucking a trend or are just falling in with the masses? Do they even know what they’re attempting to buck?
I don’t think it’s anything about individual expression. The people I see in thrift stores, generally have more taste and sense of style than those I see in the mall.
Lady Gaga? She will be replaced by something more shocking than herself. And that person/thing will urge kids to show more skin and drive them further away from the basics of cultural conventions and context.
It’s sad to think that common courtesy and context is losing out to money.