In my previous article, I introduced the idea that Millennials (those born between 1982-2000) are currently experiencing a lack of confidence in themselves. Whether it is due to the economy, familial pressure, or something else, is going to be addressed as I continue my article series. So here we go with:
Generational Anxiety pt 2:
Best Case, We the Front Page
As I mentioned before, there is a particular album that has inspired this blog series. I am not going to go too far into details about the artist and the album just yet, saving that for another time. Instead, I want to mention the second song on the album.
Lovely album cover
Under the rap moniker of Childish Gambino, comedian, actor, and script writer Donald Glover released an album in December 2013 titled, Because The Internet, along with a screenplay that the album complements. The second song of the album is called WORLDSTAR.
I will come back to the concept behind that song later, first I want to start with Social Media and the [arguable] affects it has on my generation and, very likely, those in the next.
People seem to value attention above everything else. There are the usual pictures/videos of babies, weddings, traveling/vacation spots (guilty), questionably humorous subjects (guilty, again), and those of the, shall we say, provocative nature (no comment). But then there are the controversial posts and tweets – the ones that are about touchy subjects such as politics and religion – that are made clearly to ruffle a few feathers.
Why do we feel compelled to share so much? What do we gain from it?
Yes, it’s a very convenient way for our friends to stay updated on our lives. Yes it’s a good way to state your opinions on elections as well as [ideally] read those of your peers, but what happens when so much has been said and posted and then you are physically with your friends? Do you talk about the same things you might have just discussed online?
Again, what is there to gain? A high number of “likes” or comments?
Before I get into the possible “rewards”, I have a question; how many people reading this have partaken in the activity commonly known as “Facebook stalking”?
When you hang out with whomever you stalked, do you pretend like you didn’t? Do you act like the story your friend is telling you was not already deduced from the pictures/videos you saw posted?
There are some websites that provide an opportunity for people to have their coveted 15 minutes of fame. Sites that require you to upload videos to showcase your talent in singing, critiquing movies, dancing, humor, etc., have become very popular since the mid-2000s. For some, it has led to bigger and better things, you might recognize a few; they have appeared on a morning or night show talking about themselves via live interview with the host(s). They are on some reality TV show and have earned themselves a spinoff for doing….practically nothing.
How does one not get turned on by this sort of notoriety?
Because of this, countless individuals may embrace the “me next” frame of mind and will do/post anything for just one inkling of a chance.
If you ever see two individuals get into a physical confrontation, look around. How many people are watching this very scene? How many people are watching with their phone in hand recording it?
I was told a story recently, one individual’s sister went to LA, California for the first time and saw a naked Asian woman suffering from a gunshot wound in the shoulder while on the roof of a building. Naturally, this scene would draw spectators as help is on the way, but, this individual paid more attention to, not the number of observers, but to the number of phones that are out at this time to record this unusual situation (to be fair, it’s LA, it could very well be a movie scene).
What has desensitized us so much, and turned our first instincts into recording rather than helping? Not only that, but how many videos are uploaded daily on numerous websites showing scenes of two (or far more than two. Careful, it might be too disturbing) people fighting each other? What compels us to post them in the first place?
It seems like page views and likes are driving factors behind our new found instincts. Which leads us back to the song, WORLDSTAR, addressing what is seen on the infamous website: fights, fights, and more fights. It has become such a social norm in some circles for people to not only scream out “WORLDSTAR!” when a fight, or an equally noticeable event, breaks out, but also to grab your phone and film it. Gambino plays on that norm here:
yea, mutha***** take your phone out..to record this/I’m more or less a moral less individual/makin’ movies wit’ criminals/ tryna get them residuals/when it all goes crazy/and I hear that action, ima be Scorsese
My favorite part is how he ends the song, Gambino suddenly stops the song in the middle of bragging about his material possessions to answer a phone call. His friend tells him he has to check out a hilarious video about a guy getting hit in the head and is freaking out about it, driving home the jaded outlook we all seem to have formed regarding such videos.
Following this conversation is a nice jazzy tune with Gambino saying “we don’t want to be a …, but all I want to be is a…” and people chanting “WORLDSTAR” in the background.
In part 3, I will continue with how we interact with each other nowadays and how our thirst for knowledge has become unquenchable.
How do you feel about fight videos? What about the so-called YouTube stars? Have you ever wanted to be a worldstar? Let me know your thoughts as I get ready to start part 3!