Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Aspriations, squared

Vocational aspirations keep popping up, so let's keep chatting about it.

In the book The Narcissism Epidemic (93), the authors talk about how American cultural trends are pushing people towards more and more narcissistic behavior. If you are on the fence about this, just watch the first month of American Idol and watch thousands of people line up to get a shot at fame, 99.9% of which have little signing talent and will be given the boot. Or take a look at MySpace, or the people competing to have the most friends on FaceBook. Or go to the malls and shopping centers, asking people how much they spend on clothing a year. On cosmetics and surgeries. Or read the book on many more ways that we Americans try to say: "Look at me!"

In 2006, 51% of 18- to 25-year-olds said that "becoming famous" was an important goal of their generation - nearly five times as many as named "becoming more spiritual" as an important goal. The most popular answer was "being a celebrity." "Good looks" and "being rich" rounded out the top three, making for a perfectly narcissistic triumvirate.
Who is to blame?

The easy answer is the media, but I'm not buying (or trying not to buy it, literally). Media is just my fantasies played out because the media just feeds what we want. We have to take some kind of responsibility for our choices. I can't complain about the dire effects of fast food to my spouse while in the drive-thru at McDonald's. I can't complain about TV advertising with the TV on.

Another easy answer would be the government. While I think the government is pretty incompetent in many areas, if we don't like what is happening then all we have to do is elect someone else. It is up to us. Change 10 seats in the house and it would be a big swing in either direction and a statement. If we aren't happy about the current state of affairs, it's like looking at your reflection and saying, "You're not very good looking."

Well, my first answer has to be us parents. Not because we aren't telling the next generation any different, but because we aren't showing them any different. We aren't going against the growing trends, we aren't making the hard choices, we aren't living by different standards. There are many wonderful things happening in today's world, maybe we just need some more discriminating voices and actions to lead a grassroots movement.

Digg this

No comments: