Jake just nodded his head as Jimmie sunk the ten ball into a corner pocket, because he knew that what Little Jimmie was saying, was true.
“Don’t even get me started on the materialism this society has created. Man, if you don’t have the newest, brightest, latest, electronic doodad, well then you are an antiquated idiot. If you are not wearing the latest clothes in the latest color, you are less than perfect. I never understood how people believed that. The average citizen’s mailbox is clogged with four or five catalogs a week trying to sell them shit that they really don’t need. But no, they’re told that they must have this or gotta have that. And if you don’t, well, you aren’t really part of society. Hell, even the concept of alternative lifestyles is a falsehood. By the time a lifestyle has developed and emerged, it’s homogenized, cleaned up and spat back to us by magazines, promoted on TV, hyped by the news, then licensed and sold by Wal-Mart so that some poor dork in Iowa City can feel that they fit in.”
As Jimmie sunk the nine ball with authority, Jake continued the conversation by asking, “So where do you think all this started?”
“The problem with this society began with too much media driven, celebrity worshipping mindless brainwashing trash that masquerades as information. Who really cares what Britney Spears, Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan is wearing, or not wearing, to some industry created and anointed televised award show. The real issue is how that behavior, those fashions, that attitude, gets filtered down to the average citizen, spoon fed to us in every department store, sanctified by music videos and bad cinema, and glorified by the mindless middle class,” Jimmie continued.
“Next time you see a guy in a motorcycle encrusted T-shirt, ask him what he rides. Chances are he’s never been on a bike. He’s just buying up what is fed to him. The concept that Andy Warhol preached in the early seventies that every person getting fifteen minutes of fame is dead. With the electronic revolution came the acceleration of society. A stepped up version of the Polaroid principle where anything could happen within thirty seconds, and you didn’t have to wait for anything. Now every action is expected to happen in nano seconds. I’ve seen a counter person at a Dunkin Donuts shop scream at a fucking microwave to hurry up! If someone doesn’t answer an e-mail within four hours, the sender thinks something is wrong. No one waits for anything anymore. Life is too fast. In truth, Warhol’s fifteen minutes has been compressed to fifteen seconds, played out on a reality game show where everyone chases after some grand prize all because America’s attention span has diminished to that of a two year old child.”
Clack, plunk, clack, plunk and two more striped billiard balls find their way to a pocket on the table.
Chapter 19 / Page 116 One Light Coming: A Biker’s Story (Book 3 in a series published by Blockhead City Press to be released Oct. 1, 2011. Available through bookstores everywhere, and Amazon.com and B&N.com)
It’s tough to be original these days. It seems that there’s no such thing as original thought. Everything is just a variation on what’s been done before. New music isn’t new; it’s just a twist on something that we’ve heard. Movies are being released in terms of Big Disaster Movie Part 7. Commercial radio plays the same 25 songs over and over and over. And most of TV is just junk. Recycling is great for newspapers and beer bottles, but not for enlightenment, education or entertainment.
It’s even tougher to be your own person. Everyone wants to be considered as an individual. But being an individual is difficult, because either you’re too insecure to stand up and be who you are, afraid of rocking the boat, or being ostracized by the rest of society. No one likes to be made fun of. It goes back to the days of playing in the schoolyard. If you were different, you were picked on; bullying is what they call it these days. And it sucks.
Most people want to be part of something; a group, a company, a family. They want to be identified with some cause, some effort, some brand. Why else would the logo craze of twenty or thirty years ago bring us to where guys have some other guy’s name on his underwear? Remember that great scene in the movie, Back to the Future, where Lea Thompson keeps calling the Michael J. Fox: ‘Calvin’ because that was the name on his underwear? Funny, huh? Not really. Try buying something that doesn’t have a logo on it. It isn’t easy. It can be done, but it isn’t easy.
Belonging to a group, or a club, doesn’t mean you lose your individuality. You just have to make sure that you don’t disappear. Take from them what they offer, and contribute your best back.
Individuality takes strength. Strength of character; a backbone. It takes strength to be who you want to be; not who everyone else wants you to be, not what the rest of society wants you to be, not what retailers want you to be.
Individuals can make a difference; in small ways first and then in big ways. All it takes is one person to say: ‘What if?’ All it takes is one person to start to take action. You may be one person to the rest of the world, but you could be the world to one person.
Make choices that make you an individual.
Ride Hard, Ride Safe, Ride Often.