Is this the start of a new era?

They won’t give peace a chance, that’s just a dream some of us had.
~Joni Mitchell

I keep reading things that suggest that we’re on the cusp of some sort of cultural revolution. “Oh, yeah, everything’s gonna change!”

Nah.

American culture made it safely through the sixties, and I doubt any changes made during this so-called “Great Recession” will persist past the next economic boom. Maybe for myself and other counter-culture crazies, but not for Joe Schmo. No, Joe Schmo isn’t going to change, unless he has to.

And the less urban and less techno-savy Joe Schmo is, the less likely he is to even consider the type of counter-cultural revolution people keep talking about. Hell, I wouldn’t have started out on this path if it weren’t for my hobby of bumming around the internet when I get bored. The idea probably never would have occurred to me. And unless people actively run across counter-cultural lifestyles, they’ll never change. They’ll continue to believe that the way they live right now is the only paradigm available to them.

But even if we started a massive outreach campaign and actively tried to change American culture, there are those who won’t change. Many people are convinced that our future as a people and as individuals is directly tied to the stock market. (I say fuck that. The stock market is not the boss of me.)

Change is scary. Urban hippies who own less than 50 personal possessions and bicycle around town all day are scary. Living one’s entire life in apartments and <900 sq. ft. homes is scary. Simple living and minimalism are unAmerican, and it's everyone's god-given right to work nine-to-five until you're sixty-five. Or older.

And then there are some that are just not going to fucking change, period. Nevernevernever. No amount of arguing the point from the stance of environmentalism or simple sanity is going to convince them to give up the lifestyle they have.

Maybe I'm being pessimistic. But I look back, and I hear what went on in the sixties, and I see what's going on now, and I don't think anything's going to change. Unless somehow the original hippies get on board with this or shit really starts to go down, I foresee any changes to be merely individual. Granted, the internet changes things, but it doesn't change human nature. And I don't think this "Recession" is bad enough to really change us in more than superficial ways.

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2 Responses to “Is this the start of a new era?”

  1. I don’t know if you give the interwebbytubes enough credit here. At least in the privileged world, the fact that EVERYONE can be exposed to information INSTANTANEOUSLY makes for a HUGE difference. The number of people who are connected rises every day as more and more of our youth become not-so-youth and get their own personal electronic extension-of-the-metaphysical-self. The 60s -did- leave lasting change. There are no “Coloreds” beaches. I can get a good stiff in the boot and, generally, no one really gives a rodent’s rump. They might expect me to walk a little funny and talk like a superficial fairy, but that’s just thanks to media-perpetuated stereotypes.
    The same sort of cultural wave happening again but with communication near perfection as it is, the future should prove to be interesting.

  2. maloyo Says:

    The article linked painted a very hopeful and utopian picture—I just fear we are headed for something more like the movie “Idiocracy.”

    The internet and availability of inexpensive computers can give use the tools to stop the slide into dumb and dumber. But it sure seems a lot of people just use them to keep up with celebrity gossip, tend their MySpace and Facebook, and so on.
    maloyo

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