Young adults, born in the late 80s and early 90s, are engraving their cultural notions on pop culture, just like every generation since the birth of pop culture has left their mark. However, unlike any generation before, there is a pronounced an alarming lack of vanguardism and iconoclasm in modern pop culture. Why is this alarming? you ask, well, for starters I think that it is a symptom of conformism, and given the current state of affairs of the world today, that is really something that needs to be addressed, we are being bombarded with sterile, gentrified, childish, ignorant ideas from all fronts.
Even in a day and age with the internet as a household service, the diversity of ideas seems to be a dead scene, and ignorance goes rampantly through every social strata today, even when information is one click away; of course, it doesn't matter how much you read, intelligence only thrives in open-minds (which doesn't mean "accept any idea", but it means explore diverse ideas with critical and objective eyes to get the best result possible), it's not found in any book or movie, it is something you apply to the world, not the other way around.
Where does Barney the Dinosaur fit in the scheme of all this, you ask? Well, this kids had the misfortune of being indoctrinated (seriously) with the shallow education from children programing from Barney to Disney. The influence dominates the mainstream; the nursery rhymes in the phrasing of songs, made-up nostalgia, the mediocre beats and MIDIs, the abuse of editing programs, the color schemes, the messages, the lexicon, movies and TV seem to be hour-long photographs or FX catalogues instead of being used to tell stories. Even the small medium of comics has had a boom in lousy storytelling and fans protesting the craft (seriously, how do you protest about a subjective subject-matter)...
In this self-celebrated "pink" points of view (devoid of any type of antagonism), virtues aren't learned or earned, but taken for granted. This hippie nightmare has mindfucked the kids really hard, and now they think any paradigm can be resolved with simple gestures like, wearing glasses to be smart, or, that any stupid idea deserves respect just because it exists... merits and content don't seem to matter anymore. This, at least the way I understand things, is a serious problem, how the hell do we expect them to distinguish facts from fiction?
- The 30s had horror features, Superman, and hardboiled & pulp fictions.
- The 40s had the Beat generation, post-war literature, Swing, and a golden period for cinema.
- The 50s had rogue comic book artists, Elvis and the Rock N' Roll pioneers, Johny Cash, Rod Serling, and Pop Art.
- The 60s had psychedelic rock, the Marvel Age of comics, John Lennon, Jim Morrisson, independent arthouse/B movies, and Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV.
- The 70s had Kiss, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, feminism in politics, video games, Star Wars, Bruce Lee, Punk Rock, and Splatter features.
- The 80s had American Hardcore & alternative independent music, extreme Metal, High Concept cinema, Pop royalty, Hip Hop, and grim & gritty comics.
- The 90s had an alternative mainstream, the rise of Black Metal, sitcoms, Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Manson, alternative comics and cartooning, neo-Noir films, Grunge, SoCal Punk, Industrial & cyberpunk culture, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The XXI century has had auto-tune, shallowly ripping-off and re-frying stuff from other decades, a rise in fundamentalism, making classic monsters gay, painfully slow movies, the glorification of people that literally do nothing, the loss of privacy and some other basic rights, mass manipulation of media, and so forth. And it's not that there was nothing wrong in the previous century but, back then there were this figures who thought different, leaders that would stand against rampant mediocrity and stamp a message of diversity in their work. The closest to that from this century is Lady Gaga, whose entire revolution is imitating Madonna and dressing funny while pretending that's art, that is all that culture today can provide us with.
What do we have to look forward to? Paranoia about 2012 being the end of the world due to misinformed fucks (the Mayans made no such predictions)? Ignoring the dangers of religion and accepting the consequences under a hypocrite "liberal without a cause" banner? A pronounced vegetative state in the arts? Turning into planet Wuss? Seriously, what's up with the acceptance of this authoritarian corporatocracy as a parental figure, and the complete lack of interest in anything that doesn't have bright colors? What's with this Kindergarden state of mind where most choose to remain ignorant of the world around them as long as they are pampered by conformist patronizing media?
"When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts" -George Carlin-