A Rant About Modern Culture

A Rant About Modern Culture

As a man in his mid-twenties, I admit that I’m not the smartest person to ever walk this earth. Far from it, in fact.  There’s plenty I don’t know, and plenty that I wish I did.  But, and I’m apologizing for my overuse of the following word, I know that I know what I know.  That sounds a little idiotic, but it’s true.  I’m intelligent enough to have the confidence in what I’ve learned over the years and to put my reputation (whether I have one or not at this point) on the line when I put my ideas out there.

What is the point of admitting that, you may ask?  Well, it’s simple. The following article is a rather opinion-based piece and I’m more than certain that it won’t earn me points amongst some readers out there. But within this write-up I choose to say what I mean and mean what I say.  At the end of the day, no one’s going to force you to read it or even like it.  Those choices are up to you.

One thing I pride myself on is my ability to tell the blunt and honest truth, something that a lot of people don’t always agree with.  Regardless of that, I’m not writing this piece so people will like me.  I’m writing it because I’m fed up with a few things that have started popping up out there and I have the urge to say something.  To everyone who uses Twitter, or Instagram, or Tumblr or comments on Youtube, or any of the other popular culture things that have overwhelmed our society in the past two decades: this is for you.

Some of you need to put down the smartphones and pay more attention in school.

Yup, I said it and I’m not taking it back.  I look at the people younger than me and I finally realize why no one takes you seriously when you’re a teenager.  Sure, every so often there’s a kid that comes along who can do something amazing and is recognized for their talents.  But for the most part, the younger generation is nothing but a bunch of boys who think they’re invincible and girls who believe they’re the best thing ever to happen to this planet.  They immerse themselves in what popular culture has thrown at them and believe this is the end all and be all of society, that there’s nothing further out there.  By doing this, they wall themselves off from the rest of the world, as well as history itself.  They have no idea how things were before technology exploded the way it has, and they have no interest in ever learning about it.  So here’s my question to all of them: what exactly do you do when the power goes out in your house and the battery on your phone dies?  My assumption: you whine and complain because you’ve barely ever gone without this luxury before.  Personally, it sounds pretty pathetic.

How many people out there remember when songs on the radio were actually about something?  These days it’s basically either about getting laid, being drunk and awesome, some popular culture rip-off, or a thug who thinks he’s immortal talking about how he’s immortal.

How many people remember when the word Hashtag didn’t exist?  Dear God in heaven I wish we could go back to that time.  Why did that even become a thing?  Is it really that hard to write, “I love cute cats,” instead of #cute cats?  Is that how lazy we’ve become that we can’t even put a few words on a page?  Not to mention the people that are actually saying it out loud now.  I wonder what their highest level of education is?

How many people remember when seeing someone you knew in person was actually a big deal?  Now you can just text them, send a Facebook message, follow them on Twitter, the list is pretty much endless.  Here’s another question: what are you going to do if any of that stuff goes away?  You’ve never lived your life any other way, do you really think you’ll handle the change well?

I know I sound like a bitter old cynic but what I’m talking about has merit.  There was a story a few years back about a pair of girls who got stuck in a sewer drain during a thunderstorm.  They couldn’t get out, and the drain was slowly filling up with water.  They were going to drown.  Luckily they had their cell phones on them.  “Well great,” you should be thinking.  “They can call the police and someone will come save them.”  And you’re right to think that because that’s the smart thing to do.  But apparently, these girls weren’t very smart.  They got on their phones, went on to Twitter and posted something along the lines of  “We’re trapped in a sewer drain right now.  Does anyone know what we should do?”

…Then they waited for a response.

I guess they had an angel or something looking out for them because a friend saw it and wrote back, “…umm, I’m going to call 9-1-1.” Bravo to whoever possessed the average IQ and knew what to do in an emergency situation.

Of course, that’s just one example of what I’m talking about.  So here’s another broader one to try and convince you even further.  I’m no scientist, frankly I never will be, but even I know that planet Earth is several billion years old at this point.  How many people went online to post something for the new year and saw someone with the words “Happy 2015th Birthday planet earth!” written on their walls/timeline/whatever you want to call it?

Need I say more?

Continuing down this path of having everything at our disposal all the time any second we want it isn’t going to do us any favours.  There are teenagers in school right now who don’t know how to write with a pen because they spend all their time typing.  Students don’t need to know how to spell anymore because auto-correct does it for them.  The days of learning how to say words like paper, pencil, and eraser in Kindergarten are long gone and have been replaced with computer, laptop, and printer.  Admittedly, the times are changing and it’s good to know some of the new things coming about, but again, what happens when you’re deprived of those things and you have no idea what to do?  Well you’re screwed, that’s what happens.

I don’t write this article to try and slam everyone out there who’s connected via social media.  I write it to try and do my little part of getting people to realize exactly what this country and this world is turning into.  Sure, as long as technology keeps advancing everything should be just fine.  But what happens on that fateful day when technology breaks down?  What happens when one of those conspiracy nuts is proven right and everything gets wiped?  How will people be able to function when they’ve never been able to stop moving their thumbs to post a tweet?

Basically, my ultimate question in writing this is where exactly is this all headed?  And what’ll happen once we get there?

What do you think Ottawa?  From your point of view does the future look bright and sunny, or are rain clouds starting to form?


A young writer, novelist, and playwright from Ottawa, Dave Coleman covers topics like books & literature, theatre, and the arts.

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