Last July the good folks at Miami Ad School asked me a great question:
If you had to explain to someone what an increasing divorce rate, cable television, the space shuttle challenger disaster in the 1980’s, the popularity of South Park and the rise of instant messaging (social media) all have in common, what would you say?
My answer: No hope for the future has shaped our impatience for the present. We need everything now. Who knows, who cares what happens later?
Divorce: the paradox of choice – too many options have us in a permanent upgrade mode. The novelty of something new activates our brainâ€™s reward center. Perfection is the expectation. Why repair something when we can get the new model?
Space Shuttle Disaster: apathy – My parentsâ€™ generation got â€˜one giant step for mankindâ€¦â€™ my generation watched our futures explode with the Challenger on television.
Cable: sedentary life â€“ Cable programming is comprised of reality shows and news programs sandwiched between pharmaceutical ads and retail therapy. We watch modern archetypes live out their scripted lives on TV. We live vicariously through our favorite characters and mimic their lives (i.e. the Sex And The City / NYC Prep / Real Housewives Of New Jersey phenomena). The result makes our authentic thoughts and movements secondary.
South Park: super cynicism – A little cynicism is healthy. Overly cynical people become too paralyzed to act, we can only watch from the sidelines and comment while we wait for a hero to save us.
Text Messaging: Devolution – digital communication is making us into humanoids who can’t talk face to face, canâ€™t employ proper writing syntax and have no compassion to wait for a slower non-digital exchange of information to unfold.
Sounds dark, but also enforces the need for a cadre of optimistic contrarians to instigate positive social change.