Prompt 092: The Next "Me Generation"
92. At the time, the 1970s was referred to as the Me Generation. Do you think people are more self-absorbed now then they were back then and why might that be the case?
Great Caesar's Ghost, are they ever.
It's largely the user-friendliness of the Internet, the Eternal September, that brought this about. Thanks, AOL! Now, everyone is an authority, everyone can own their own business, everyone judges worth and value via Likes, everyone can Have It All. "The more money an idea generates, the better an idea it is." Worst of all, everyone can have their own truth. The average person has now become so entitled that their feelings on any matter are completely valid and accepted as a fact of the matter. Nothing is left as taboo or inappropriate, and the flipside is that nothing is left untouched by Rule 34 ("If it exists, there's porn of it.").
Everyone thinks their online diary deserves to be read. ;)
Somehow, between the '70s and now, it became okay to hold up one's opinion - bolstered by Likes and cancel culture - as reality and fact, on par with that supported by scientific rigor. What has that brought humanity? What has that brought the planet? How does the phrase, "We have no other choice," when blurted out by the current President, benefit society as a whole? Why does Bill Nye the Science Guy have to make catchy videos - less than two minutes long, in the same format as his KID'S SHOW - to convince grown-ass men and women to wear masks during a pandemic?
During my freshman year of high school, we didn't "get it" when our AP English teacher kicked off the school year with lessons on logical argument, debate, and critical thinking. It seemed more like a math class... Things like: "A = B; B = C; therefore, A = C." We didn't understand what any of this had to do with English class at all. In that first month of high school, we just shook our heads at it. However, I can't help but remember a phrase he said at least a few times to us that first semester: "People's minds have become so open, that they have become closed in on themselves."
As a kid, I had the image of a distended, recursive Pac-Man eating itself, by opening its mouth so wide that it swallowed its own lips backwards, like a tent being blown inside-out by a gust of wind. Or something like those cartoon images of people bending so far forward that their heads were stuffed up their own asses.
Now, as a much older, much grumpier person, I think I understand.
In a previous entry, I labeled this epoch of history as The Age of the Demagogue. If the turn of the 21st Century didn't kick the Me Generation from their myopic, self-absorbed, hyper-narcissistic throne, then that throne was never there.