Bret Easton Ellis (author of American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction, etc.) recently said some pretty awesome shit about our generation. His account is a depressing but brutally enlightening take on our silly existence, which he refers to as ‘generation wuss’.
Here’s a link to the article that fascinated me.
But here is exactly what Bret said that fascinated me:
“…It’s very difficult for them [generation wuss] to take criticism, and because of that a lot of the content produced is kind of shitty. And when someone is criticized for their content, they seem to collapse, or the person criticizing them is called a hater, a contrarian, a troll.”
Here is another quote from further along in the interview:
“But it all ties into Generation Wuss and its wussy influence on social media to a degree; if you have a snarky opinion about anything, you’re a douche. To me, that’s problematic. It limits discourse. If you just like everything, what are we going to talk about? How great everything is? How often I’ve pushed the Like button on my Facebook page? Is it BuzzFeed who said they’re not going to run any negative reviews any more? Really, guys? What’s going to happen to culture then? What’s going to happen to conversation? It’s going to die.”
Bret struck a chord with me, as he usually does, but I think he’s getting at something that needs to be examined much deeper.
Facebook has a vice grip on social media, and their ‘like’ button is creating a culture that harbors and perpetuates mediocrity. Hitting the ‘like’ button is second nature for some people, and this is a bit worrisome to me. It’s like getting a trophy just for showing up, and that’s fucking dumb.
I remember my teachers in grade school claiming that texting and instant messaging were going to destroy language – and they were kind of right. It dumbed everything down quite a bit, but the ‘like’ button is threatening to dismantle our ability to communicate without us even realizing it.
Every time we hit the ‘like’ button, we’re forgoing a chance to analyze and respond to someone’s thoughts. When we do this we’re throwing a kidney punch at the concept of human discourse, and that’s a bad fucking idea.
I think that we click the ‘like’ button because it’s easy and convenient. It’s a non-committal way to show that you kind-of cared about someone’s thoughts. However, there may be times when we don’t even know why we’re clicking the button, and that might be the most terrifying occurrence of them all.
Could you imagine all of the thoughts and opinions you would’ve had to share with friends over the years without the like button? It’s probably frightening to think about the effort you would’ve had to exert in the process, but you could probably be a lot better at expressing yourself if the ‘like’ button wasn’t there to do all the work for you.
Essentially, the ‘like’ button is just too easy. It undermines our ability to have an opinion, to discuss issues, and to communicate with one another in a meaningful way. A lot of people are calling for a ‘dislike’ button on Facebook, but the way I see it, that would only exacerbate the current problem. The tyranny of the ‘like’ button has simply gone too far.
We need less buttons and more words,
p.s. I’m still into the ‘poke’ button if any of you ladies were wondering…