I remember reading The Forever War a while back, and the main point I took from that story is a person’s ability to adapt to a changing society. It’s a sci-fi story where a soldier is under the effects of time dilation (e.g. he gets 1 week, earth gets 10 years) and when he comes back for shore leave, he barely recognizes the place.
Today’s pace of societal change is just absurd. Go ahead and watch the Hangover (2009). There are bunch of jokes in that movie that simply could not make it to the screen today. Actions from 20 years ago are brought up and judged against today’s standards. Those are pure time capsules, and to try and shoehorn today’s values on that time piece makes no sense. As I’m sure in 50 years that society will look back on what we do today and think Holy Shit.
But that’s not to say that people are not trying to catch the wave of change, trying to make a buck. There’s a reason they call it a wave, because if you’re not at the crest, then you’re done. And it’s damn hard to stay at the crest, especially when that crest changes every other week. The shock-jock stuff from the Logans seemed a somewhat natural evolution from the Jackass culture. But as time has moved forward, it’s become less and less accepted, regardless of how much energy they put into it. They need to change.
Then there’s the people who fight tooth and nail against the wave. There are a million reasons why. We all have relatives who seem like they live 50 years in the past and have no inclination to move forward. Some for interesting reasons, others simply due to exhaustion of seeing all the non-stop change.
I remember being a kid in school. There was a bunch of stuff I liked that my parents just didn’t understand. At least is was physical (POG?) and tangible. And the rate of change was moderate enough since it typically cost money to participate in a trend. Kids today? Trends are set on a daily basis, and almost entirely free to participate. There were no ice bucket challenges when I was a kid, it simply wasn’t possible to have something that viral exist. If I was to look at the top 15 Twitch Streamers (subjective, fine) I only recognize 5 of them. Dr Disrespect is one who technically should be in jail right now (at least, he would be if it was in Canada.) And that 6 month old list is now out of date.
One of the old school memes (2012 is apparently old school) – Overly Attached Girlfriend (OAG) – recently announced that she’s leaving the scene. Technically she hasn’t been active in 2 years, but wanted a farewell. It’s a poignant video, primarily due to the openness of the mental health issues that being a content creator imposes. 99% of those issues are created due to the internet culture. I can only imagine how that impacts others who feel obligated to create non-stop. They get so involved in the lifestyle that they have no backup plan – just stream/create until they can’t.
I’ve been blogging for over 15 years now. In that time, I’ve found side projects that paid a decent amount of money, and there were points where I considered doing it full time. The problem then (more-so now) was that full time was many more hours than I’d work in normally. I made a choice then, as I do now, to only do what I want to do and do it within timeframes I’m comfortable with. Giving me a million dollars and making me work 200 hours a week… I’m good, thanks. As a teenager, I don’t think I would have had that same perspective.
What a long winded post to get the the point where I simply shake my head looking at how society self-reflects today. Wild swings of popularity, and the anonymity of the masses. There are no mirrors anymore, just cameras. Exhausting.