It is in these moments I find myself. Hot cocoa in my stomach, Colbert on the TV, good book on the shelf, deep thoughts in my head and hope in my heart. It’s times like these everything is at ease and I see clearly. I cut through all the bullshit and see what’s right, all these moments seem to come together as a continuous time frame of perfection and I am only sad to know it will go away but happy to know it’ll be back. To anybody who reads this blog, keep your head up, hopes high and mind clear.
Stephen Colbert” —
It’s taken me 17 years to figure out the key to organization is simply having less shit to organize.
It is a commonly noted trend in all aspects of society and culture, from music, to fashion to philosophy, that paradigms usually shift in almost the complete opposite direction that the previous paradigm was headed. For me this is almost entirely true or partly true depending on how you quantify it.
It feels awkward to label myself a reactionary, it’s a dirty, horrible word in the denotative sense, but to be entirely academic with the word’s application, I can be correctly classified as such. Laymen’s terms; It’s true I am a reactionary even though it sounds bad.
But what, you may ask, are you reacting against? Well that’s sort of the point of this essay. Now I’m under no illusion that I have millions of followers, or that this may matter to any of you on any deep sort of level, but then again I didn’t start this blog for you, I started it for myself. Go ahead and check out the picture of the naked chick with the wolf or perhaps that shot of those Pueblo ruins I visited last year, otherwise I’d like to thank you in advance for reading.
Back to the point, I am a reactionary, but I react almost exclusively in a positive way to things. This is why the denotative meaning of “reactionary doesn’t apply to me, because the traditional view of a reactionary is a confused and angry, conservative man yelling loudly at the decline of civilization and his dissatisfaction with the way the world is headed. I couldn’t be happier about the way the future looks.
I really have no valid proof for it either. The world hasn’t changed much in the last 17 years I’ve been alive. Sure the internet has changed the way the world works and a whole host of other events have happened (New Millenium, 9-11, Obama) people use these examples as arguments usually for how Western Civilization is declining. It’s really not the way the world has been going, it’s how I look at it compared to someone my age 10-15 years ago.
From about 1993 to about 2007 it was the ultimate in fashion to be a pessimist. If you’re particularly insightful you’ll notice those are about the same dates as the heyday of the band “Tool”, they play a significant role in this story as well, because they are the ultimate symbol of contempt for society and chic pessimism one can find.
Starting off as all modern cultural movements do, the pessimistic view of life was a subculture cultivated by those disgusted by the vapidity of pop culture at (admittedly) one of the lowest time for cultural sophistication in American history. Tool and all other bands similar found a voice in those whom hated the perkiness and chipperness of a fake society. Pessimism was a reaction to it, that dark, visceral distaste and intellectual morose attitude towards life. It was, the perfect contrast to American life at the time: Dark and “real” while everything else had a facade of calm with a plastic shine to it. It was in every sense of the word, a perfect reaction. However, it feel to the same fate that has destroyed many a musical/philosophical youth movement: It became mainstream.
The dressing like a slob, hating establishments, bitching about everything, having the worst view on society and it’s future, it was everywhere and has become the norm. It is now at the point where for the teenagers who lived at the “tool zenith”, have become adults and are spreading the same philosophical message now as they were at 17. Now comes into play our generation.
We’re right after this. We were born into a time where we romanticize the happiness and wonder of our childhood with it’s pokemon wonder and Rugrats joy. But, more importantly, we remember to our older brothers/sisters/cousins band shirts and “couldn’t give a fuck, fuck this shit” attitude and we’re forced with a choice, accept the or reject it. ‘
I have chosen to wholeheartedly reject it.
I love the world and where it’s going. I have only hope for things to come. I love my swag, I love my shoes, I love my clothes and I love looking good. I love Helvetica and hate trashy women and anyone with tons of tattoos. I like giving a shit about important things like architecture and indie films and hate thinking of meaningless, divisive things like philosophy. Most importantly, I hate dark, depressing music, I want something that speaks to the calm optimist in me and something that is hopefully lo-fi and insightful. And, given the choice between Owl City and Tool, I’d take Owl City any day.
Among humans it is the females. Why? - Verner Panton” —
Culture, as of the postmodern age has become a euphemism fro two different things; the general attitude and customs of your workplace/school/community center or the thin superficial facade of society. In both cases the attitudes and definition of “culture” is wrong. According to Merriam-Webster online, culture is defined as - “ the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence” Even more importantly culture is also defined as - “ the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations”.
With the progression of Western Philosophical thought into Existentialism and Nihilism, culture has become a mockery, the red herring of the pettiness and fantasy of humans and their subjectivity to the world around them. Culture is seen as essentially a vague mask humans don to hide themselves from the truth or a way they divide themselves. These ideals have been espoused internationally, but not so much as the United Sates. Many within the U.S. themselves like to think of us as living “without a culture”, without the hallowed and ancient traditions of lands like Europe and Asia, we are seen as materialistic drifters, taking what is cool but not having a connection to things but also as an example that people do not require a culture to exist. Again in both cases they are wrong.
Culture is king. Culture affects every single aspect of your life from the moment you wake up to the minute you close your eyes. Culture is constantly flung at you from the moment you were conceived, to the moment you will die, your life will be filled with nothing but culture, and if you’re reading this in the Grand United States, 98% of your life will be filled with nothing but American culture.
Culture is so deeply important. it has the power to change human biology. Yes, in fact it’s changing it as we speak. Proof? Two words - Sexual Selection. Human height has been gradually rising over the course of the last 100 years. A reason for this can be found in the study of women’s personal ads, 80% requested a height of 6 feet or more ( Buss, David (2003)  (hardcover). The Evolution of Desire (second ed.). New York: Basic Books. pp. 38–40.) Women just like tall men, simple as that, but that simple fact changes everything. As humans we can change ourselves simply through cultural desire. The whole society changed simply because a small group of women decided (consciously or sub-consciously) that they liked tall men. Just consider that, the thing that people so often disparage as being the hallmark of superficial human ideology, actually changes those people. That’s the power of culture and no matter who you are, you can’t escape culture.
I find it laughable the idea that someone can suggest these two patently ridiculous ideas. One being “I reject popular culture” the other being the more insidious and incorrect “America has no culture” One can never reject popular culture. Popular culture is literally what’s happening right now and what you’re doing that causes it. If you hate the prissy blonde, straight-haired sorority girl look and revolt by dyeing your hair black and avoiding the Abercrombie store at all cost your are not rejecting culture at all, you are simply creating a subculture. You are in fact enriching popular culture by making it larger as opposed to making a philosophical stand in opposition to anything.
Even worse and more erroneous is to suggest that “America has no culture”. The popular phrase of drunk European businessmen and American die-hard Tool fans is made laughable by their denim jeans and airplane flights and the ipods they listen to their rock music on. Unless you have forgotten your basic history America invented both all those things and a whole host of others ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_inventions) We have one of the richest and most expansive cultures in the history of the planet, yet we love to act like we have nothing. I get that material culture can be vapid and feel unstable, but to suggest it is unimportant, or inappropriate to use as a point of commonality between our people is simply incorrect. We might be able to rally around democracy, but we can sure as hell also rally around t-shirts, rodeos and hip-hop as well. In both cases it’s American culture and it’s ours to espouse, so be proud and remember next time that douchebag talks about the insignificance of cultural artifacts and ideology, remind him that American culture was the driving force behind the Polio shot that saved him from a wheelchair as a child and the reason his mom married a guy with blonde hair. Until next time my friends, good night :)