If you’ve been around on the internet for long enough, you would be familiar with first world anarchists: people who rebel against the governing authorities, well, because they can.
I think that we have become punch-clock rebels, us denizens of the 21st century. You’ve seen the punch-clock villains before. Recall an old cartoon (but not that old – I’m only 23, for goodness’ sake) that centered around a sneaky fox whose sole mission was to steal sheep away from an old farm, and a trusty guard dog whose mission is to stop the fox. At 8A.M., they show up together at the farm, punch in, and commence their duties. Then at 5P.M., they stop whatever they’re doing, punch out, and probably grab a beer or something.
Earlier today, I was driving to get lunch, and I found myself parked behind a sedan which sported a bright green sticker against its rear window: STOP LYNAS, the text read.
(you can google up the details if you’re interested – I’m far too sleepy to condense backstory)
Just a couple a years ago, the campaign against Lynas was all the jazz. All over facebook, profile pictures were being changed to support the movement. People started selling bright green t-shirts with some variation of STOP LYNAS printed on it in either red or black text. I know a friend who traveled out to the site to join in the protests.
“Whatever happened to Lynas?” I asked out loud, in my car. “Did they go on with it? Or did they manage to stop it?”
My lunch buddies just shrugged and moved onto the next topic.
We’re not rebels. Most of us aren’t, anyway. I’ve come to terms with this some time ago, and it’ll be a long trip before anyone convinces me to be a part of another movement or protest. Many of our fellow 21st century protestors, I daresay, are really nothing more than wannabe rebels. Like the wannabe writers, they want the thrill and the rewards, but none of the pain and hard work.
I don’t discount the people who are actually out there effecting a change: there are heroes in this world, and we must do what we want to support them. But I think that a good chunk of this generation are deluding themselves into thinking that they are bettering society by passing on a forwarded message, sharing a photo on facebook, changing their photos, or indulging in merchandises.
We are loud, proud, and distracted. We are, with the advent of social media, the loudest generation there ever lived yet – able to broadcast our thoughts across the globe. We are also the generation born into relative luxury (but I only speak for those born into the developed/developing parts of the world), with a sense of entitlement tatooed on our minds. We are, with the multitudes of stimuli the world has to offer us in entertainment and shiny new gadgets and colorful pictures, probably the most distracted group of people who have ever walked the face of the earth.
Before we’re done being angry and protesting about one thing, we’ve gotten distracted by the next big thing to be angry and protesting about. It’s like me an my writing projects: I’m all excited and motivated to write on thing, but before it’s done, I get distracted by the next shiny project that I’d like to work on.
(speaking of which, A Song For The Rain sits in stasis at 30,000 words, untouched for 10 days and counting…)
We feel like we’re doing something important. We are. We feel like we’re accomplishing something important. We’re not.
Not until we learn how to see things to their bitter end.