What are we going to do with all these young folk. What if they start asking questions. What if they start realising what is going on. What if they figure out, we are invoking the real big brother, as we spoon feed them the game.
We will do what we always do, distract them, always works. The adoration of idols, the self, machismo, vanity, nurture obsessive behaviour patterns, MTV, noise. We cannot allow youth to get out of control, unless it is by our own instigation. We need to let them think that they are winning the game but are in actual fact, playing our game
Each new generation thinks they have it nailed, to use one of the US colloquialisms that have become so prevalent in western culture. My youth seems so dull and boring when compared to the buzz that is around today. I look at work that I produced in the seventies (photography) and realised that I didn’t produce very much, well not in the physical, material sense. Compared to the average young artist nowadays – a CV of exhibitions the length of your arm, published catalogues, web sites, media exposure and commercial galleries selling their work by the van full. (if you are to be successful, constant production is an imperative)
I mention the art world, as an example because of my own personal experience. But the buzz for output permeates through the whole of youth culture today, music, fashion, sport, media, politics – firing on all cylinders and traveling at the speed of light.
The odd thing is, as we are constantly reminded, that we are living in the world of changing ideas, new ways of looking at things, a youth culture that is demanding a new vibrant, interchanging, multimedia, crossover, fusion, multi cultural experience – In a culture where youth has become the zeitgeist in which all standards of lifestyle are being measured, the question I would like to ask is -what has changed for the young over the last three or four generations. Did the youthful revolution of the sixties work. Has youth slid back into a 1950s controlled and manufactured culture, disguised as hip.
One of the difficulties of being young is lack of retrospection. Another is understanding you will, grow old. The young rely on the experience of the old to acquire a knowledge of history and past events, that can be compared or held against present day situations for comparison. What else have they to go on. (That is not to say that you believe everything you hear. The young like the old must always study the facts and evidence, then use this to make up your own mind in judging, what you think is the truth.)
The difficulty for some older people is understanding the young to being from another planet, or in their [older generations] being unable to communicate with young people, in the context of the young persons experience. The expression” I don’t understand the young anymore” used by an older generation is a sign of getting old, not growing old and shows the same disrespect and lack of understanding that the young can have for the old. We are all on the same planet and our problems do not stem much from young and old, but rather, rich and poor.
“As a sort of insurance policy, the government stunts self-confidence, individuality and creativity at the earliest age possible, knowing full well that its resurgence in adult life will then be unlikely. People must be trained for submission when they are most vulnerable to impression, which happens to be when they are young.” 1
It is only through the experience. of my youth that I think, act and believe what I do today. Our youthful experiences profoundly effect what we become as mature and hopefully responsible and responsive, adults. The concerns I have in middle age for youth is not that I don’t understand them. I understand them as well, and in some respects have more in common with them as I do with my contemporaries. (those who have forgotten the experience of youth)
We all have the same genes (We are not talking Levi’s here) young, old, past and present, generations included, share the same basic needs. What makes us different in society terms is external influences – of dogmas, of propaganda, of fashions, that try to shape our relationship with our fellow human beings.
Young,old, male, female, black white are contrasted in the mix that works to highlight the seemingly natural, cultural differences between age, gender and colour, that is used to separate, the rich from the poor and distract people from their politics.
In retrospect, I saw my youth as less cluttered by distraction as the youth of today have to contend with, as they make their way in understanding the world and their place with in it. No I didn’t produce much art in those days, I don’t think it was important, well not as important as the cultural community that I was involved in, which relied more on camaraderie than funding, invention rather than production, ideas rather than output. By no means was this a perfect world, but it seemed to be a relatively easier world in which to grow, culturally, intellectually, and politically, than the nullifying experience our young have to face today.
Today’s youth are no more or no less talented, able or capable than any other generation in achieving a creative, happy life. What is different today is a set of circumstances and conditions put in place that could bar them from achieving this.
What I want to look at here is some of these devices which on the surface appear to be youth driven but are in fact mechanisms of state control and have more in common with a Totalitarian society rather than the free, open, fun loving society that we are perceived to be.
So,How cool is the cool. is the question I will ask:
If we look at the recent developments in our society with any kind of critical eye, which we should always do, we should notice two important things. One is the drastic changes in our communities, workspaces, environments, education systems, health systems, housing, consumption, entertainment, socialising, communication. All are in turmoil and in flux as our societies compete to, stay ahead, meet the requirements of new global challenges, make our mark, expand our interests, take our share, deliver the goods, keep our world safe, protect our interests and so on. This is the first thing -Everything is being rearranged in our communities because change is good and we need always to change -It is important that our young learn to accept this experience as normal.
The second thing is. Those who drive these changes never change.
The bankers, the statesmen, the heads of industry, our leaders and those who drive the change, always remain in power and always stay rich. If we look at our history over say the last three hundred years or so, you can not help noticing this. Through wars, revolutions, famine, drought, catastrophe the top level remains exactly the same -in power and rich – While we at the bottom, are constantly reshaping our world to maintain this power structure at the top.
When the rich and powerful are not busy exploiting our young by destroy the young of other countries in order to make the rich richer, or keeping us frightened of other nations destroying us, they will be doing their most important work at home – for the real war is between the upper class and the domestic population.
How to keep the population at home distracted, from the fact that they are being duped and set against each other, in order to maintain the age old power base at the top is the problem of elite powers. Understanding this is the key to understanding racism, sexism, ageism sectarianism and the devices used to keep communities divided.
In this context, it is not to difficult to understand the noise and chaos that is described as “youth culture”, mainly controlled by the above, age old power base. This idea is two fold. One is to give the young the idea that they are in control, the other is to suppress any progressive movement that would give the young a voice, in any real issues that affect them. The other is to appropriat the genuine dynamic of youth culture into passive commodities.
The crises for governments is not to alleviate poverty and be responsive to the needs of the young, or the many who are growing up in poverty, but rather to shift the blame onto the shoulders of the victims. These devices and tools of persuasion for this task, are not buried in mysterious texts, or only understood by the educated few, but are enmeshed in our day to day lives and activities and are there if you chose to look for them.
Rebirth of the cool
Tools of persuasion and Generation Y
•Business in the education place
•The promotion of mediocrity
“You are what you wear, what you snack on, how you accessorize. Ever heard of the “echo boomers?” Generation Y, generation wired, the digital generation, millenials? If not, you probably haven’t been reading the retail trade journals— BrandWeek, Sporting Goods Business , and Target Marketing , among others. You’ve missed out on the frenzy, the corporate executives tripping over themselves to survey, study, and create brand loyalty in their “demographic darlings”—the 78 million children born since 1978.”
Marketing to Teens You click girl! By Cynthia Peters
The job of the good educator
Surely an education geared towards creative thought and common sense would prompt such question concerning the wealthy. Why have they got all the cash and we’ve got all the work. So the first thing that this system needs to happen is dissuading common sense and autonomous, creativity and replace it with the rules of an ideology. This is the job of the education system.
After the ideological training and boredom of the education system our young join the boredom of the work system or the unemployed system. ( by now any creative urge will hopefully have been dulled) Here the risk of common sense could once again creep in, and where the ultimate tool in social and political neutralisation kicks in. The entertainment industry. The world of other peoples dreams.
The entertainment system is by far become the most powerful tool of distraction, whille alleviating, especially of the young, their liberty and political vision. The entertainment system is both sectarian in flavours, but all encompassing in purpose. One thinks of the quote from Marx, about the slaves running towards their chains, when we look at the powerful persuasive tool of entertainment. Here, the craving for change and social reform can float off into the ether, as the mind is mesmerized by packages of emotional titillation, posing as love, anarchy, and revolution.
The post industrial music complex
Music is used in many diversified forms, from inducing armies to march, to pacifying the nervous system. In oral traditions music served as both news bringer and story telling, communicating traditional aspects of culture. The church relied strongly on music to spread the message of its gospels. The Classical tradition and operas served the needs of the aristocracy through high drama. Music there for has always been a diverse conduit for ideas, culture and propaganda. What I wish to examine here is not music as a discipline, creative vehicle, or perhaps a study in mathematics, but music purely as a distraction, politically and culturally -a junk food for the mind.
The strength of music to carry a message, relies on the message making sense, even without the music. Music having the ability to influence actions seems remote, when, to para phrase Frank Zappa. If music influenced how people act, we would all love each other, as 99% of music, has love as its theme. What pop music in the pejorative sense forms, Is a kind of cultural ballast. Something that fills a space or void in ideas. The expansion of the entertainment industry over the last 30 years particularly the music industry, is witness to the breakdown of creative community, where the reliance on sophisticated technology, and business backing expands, and the sophistication of indigenous ideas and invention shrinks.
Exploiting the Scapegoat Generation
Why do working people use entertainment it obliterate the drudgery of their day. Why not obliterate the drudgery through creative work If a community and its people are fulfilling their social needs, are enjoying their work, their pastimes and are participating in community affairs and interests, there is no need to party every weekend, as particularly our youth seem to think is necessary. The proliferation of youth culture -that is the business of youth culture – is a two edged sword which creates wealth for the business interests and is then is used by the same interests, as a club, to beat young people over the head with. What is becoming known as the win win situation
For example the same council administration that hands out city centre, licence’s for twenty bars in close proximity to each other, each competing for the same usually, young clientele, through cheap early evening drinking, are the same authority who are suggesting on the spot fines for drunken disorder in our streets. This is the same win win situation as building new and better roads, bridges and access into the town centre. (which never work) then blanketing the city with parking meters and double yellow lines, in order to creat revenue. Cars, people, no diference so long as profits are turning.
The diverting of autonomous youth
Get stuff, get drunk, get up, go to work… After the education system and work begins. By this time a well trained student is tuned to the necessities of life. Get money. The worship of money is proof that the education system works. The sums have been well learned. Money equals happiness. Without money nothing can be done. The freedom to imagine is compressed by the abstraction called money. Each new idea will be pitted against its ability to convert to money. Everything useful, becomes financially unfeasible, unviable, unoperatable, unless it makes sense to the quantity surveyor and the accountant. Once the idea is adjusted to financial exploitation then anything goes, with the emphasis on anything. The youth market start buying their own ideas back after readjusting and dulling by the process of plagiarism and accountancy.
There may be variations of the uniforms, but they are all cut from the same cloth of capitalist consumption
It is not youth “culture” (the verb) that drives the world wide market in skip-caps and trainers (sneakers). What homogenises “youth culture” (the noun) into a sea of unbridled consumption but the captains of business, consisting mostly of the older generation. Street culture survives or dies not by the decisions of youthfu,l peers, but by business managers and its commercialised potential. Yes we have some youthfully entrepreneurs and millionaires, but it is typical “old capital” that is in charge of the commercialising of youth culture and the restraining of ambition, unless through technological compulsion and mindless entertainment.
Left wing philosophy packaged as entertainment
The degrading of autonomous culture to the level of facile entertainment is two fold. One it emphasizes only one aspect of an idea, usually harmless, and transfers the idea into a commodity. The television program Big Brother is a classic example of this technique. The irony being, In the real Big Brother (Orwell 19:84) the television watches the people, and the people tried to avoid the TV. Big Brother also gives credence to the idea that the right wing, make more use of left wing propaganda, than the people it was meant for.
Mass capitalist events posing as right -on
The music festival and such like has turned the full circle. Born out of of the hope for a free society has transmogrified into expressing the opposite. A pre-packaged construction down to the sleeping bag, tent, veggie burger and conveire belt of acts. The transfer of the free festival into commercial control. But still maintaining the idea of freedom
The record industry has returned to the 50s the era before the summer of love where it packaged and manufactured the acts, in alphabetical order and style to suit all tastes by label only. High production techniques and plagiarism nullifying again the development of young autonomous talent.
If the aim is to control autonomous society, we need to implement devices to control ambition. That is, supplant personal creative ambition with more harmless trivial pursuits from an early age.
It is an imperative in maintaining control of perceptions of ambition is that we control youth, by the encouragement of of unreachable goals. Only the selected few will attain these heights, which will be both harmless and short lived. but will serve the purpose of a belief that these goals are indeed achievable by even the most un ambitious, or with any pre-determined talent of the candidate. The above could be the business remit for most television programming aimed at the young.
The new masters and servants
Then we have the middle class’s who are busy educating their children in the arts of horse riding, music, learning to ski, before they are eight, holidays and summer camp. Few of these kids ever learn how to repair a meal, get involve in a hard days labour, or clean up their own mess.
The service industry as the government see it is the savior of jobs. Each time a new leisure complex is built, another retail mall, we are providing new jobs is the mantra, but what kind of jobs, cleaning up after those who never learned to do it for themselves.
so how cool is the cool
So what is youth culture? Television, record companies, manufacturers of gear, clothing companies, games manufacturers, pubs, clubs. Youth culture, is an invention of corporations which panders to the illusion of care free youth but under pins the appropriation of the free development of youth through” a scapegoat generation”. How
The creaming off of the profits of antisocial behaviour, drugs, alcohol, and so forth while implementing bureaucratic and unworkable laws to seemingly enforce the suppression of the same. (Like selling arms to both sides in the conflict). Encouraging the worship of idols, and charismatic figures through music and trash TV, disjointed history and the trivialisation of historical events as mere references to style. When our young are ready with questions they are patronised with the above then criticized for irresponsibility by an older generation who profit from the gains of so called youth culture. While the same older generation who control the commercialised youth culture are exactly the same generation who send our youth to slaughter their peers in Iraq, Vietnam and Bosnia and are the same generation who keep our youth in poverty and silence.
Our education systems make sence if the above is the planed outcomes: Why is there no lessons in the carricculum dedecated to thinking, Propaganda, media manipulation, bullying, not just in the playground, but in our government, in our businesses as well as around the world. the predatory and aggressive market economy, which will probably go down in history as one of peoplekinds blackest and destructive eras. Why is there nothing in school education, that would prepair our children from such debilitating processes. Rather the opposit is true, we encurage our kids to participate in these abomonations as a way of life. Being a teenager is a time to dream – of the adventure that anything is possible. Most of these creative posibilities get smothered in market trivia, or by the conformaty of rote slavery – that helps the older generation to believe the lie about who teenagers are.
Learning from the cool
“Cool” is a jazz term, when used, stood for the integration of aspects of quality in response to coordination, invention, interaction which created a style of music that’s integrity was judged by the musicians who performed it and their peers. This music was developed in an era of repression, despite, no commercial interest, racism and poverty – flourished into an art form, which reflected the ideas the soul, politics, community and history, of black people, which has extended to the present day. The struggle of all youth has much to learn from the struggle of black communities in the fight for equality in a society designed to ignore them
“Cool” is not what you had for dinner, or what you wear, cool is more than that. The rebirth of the cool, could be an interesting lesson, especially for the younger generation, in helping them to plot a course to a meaningful, useful and fulfilling life, as they wade through the morass of pulp culture that’s function is to distract them from achieving this end.
Stay cool. B.
___Notes___Related Links see side bar______________________
Citystrolls, Main Page