A Little bit of Nostalgia (or why I wish I could have gone to Woodstock)
At the moment one of my courses for University is the history of Pop Culture. It’s an interesting look at the cultural trends of the last half of the 20th Century, from the 50s Beatnicks to the 80s punk rockers. One of the things that has become obvious throughout the course is how each generation had something to fight for. In the 60s it was student protests against the war in Vietnam. In the 70s it was the Sexual Revolution and the fight for equal rights between women and men, gays and straights, interracial lovers, etc. In the 80s it was the voice of the working class that fueled angry punk songs, making their discontent heard.
What has be baffled is this: what are we fighting for now? There is so much wrong with the world these days. Oppressive governments, the culture of violence and rape, racial profiling, unequal distribution of wealth, global warming… etc. But how are we making our mark against it?
Gen Y and Gen Z have more access to media and immediate public outcry, more so than any generation before them- but instead of stage our own revolution, we turn massacres into memes, issues into petty online arguments and instead of getting out there and yelling, we stay indoors and share pictures of cats doing funny things. We have a platform to change the world on- and it’s definitely in our hands, but what are we really doing with it?
Take the 2012 Kony debacle as an example. No, I’m not against awareness campaigns. I mean, yeah, the Kony video that went viral did alert a lot of ignorant people to the fact that there is a country called Uganda, and that some 30 years ago he used child soldiers. But apart from millions of people sharing the video online, what actually happened? I cannot stress this enough: awareness is where it should start, NOT where it ends. I’m fed up with people giving themselves a pat on the back for sharing a photo of a starving cat in the name of “animal rights” or for writing a status about the trouble with child abuse and then… well, that’s it. nothing else. I don’t need to see gruesome images in my news feed to know what is going on. I don’t need anymore hearsay or “Like this if you care”.
Instead of reblogging a post, why not get off your lazy ass and feed those cats? fund an event online that supports shelters. Start a petition that raises the legal punishment for abuse. Stage a rally against oppressors. We have the media platform to make any one of those a huge success. But we retire after hitting “share” because we feel like we’ve done our part. We haven’t. everybody is making everyone aware. But being aware of something doesn’t stop it.
We have the very real ability to make a big change in the world. It’s high time we got off of our asses and did.