Ederik Schneider Online

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
Source: Haiku Deck

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Atlantic: Kurt Anderson- The Cultural Factors Driving America's Departure From Reality

Source: The Atlantic-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I don't want to make this whole piece about Donald Trump and even not most of it and perhaps just a lot of it, but the way I look at America's Departure From Reality (to paraphrase Kurt Anderson) is way I describe Donald Trump's approach to politics and broader approach to salesmanship. Which is that it's not what's true that's important to him, but what's believable. And not what's believable to most people or intelligent people. But what's believable to enough people for him to accomplish what he wants.

In 2016 that was the presidency and perhaps now it's just about what's believable to his base so his presidency doesn't completely go under water. Right now President Trump's approval rating is somewhere between 33-37% depending on what non-Fox News and Rasmussen poll you look at. Even Fox News has him in the low to mid forties right now. And you take President Trump's base away from him he's probably in the teens right now and perhaps low teens. Not the Republican Party but just his base in the Republican Party. Which is about 4-10 Republicans.

President Trump believes for him to stay alive and not risk being kicked out of office or asked to resign even with a Republican Congress, he has to have his base with him. And to for hat he has to tell them things that are believable to them even if the rest of the country knows what he's saying his complete garbage. (To be kind) Millions of Americans perhaps have escaped the real world to break from reality and perhaps live in so-called reality TV because their real world is too scary for them. But so does their own President.

America's break from reality of course didn't start with Donald Trump. Right now he's just the overwhelming benefactor of it. Where he now represents people who believe that Russia had nothing to do with the 2016 elections and didn't try to interfere in them. Even though President's own intelligent agencies have told him that Russia tried to hack our elections. Climate change is a hoax, 9/11 was an inside job, Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and I could go on. But America's break from reality has nothing to do with Donald Trump. Again he's just the biggest benefactor of it.

We now live in a country where Americans believe reality TV is actually real and the people on these shows are like that in real-life. When in fact we now now (or at least some of us) that the cast members on those shows are encouraged by the producers of those shows to act out and be the biggest jerks they can and get into arguments with other cast members about nothing to draw the biggest ratings. Because conflict is what sells on TV.

Life in America can be tough and stressful and Americans sometimes need a break from that and be able to escape their own reality. Which is why we take vacations and a lot of us watch the tube and get online when we get home from work especially after we've completed everything we need to do that day. That's fine and I do these things myself. But it's when alternative reality takes over our lives and we start to live in those worlds and start seeing and hearing things that simply don't exist is where virtual reality becomes a problem and we look stupid as a result. Americans are only as powerful and free as we are educated and intelligent.

The smarter we are the freer and powerful we are because we'll make the right decisions for ourselves and people who depend on us. But the more virtual reality and so-called reality TV takes over our lives and we actually take those things seriously instead of the mindless entertainment that it is (like pro wrestling) the dumber we become and the less free that we are as a people and country.
The Atlantic: Kurt Anderson- Cultural Factors Driving America's Departure From Reality

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Atlantic: Derek Thompson- What Makes Things Cool?

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

What makes things cool? A very good question especially since America is such a trendy what's hot now and cool society where everyone who wants to be cool seems to follow whatever the latest trend is even if they look ridiculous, (like wearing cowboy boots and running shorts with a mink coat)  talking or looking like that, or could feel like they're dying when they try to drink the latest drink or eat the latest dish.

Americans by enlarge and there some exceptions of people who have a healthy degree of self-confidence and are very comfortable being themselves even if their best friends are following their favorite celebrities like cult followers follow their leaders. And even with some Americans who are simply cool, because they are themselves even if that makes them different, but by enlarge feel the need to be like everyone else who is considered cool at the time.

With Jim Morrison of The Doors from the late 1960s being a perfect example of an exception to this rule. Marilyn Monroe from the 1950s would be another great example of that. Sean Connery at any point of his career has always been Mr. Cool, or is that Steve McQueen, but both of these men were always themselves. With the personal attributes, looks, intelligence, charm, humor. These two men were always themselves and if anything drove other men to be like them. Instead of these two guys trying to be like some other hot celebrity of that time.

Pop culture and what's seen as cool drives Americans more than just about anything else. We have a lot of Americans especially young Americans who rather be seen as stupid, instead of intelligent and willing to step out on the ledge (in pop culture, not in actuality) and risk not looking and sounding cool. And young adults and even teenagers if they're into something, than people who are just older than them and even much older than them try to get into the same things. And what drives young people today in pop culture is new technology, because it makes their lives much easier and the ability to communicate so much easier than it was even more my Generation X when I was growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s. And the other thing being celebrity culture including talentless celebrities whose only ability has to do with cursing people out and expressing deep anger in public.

Derek Thompson in his video gives you the more scientific explanation of why things are cool and things become trends. But when it comes to Americans it's about trends and faddism. What are the cool people doing meaning the popular people in pop culture and that is who people who are not famous, but perhaps want to be or just want to be part of the cool and party scene in their local community and where they work and so-forth.

And most pop culture today has to do with new technology and people feeling this need that they may die if they don't get the latest iPhone the day that it comes out, watch the last episode of their favorite reality show or drama on cable, or what have you. And keeping up with the pop culture tends and having this feeling of coolness and being in is what drives the happiness of a lot of Americans. Way too many from my point of view.
The Atlantic: Derek Thompson- What Makes Things Cool?