November 23, 2017

Man in the Mirror

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It is a common thing to quickly castigate someone on their way of ‘hustle’. As a society, we find it easy to provide guidelines on how others should live. Usually the phrases used are ‘morality’ and ‘culture’. Whenever a new, (and I use this word loosely for nothing is new, it’s just a matter of exposure) expression of personality or lifestyle is given much publicity we are quick to pull out all our moral and cultural cliché responses and condemn the presumed ‘offender’ and antagonist of the social order.

Take for example the issue with socialites, musicians, models, tattoo artists and whatever individuals in such professions undertake to earn their daily bread. A medium to raunchy music video clip, a socialite’s nude and semi-nude pictures are some of the instances when the whole nation seems to coalesce around its two catch words, ‘culture’ and ‘morality’ and from social media to talk shows, bars and any other platform we can find we bash them and only stop when we have another victim. Our actions are pretentious in a number of ways. First, the fact that such action makes top new in our social circles basically defines what we as a society consume.

Secondly, the latest of the Kardashian’s, Mylie Cyrus or Nicki Minaj’s actions will usually receive a lot of positive attention, a few shrugs and we move on. These are globally acclaimed stars who set standards in their industry so why all the chastening we hand local professionals?

The trouble starts with us; someone is thrust into the limelight and begins earning a living. The same crowd that claimed to pray for your success thins quickly. We wonder how the lass or lad next door could just make it without having gone through the set ‘standard journey of success.’ It is as if society cannot wait to for the fairy tale to come to an end. So they sing along to the songs, and share the jokes and photos but keep waiting for the stars to fall. Sometimes they lend a helping hand! Why, because they need another cautionary tale for their children. The ones with ‘morals’ and ‘culture’.

The second fault is our apparent definition of our stars. We so want them to reflect and consistently be what we envision them to be. This is regardless of the fact that we do not know how they intend to pursue their career or pressures they undergo and even who they really are. I’m sorry to admit this but most audiences are ignorant. Most people listening to music have no idea what the message in the lyrics is but they will claim it’s their favorite jam. Most television audiences have no idea that the things they watch are designed to mold them into a specific thought pattern or prey on prevailing fears or aimed at persuading them to buy into a given lifestyle. But they religiously watch tele-novelas and crime dramas. This largely ignorant audience, with no clue what work goes into creating ‘art’ (term used lightly) will demand you conform to their expectations or you ship out of their ‘moral’ lives.

The other thing is just the state of denial we live in as a society. We refuse to accept the change for good and bad that is happening in our society and if a few souls dare showcase it we pummel them back out of existence. How dare they reflect that side of us? Are we not ‘moral’ and ‘cultured’?

Personal preferences and personal opinions are just that, they should not be what is used to castigate people going about their chosen occupation and life. We cannot stop a trend or change a personality and hiding behind the guise of culture and morality is just not sufficient.

Normal is not a synonym for moral and the nature of culture is dynamic and very much so given modern modes for cultural diffusion. If we truly believe we are on the side of truth then to paraphrase the words of Thomas Jefferson, truth cannot win when shielded from falsehood. Only when it comes against falsehood can people truly make a choice. We should be thankful to the few brave souls who break out of the norm and give us a glimpse into a different perception of life. We should learn to live and let live.

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