I must admit to a growing dissatisfaction with what is, moving forward, to be known as the American Condition. In fact, I intend to call my upcoming developmental English class ‘A Society of Words’ and speak primarily to the ideas being put forth in this 10 minute blog. Those ideas can be summed up in a thesis statement: The American reality is shaped and conditioned by the creation and reinforcement of stereotypes which eliminate the ability for all but a few to step outside the spotlight of those stereotypes and exist as more than what we presume them to be.
It’s a first draft.
It is a draft that draws heavily on the belief that we’ve begun to define who people are almost entirely by the role they play in relation to us. It is the marriage of Lev Vygotsky’s Social Interaction theory and Erving Goffman’s Dramaturgy. It is the reason why every Friday night dateline focuses on the death of a pretty white woman (protected class), and why “blacks and hispanics” are often considered predisposed to criminal action. In America we speak the language of symbols. A person who served in the military is automatically a hero. A person who kneels during the anthem is automatically a villain. This is reinforced by our dominant socializing factor–the commercial media industry. I am not talking about the news. I am speaking literally of commercials, advertisements, and the ill effects of branding. One example is skaters. As Complex magazine writes, “Skateboarders have influenced the fashion industry through their IDGAF lifestyle and the way that they’ve dressed for decades” though here they ignore the irony that IDGAF does not correspond at all with the premium prices attached to those brands. Supreme, established in 1994, can expect you to pay upwards of $500 for a white tee with the word Supreme in a small red box on the front.
That’s absolutely giving AF.
People pay. A lot of people pay. They do so in order to be seen as the symbol. The way women have begun to shade their makeup and pose and dress like a Kardashian is the same thing that has been happening in our country since inception. It has long since bled into politics and other forms of public discourse to the point where individuality is so last… never.
It’s a condition I intend to question.