What is the Question of the Day:
When you’re blocked, my college professor suggested looking at a question and answering it as a warmup exercise. Since I have come out and revealed my secret identity as The Answer-Man, even stranger questions have begun to appear on my desk. Question(s) of the Day are those damn questions that makes me just shake my head and start writing something to burn them out of my mind.
Today’s Question comes to me from a Writers Group on Quora where we talk about our writing experiences on Quora.com. After I read the question, I did the requisite research and my mouth hung open. My answer is what rolled out and just couldn’t be stopped until I was done.
Question of the Day
“I’m curious if other Top Writers have noticed/ have thoughts on the “youth + pro-narcissism” culture that’s growing on Quora? Probably everyone has noticed one ultra popular user like this, but I’ve seen a half dozen more in the last week.
I find this confusing. Popular young people and popular answers saying “I’m a narcissist with a 150 IQ.” “I’m super egotistical, I’m the best person ever.”
Is this a limited, little, loud subculture, or generational trend? Can someone explain this to a 40 year old? I’m so confused.”
I suspect it is the stink of insecurity which has infected the narcissistic necrotic flesh of the dying thing that is American culture. Once a marvel of the world, our once-amazing creativity’s fading, our talent-less imported singers, our highly-mechanized, sampled and auto-tuned entertainment failing to stimulate a world like it once did. Everything we once led the world in is now being done better somewhere else.
America is the hot girl that peaked early and only got uglier after she turned thirty. Like America, our youth are starting to feel a little desperate for attention. It’s what they were bred to.
Over-catered, over-followed, over-protected, nanny-cammed, and constantly iPhoto-ed, the one thing this generation was aware of was: someone was watching me. Graduating with helicopter parents, and Big Brother keeping an eye on their debts, perhaps our youth are feeling the quiet desperation of there being no future ahead.
Those protestations are their attempts to jumpstart the dying flames that are their failing ego-clouds going down under a never-ending bombardment of crappy media, promoting a self-indulgent existence of the rich, famous, talent-less, and the just plain mediocre who through some freak accident (or well-place sex tape) garner fame where their candle should have guttered it’s last decades ago.
Where young people have to be attending Harvard by 12, have a movie deal by 14, an entrepreneur running their own venture capital firm by 20 and a media-related award by 24, preferably an Emmy or a Grammy, if you’re wired that way, or you are considered by the failed society of greedy bastards before yours to be a bloated sack of wanton laziness whose destined for a life of empty, mindless tedium working at the Stop and Shop (or its local equivalent) near you.
Where they will contend you will spend the rest of your life producing babies, getting welfare and drinking box wine until your reprobate children, who you bailed out when you turn sixty put you in a box the week after when a failed hit on them, gets you killed. And you voted Republican your entire life and wondered why nothing good ever happened for you.
Their fear is the media-drenched terror of being unsuccessful, producing nothing, not being recognized for just existing; reinforced with the constant requirement for self-aggrandizement through social media echo chambers, whiny life-hack articles which promise to teach you the Special Seven Success Secrets of Sub-Saharan Subterranean Supermen through metaphorical alliteration.
Meanwhile, using an ever-increasing panoply of technologies, they are recording every moment of their existence, reinforcing fading psychological self-image through the constant photographic psychic bombardment of glamour shots, duck lips and Instagram filters of anything which can look like it gives their soul-less grey and empty existence a semblance of significance to make them think they can stand above the self-imposed cultural mediocrity so common to America today.
Your mileage may vary…
Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. You can follow him on Twitter or support his writings on Patreon.