What is and isn’t cool has been a factor in all societies since there were people on this earth. We all, either consciously or unconsciously, tend to imitate that or those which we admire. Sometimes this is a harmless spread of a trend, and sometimes a dangerous escalation of the radical or even a societal virus. Most of the time these trends catch on quickly and spread like an out of control fire. The extent is indeterminable. The effect can be comedic, stylish, bizarre, innocuous or ultimately harmful. Both the cause and the effect are unpredictable. While styles, fashions, catch phrases, body movements and language itself may not have much lasting effect on society in general, there are other things that may be harmful, if not in the short term, then possibly in the long term.
The glorification of subcultures is prevalent in our global society at this time, and has been evident for hundreds of years. Outlaws, bandits, highwaymen, gangsters and gangs have been terrorizing societies since recorded history. They have caused death and misery to large numbers of people, and yet, until printed communication, have been fairly localized. Their evil ways were in the realm of the fairy tale. But, as soon as it was possible to spread the printed word, the fantasy started to spread to larger masses of people. The nascent newspaper found a way to use sensationalism to sell a larger volume by increasing the intensity of each story. Books, pamphlets, plays, and music found the same formula as a way to increase profit.
Robin Hood, King Arthur and Aladdin spawned Jesse James and Billy the Kid who morphed into the turn of the century gangster and the more modern criminal and serial killer. This chronology has now permeated our society and affected our attitudes, morals and ethics. The role models for our children have changed to the celebrities of several subcultures. This has caused an erosion of our whole value system, belief in a supreme being, and even our own constitution and government. All of this has caused many in our society to live in a fantasy world consisting of a myriad of drugs, attitudes that shift with the wind and political leanings into cults and socialism. In other words a surrender of the individuals right to think independently. All of our media are infected. Movies, television, books, the internet, and all of our communications promote the dark side of life as being exciting, living on the edge, being cool.
The above causes everyone, but particularly our young, impressionable and callow offspring, to fear reality because of an unrealistic view of life. And being unbalanced makes it easy to be seduced by lies, misinformation and various political aberrations. Seeing the truth is much more difficult when unbalanced. So how do we restore balance?
As difficult as it is, we always have choices. Our young need to understand this. When we are inundated with misinformation and fantasy, we can still choose reality. We have the right to say no to addictive substances and unhealthy situation. It is still possible to be an individual and to think and to question the popular trends and authority itself. It is still possible to “Make your own kind of music,” and to chase the clouds away and “Let the sunshine” in to our lives. So together let us start turning over old rotted logs and rocks and let light chase away the infections in our society. Let us glorify our real culture. Let us deal more with facts than just emotions in our decisions. Let us begin to think again…!