Everything I say, Adam Curtis has said it better.
I’m in Fullerton California and I’m sat in a coffee shop called The Night Owl. It’s like someone took counter-culture, mixed it with a hipster potion and served it in a vegan friendly coffee mug. On the walls are local artists work. Some of it depicts metaphysical transcendence or chakras or the third eye or something about the Iraq war or the banking bailouts. Other stuff just seems to be paint thrown aggressively at a white background. The place is full of thrift shop items that don’t match with oversized lamps and damaged wooden tables. They serve drinks like ‘London Fog Latte’ or ‘Blueberry Muffin Ice Tea’. And sipping these drinks are ten millennials all engrossed in their Macbooks (myself included) they are either blogging, writing a novel that can’t be described in one sentence, writing a university essay or reading a vice article.
There’s a young girl with an army shirt on and one of those little backpacks with a hamster on it. a young Asian guy with a rainbow computer mouse and a Macbook cover of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. Another girl is in the corner dressed in the bile of Boomtown Festival, playing her guitar and writing music. Next to her is a young girl with a Femme Fatal T-shirt on and Doc Martin boots writing down notes in a brown leather journal. All innocent enough, right? Nothing at all wrong with any of this, right? Well no, because hidden in plain sight in this Fullerton café, is the reason why the world is fucked. Everything wrong in society today can be blamed on this fucking organic coffee fucking shop and the people inside it.
None of these people are talking to each other. (Myself included) Not because they’re strangers but because they’re too busy working on themselves. Each person here is a unique snowflake and has something to say. They all probably have similar things to say but they all want to be the one to say it. So they throw their voice out on the internet. The internet was meant to change the world. it was meant to save us, but if there’s anything trump and Brexit have proven, it’s that the internet cannot save us. Whilst it can offer a alternative outlook or highlight hypocrisies that the media are unwilling to talk about, it cannot change things in the real world. Only real people can do that.
But everyone is so busy saying something with their art, with their new book, with their installation, with their new song, that nobody is out there just saying it. Everyone wants to be the leader and no one wants to follow, because after all, we are all so special none of us deserve to be space monkey’s. Only protesting, only feet on the ground and picket signs and consistent upheaval of society can change things. But whilst the blue collar workforce continue to live in delusion and whilst the educated working class continue to paint and sing, nothing is getting done.
As we feel helpless we cure such helpless with products. The more we try to run from the system the more we are a part of it. We buy backpacks with hamsters on it. We buy journals to write all our words down. We buy MacBooks. We buy art supplies. We buy guitars. We buy ‘London Fog Lattes’. And we sit and take pictures through Instagram. We sit and write about our thoughts on FaceBook and then we feel good about ourselves because we are different. We know the truth. We know what’s wrong with the world, and now the rest of the world just needs to go out and do something about it.
The irony is that millennials look back on the old age with arrogance. We mock the way people spent so much money on cars and dinning sets as they kept up with the Jones’. Yet our social media culture is the greatest example of how trapped we are, despite thinking we are free and individualistic. Facebook used to be a place to keep in touch with friends or find out what they were up to. Yet now my entire Facebook feed seems like nothing more than a vanity project. It seems to be divided between two sets of people; the ones who travel and the ones who don’t. Look at my fifty pictures of Cambodia with beautiful filters upload the travelers. The one’s that tarvel can’t help but let you know how great and free their life is. Look at my train journey across Thai Land. Look at this homeless man in India. Look at this woman who serves me a cup of tea in Sri Lanka. Oh, she was so sweet and I actually spoke to her like a real human being. Look at the weather. Look at the beaches. Let me just hashtag that picture. #livingthedream #travelling #wanderlust. Meanwhile, people who don’t travel upload pictures of the meal they just ordered, or the wedding they just went to, or the gig they just saw. This all just feels like one big desperate attempt to show each other that we are doing okay, that we should be envied, that we are really enjoying life. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are all a passive aggressive means of showing off to the point that not taking a photo and uploading a status dissolves the whole point of doing something. Life is no longer about enjoyment but more a case of portraying enjoyment.
And as we compete tooth and nail for attention, for each other’s envy, we forget that the world around is so corrupt, so unfair, that we are fighting like rats over piss whilst the cats drink the cream. We delude ourselves with products and calm ourselves with our art. And as long as this continues and no one is willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause, the unfairness and the corruption will only continue.
Now please excuse me whilst I sip my organic pumpkin cappuccino and finish my latest blog about what’s wrong with the world and share Red Labour’s new post about the austerity cuts Tories are making!