A fun activity can be a source of happiness for some and gloom for the others. Bursting crackers at Diwali can be an example. In this world obsessed with individual freedom, one seems a spoil sport to talk about respecting the freedom of people around. It seems so old-fashioned.
In my last post I talked about a trend : Being shocking is so much fun. (To read it please click at the following link.) https://theopiniator.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/being-shocking-is-so-much-fun/
In this post I will try to examine this trend in detail.
I believe that in our social evolution we have come to pay more and more emphasis on some behavioural attributes showcased in myths and stories through ages. Let me make it clear that I am not opposed to the significance of these attributes. I am just suggesting that they are desirable only in some appropriate context and background and should not be generalised.
But in last few decades, these attributes have been not only misunderstood but also so much highlighted that they have enslaved the society. Their over the top depiction in movies, songs, advertisements has enforced this enslavement. What are these attributes? Here is a self censored list of three broad attributes.
Today it’s very difficult to imagine anyone belonging to any economic strata to accept anything said by anyone in a raised tone. In fact it’s quite easy to imagine people except those in highly formal corporate or bureaucratic setups, to respond to any criticism in a brash tone. And most of these people explain this behaviour in the name of freedom and bravery. Politeness is not only being increasingly considered as highly undesirable but is also often mistaken for timidity. Using abusive language and drinking have become essential tools to express boldness. Comedy has become synonymous with brazenly insulting people. Politics, sports, entertainment, workplaces, schools, roads are all full of “bold” and “audacious” people.
Once upon a time there used to be an angry young man or a Rambo on the silver screen. Today the world is flooded with Rambos. There are so many guns in so many hands with so many causes. The gun culture in the US is a prime example.
2. Romantic love
Today, everyone, at every moment deserves a love story. Romantic love has been so much highlighted and marketed that a life without romantic love is considered to be a “burden”. Rejection in love is considered to be the biggest “disgrace” to one’s existence. So much so that people can go the extent of hacking someone who inflicted rejection. Opposition to love is considered to be the worst form of “tyranny”. And it “should” be confronted with appropriate “audacity”. From the other perspective, romantic love is the worst form of crime. And it “should” be punished with appropriate “audacity”.
3. Classy Life style
Movies and advertisements have propagated such an idea of affluent and elite life style that many people would go to any extent to seem classy. Simplicity has started symbolizing deprivation, blandness and lifelessness. Life seems to have become a race to fit into stereotypical images of affluence. Consumerism has become the order of the day. It doesn’t matter whether you are rich, what matters is you should look rich. Schoolbags, water bottles, lunch boxes and the lunch within, everything must be classy. Mobile phones have become identities. Never mind if they are loaded with processing power and features which are rarely or never used.
I feel awful when I see someone feeling proud at drinking a can of some carbonised drink or opening a packet of chips. This is not freedom. This is outright slavery to the corporate, their army of advertisers and the media. I feel like humanity is acting like a trained tiger at the circus being controlled by the corporate as the trainer.
And with these traits being followed to the point of being worshiped, the world seems a different place as compared to even a few decades back. It has become a place for a person who is BOLD, ROMANTIC and RICH! If you are not one, at least show that you are one. Or be prepared to “feel” insulted or ridiculed …at school, at workplace, at a mall, at a multiplex and so on.
What does a child do whose parents are busy looking bold, romantic and rich? What does a child do whose parents primarily want him/her to enhance their image?
Probably he will grow up observing and will try his own ways to seem BOLD, ROMANTIC and RICH. Isn’t it possible that immature minds trying to flaunt these attributes end up behaving in a shocking way? I think it is.
I strongly believe that increased instances of “shocking’ behaviour” are less of a problem and more of symptomatic manifestation of a dysfunctional society being driven by attributes that have been grotesquely distorted out of context.
The onus of such instances has to be shared by inefficient (clueless at times) parenting, decadent social values, and numerous individuals like me who choose to look the other way and keep quiet.
The biggest beneficiaries of all this are:
1. Profit hungry corporate,
2. Viewer hungry media and
3. Power hungry politicians
I might sound conservative, but I believe that at least in India, even today there is enough space for simplicity, living and enjoying life within the means, smiling back at an abusive person on road, enjoying a glass of “lassi’ more than a can of carbonised drink, shopping in a narrow lane of old city market full of different t sorts of human beings instead of shopping at a mall full of pantomimes.
Thanks for your time. I know there may be readers who have a different outlook. Whether you agree or disagree to these views, your feedback is extremely valuable.