Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t listen to popular radio music. Unfortunately, it can’t be helped for me to hear it at times. There is this song that keeps popping up about being “like the cool kids.” I don’t know who sings it and I don’t want to know who sings it. I’ve managed to keep quiet about it for the time that I’ve heard it, writing this garbage off as music-industry-product-crap. After taking my dog out for a walk and hearing this noise being played during a girl’s college softball team batting practice, I finally decided that I’ve had it and that I was going to say something about it.
What little I’ve paid attention to the “song” lends me to believe that it is about image and somehow being inferior to then want to “fit in” with the “cool kids.” I believe there is nothing more destructive than for media to promote imagery that is conducive to low self-esteem and inferiority. Obviously, this garbage isn’t aimed at me (I’m 40 going on 41 years old) but to anyone in an age group (or anyone else for that matter) susceptible to the message coming from this nonsense. I’ve had my share of run-ins with “cool kids” in life and the torment they put me through. I’m also not the only one who’s had the misfortune of being taunted and made fun of for not being “cool” enough to be recognized by whatever in-crowd is in vogue at the moment.
Twenty-or-so years of not having to be in school and subjected to that torture teaches a person a lot about what it is to be young in our industrialized world. Unfortunately, some individuals seem to carry that over into adulthood for not knowing any different. The corporate and industrial world give way for mentalities to inflict arrogance upon each other in the interest of looking “better” than the other person. Whatever this song is instills that imagery upon the person who believes it is intended for and begins to conjure up all sorts of questions: “Am I good enough?” “How am I not good enough?” “Why don’t they like me?” and likely other forms of self-deprecating inquisition.
I believe that working to be “cool” in a commercial sense (because that’s what it is for) is more work than it is worth. It’s also embarrassing having to keep up to look like every trendy clone that’s out there. Another downside to all this “coolness” is the fake and disingenuous “You’re special” nonsense that gets thrown out there and lampooned by everyone. Again, it is an effect of the industrial society which aims to make profit no matter the cost to the individual. If profit can be made from “coolness” and low self-esteem alike, there is no limit to what the elite will do next to mess with people’s heads.
One of the worst feelings is being made to feel like one is not “enough” for others and that is what this idiot “song” is about. It isn’t just about “fitting in” with the “cool kids” but with adults who have a serious hang-up about being unpopular or untrendy. Personally, I can’t imagine what it must be like for young people in public school today, what with the internet and social media everywhere. I think my graduating class was the last not to have experienced the internet during their youth. Once again, I’ve had my share of experiencing this in adulthood by not only not being “cool” enough but also not being:
1) Hispanic enough.
2) Trendy enough.
3) Superior enough.
4) Spiritual enough.
5) Successful enough.
6) Nice enough.
7) Understanding enough.
8) Etc., etc., etc.
You just can’t please everyone, can you? Regardless, the idea that one isn’t enough for whatever reason is perpetuated by individuals suckered into accepting the media and advertising pollution around them.
In my book, I talk about media programming by saying:
“Most, if not all, mainstream media is poison to the psyche: it surreptitiously destines individuals for failure by mentally conditioning them to accept a pessimistic and wasteful attitude. Even if individuals brush it off and say, “It’s just entertainment,” the subconscious mind has been exposed to the experience.”
– From the essay, “No Life is Predetermined,” The Perspective Essays
This is obvious to most people aware of the dangers of media programming but for some reason it doesn’t faze them because many have been trapped by it. In my mind, it’s not worth explaining this to people who don’t want to see it. They’ll continue to follow the trends while claiming to be sincere and authentic in their expressions of trendiness. Instead of finding ways of understanding and working together, they choose to set themselves apart from those who are “uncool.” One of the things that I also mention in the book is that not everyone will get along or find a way to get along. That’s fine so long as an effort has been made to connect and that both parties have worked on that connection. Snubbing people is no way to make a connection, just a way to show ignorance in arrogance.
This “cool kids” song is one of the most destructive pieces of garbage out there. It’s bad enough to have all this other so-called music and media that glorifies violence, general hatred and indifference towards others but to know that there are permutations of such ideas out there is too appalling. Then again, it is a matter of consciousness. Even if such influences are out there, what are ways of immunizing oneself from its effects? When it comes to young people, what effects can parenting have on them? What about submission to authority? If not authority, what about submission to ideas? In what ways do young people accept feeling inferior and how does an individual carry over polarities such as “popular” and “unpopular” into adulthood?
The book offers a suggestion in dealing with unpleasant or just plain destructive influences. From the same essay:
“The way to diffuse it is to simply and consciously tune away from it.”
This skill can be learned from oneself or from an appropriate source. When it is recognized that all this popularity nonsense is just a way for someone else to make money and divide individuals, the breakaway can begin. Individuals will then allow honest self-reflection into their lives, not beating themselves up for not being “like the cool kids.” “Fitting in” will be a joke when one can begin the journey into higher levels of self-awareness.
To hear song that criticizes popularity, have a listen to this tune from the band Sparks from their album In Outer Space.