When I was a wee young thing, I was quite a nerd. I had near perfect grades and to this day I keep a folder that contains all the wonderful certificates that prove my academic (and athletic) achievements. My peers tried to bully me back then, probably because they were jealous of my awesomeness, but it didn’t work. I wasn’t afraid of them and even more so, the glory of being a top achiever was worth the torment of being an outsider.
To my young brain, there was no better representation of said glory, than seeing my name on numerous plaques, immortalized as the best at whatever I tried (except maths, in which I was listed as second best).
Just picture it: An eight year old, being honoured (and therefore remembered) for being awesome.
I guess it’s just nice to know that at some point in time, not too long ago, I did something great, no matter how small the achievement was. It might not mean anything in adulthood, but it’s special because it was the first time that I learned, with true clarity, that if I tried hard enough I could be someone in this world.
But lately, at the ripe age of twenty-five, I must admit I have been feeling a little bit… Old.
My dreams are to blame. About a week ago I dreamed that our technology had progressed to the point that I no longer understood it, and all the teenagers were laughing at me for being a fossil. It was an entertaining dream, I’ll give it that, so it didn’t bother me. I just assumed I had watched one too many episodes of The Black Mirror (fantastic show!) and so it was haunting my subconscious.
But last night I had a vivid dream that was a little bit depressing:
I returned to my old primary school, and got permission to admire the plaques in the hall. I was so excited to see my name again, but was faced with almost cruel disappointment when I realized that all the old plaques were gone, and had been replaced by new ones which didn’t honour achievement, but popularity instead. A new generation- one that meant nothing- had replaced mine, and my name lay forgotten, gathering dust and mould, in a cardboard box meant for old, useless crap.
But I am so conceited that, even in my dream I “stole” the plaque with my name on it, telling myself that I’ll be damned if the school tried to throw it away. I carried it away as a keepsake, planning to hang it up somewhere at home. The world didn’t have to remember me, I thought, so long as I never forgot the good ol’ days.
Upon waking, it stayed with me. I know it means something, I just can’t say with any certainty what it’s trying to tell me.
But it did raise the question: In this modern world, where social media means more than brick and mortar communities; where absolutely anyone can be immortalized in fame for being nothing more than a moron; where entertainment is losing its value and education doesn’t matter as much as it should; Don’t we all have a fear of being forgotten?
How many times haven’t you said something to the effect of “This person only has 5 twitter followers so they’re not important,” or “This person has no profile picture so I don’t trust them.”
Slowly but surely, we’re losing our ability to appreciate the worth of things, and instead we’re placing emphasis on presence and popularity. We live in a world where it’s more important to be seen than heard, respected or admired.
Technology, as much as I enjoy and appreciate it, is changing our humanity. It’s deteriorating our intelligence, influencing our emotions and poisoning our souls.
An example of this: My band Sky Destroyers. I WILL toot my own horn without apology. We have something to say. We criticize society and will shove humanity’s flaws in your face to get you to think about your place in this world. But what do we have to show for it? Not much.
Why? Because we’re not perfect, and don’t want to risk being ignored because the quality of our efforts doesn’t suit this superficial world (as in, we’re the opposite of punk rock, which I think is quite sad. WHAT HAPPENED TO ME? KELLY, WHERE ARE YOU HIDING?!)
So instead of saying what we feel is important, we don’t say anything at all. We’d rather keep quiet, than fall on deaf ears.
That’s just sad.
And yet, turn on the radio, or check what music is trending on YouTube and it’s all… Shit. Absolute shit. Katy Perry’s latest track is just embarrassing… She compares herself to food, inviting men (or a man? Who knows? Who cares?) to an all you can eat buffet.
What. The. Fuck?
That’s just the thing.It doesn’t matter if it’s shit so long as it’s popular shit.
Honestly, I’d rather cling to the glory of my academic achievement when I was eight, even if no one knows who I am, than generate mindless content just to be seen. Just for clarity: Being seen isn’t the problem. It’s the fact that we use the power of the internet to be seen doing dumb shit that bothers me.
Come on people! We can do better than this!
This sounds like a rant, but I promise it’s not.
I feel good. I feel inspired. I feel real.
I no longer feel the need to be competitive in everything I do online. I no longer feel the need for the validation of my music, writing and video content. What a wonderful feeling it is!
I will now retreat into a good book (Terry Pratchett’s Nation) just as eight year old Kelly would do. She was awesome.
I remember that now.
I remember me.
Tell me something you’re proud of, and the closest you’ve ever come to fame and fortune if you please. Have a nice day!