I’m sure a big number of writers – or any of the creative types who realise that they actually contribute heavily towards how we are to see things in a generation or so – have talked about this. I’m sure the argument that “art should be free of all fetters” has been used and abused to argue against this even though I feel like it is kind of a more poetic description of free speech. And I’m sure you are exasperated by now for the lack of a description of “this” so far…
Well, a writer by the name of Kurt Vonnegut, known mostly by the fringes of today’s society, said – during an interview in the dark ages, more precisely in 1974 – something interestingly relevant for modern times as well.
It’s only recently that I’ve come to understand that writers are not marginal to our society, that they, in fact, do all our thinking for us, that we are writing myths and our myths are believed, and that old myths are believed until someone writes a new one.
Now, being the architects of myths, as they in turn shape how a new generation will look at things, is great power indeed. And I presume my generation would agree that with great power comes great responsibility as the wise Uncle Ben once – or twice – said.
Of course, there are people, sites, platforms, books, foundations and all sorts of different sources of good myths, positive vibes, beautiful information and science out there – so one could argue that the deed is done, people share what they know and feel.
Well, first of all, people who follow, read, discuss and learn about such things as feminism, LGBTQ rights, how patriarchy is deeply ingrained in our culture and why this is a bad thing, how to think critically, why is reason more important than traditional values and so on are people who are already inclined towards following, reading, discussing and learning about these things in the first place.
Many reasons for this…
Take Facebook, for instance; very commonly it is where we keep abreast of things these days – and that thing is geared towards focussing us more and more on things we already like.
That’s OK though, as we already have a tendency to like things that are similar to us / what we already like. That’s why there is a thing called a comfort zone and that’s why we convince ourselves that trying new things always equates to leaving our comfort zone, something we recognise as a “good thing.”
I mean, if you write about how the GMO debate is uninformed, people don’t really understand what GMO means, you’ll have several options. Share it on Facebook? Only friends and / or fans will have a chance of seeing that (based on how alike their interests to you!). Publish it on a blog? Well, again, legions might read it but those legions will already be interested in what you say now, wouldn’t they? Publish it as an article in a journal? OK, who’s reading that journal? See where I’m going with this?
However, if – say – the President of the USA talks about this, many people who previously have not been exposed to the issue will suddenly be talking about the GMO debate.
I am not saying this is automatically a good thing – kind of depends on what the President actually says, obviously – but creating awareness is a good thing, overall. Obviously, I don’t have numbers for this claim but I have a feeling that going out of our way to learn about what kind of pains are visited to people who are not a part of our “tribe” and actually feeling empathetic to extents that we’d try to do something about it is definitely not our favourite pastime.
We might have the empathy for it though, if only there were people to point such issues out to us…
So, I actually feel much joy when someone who can reach different “camps” because they are known for their other qualities than being a part of a camp, actually reach and make an effort to increase awareness in Things™. My gruelling inability to form sentences aside, yes, I mean I love a pop singer trying to make people aware of something other than their next single.
Because, I believe, mainstream should take responsibility.
A brilliant example would be The Lonely Island.
They are comedians and – if you are into such things – musicians; millions of people know them and love them. They may not be dedicating their lives to a cause – which would have been circular, see above – and they may be making a lot of money – for those who hate people making money – but they take responsibility at the right time and in a very clever manner.
My take about the following? Well, you know how some circles see the “spring break behaviour” as normal (or at least they don’t care about it much to seek its end) but when it is about gay marriage they are all like “we have to protect our children from the gayness!!” – this is what hypocrisy looks like and TLI is so on the money I love them for it.
PS. I recognise my predicament here, no need to salt the wound.
PPS. Watch the whole thing. It will surprise you.
PPPS. Here’s a cat-pic to promote awareness.
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