Netflix has a incredibly vapid movie called “American Meme” that depicts social media ‘celebrities’ cashing in on the social media craze. I forced myself to watch this all the way through. The only celebrity in the movie that I’ve ever heard of was Paris Hilton, but I didn’t have any idea who any of the other celebrities were despite their hundreds of millions of followers.
What was most disturbing to me about this movie production was what it represented about American audiences, and how easily they allowed themselves to be targeted and exploited. Their apparent need to watch inane, stupid, vapid, ridiculous and disgusting debauchery as portrayed by the incredibly overpaid ‘stars’ of social media, and then actively engage in the promotion of these ‘stars’ through ‘likes’ and pathetic commentary, reveals a sordid infantile side of American audiences.
Perhaps there is nothing wrong with a single social media post by a famous ‘celebrity’ garnering $50,000 or more, but there’s is something wrong with social media pandering to the stupid, insane, asinine antics used to gain attention and retain (temporarily) audiences. The endorsements alone behind all this from product corporations can run into the millions of dollars if your channel has sufficient views, and you get that by generally acting like an ass (or showing lots of them).
But it is the sheer number of the viewing audience that is shocking with billions of views from around the world. The reason that this figure is so scary (to me) is how much it reveals about what Americans are willing to watch and what they take interest in. As recently shared in Decline of the Empire, the real fault with social media is the audiences (of the world). They’ve abandoned meaningful (and important) content creators and turned to vapid and stupid social media stardoms by the hundreds of millions, even billions. They are being spoon-fed like babies who are totally incapable of growing up and grasping the important issues of the real world.
The producers of the show made an attempt to reveal the dark side of being a social media star, but it falls totally flat because these details like the rest of the show, were incredibly shallow. It’s lonely “at the top”, but hey, the money is fantastic, so party on – make another 6-second clip jiggling your ass and keep your viewers ‘entertained’. A huge number of people are now trying to follow this golden path to riches (millions all over the world) with their own channels.
The incredibly sad part of all this is how millions of Americans are sleepwalking their way to intellectual disaster, and what this means for the future. Cultural immaturity notwithstanding, the growing ignorance (and indifference) about important issues creates entire generations of barely functioning imbeciles and morons more interested in being entertained then being informed. They’re also the prime targets for product corporations, advertisers and media (which is what this craze is really all about – money). They’ve allowed themselves to be incredibly easy to deceive and manipulated because they lack a functioning framework as responsible citizens of the world. In other words – they’ve refused to grow up and act like adults and prefer to remain as children.
And if you take note – this is exactly where millions of people are today in America. Which is perfectly suitable for the media forces (not just social media) that helped create these adult adolescents. This is incredibly profitable activity with billions of dollars being made. But it is also incredibly short-sighted, because fostering a generation of functioning imbeciles who take no interest in the real world of social, ethical and political responsibility permits someone else to fill those roles without objection or participation. And what we see in America (already) reveals what they think those roles should be.
It’s how we got Donald J. Trump into office, and it’s how we were so heavily manipulated and propagandized by political campaigns who lied through their teeth. It’s why we have a grossly irresponsible media from so many sources who pander to their advertisers instead of practicing social responsibility. Issues of interests, importance and relevance are relegated instead to what sells and entertains on so many platforms (digital and print). Social media isn’t the first to devolve the social fabric of the country, but it’s definitely one of the worst offenders.
Content creators to survive, must either participate or pander somehow to the growing disinterest in real and relevant topics. It’s like having a college course being taught to six-year olds. Their attention span is short, divided and easily distracted. Any examination of media from the past compared to now will reveal how “dumbed down” much of it is today. At the very forefront of this dumbing down decline with inane, stupid, ridiculous and vapid entertainment is social media. It’s a craze alright – and crazy that we allowed this to happen.
But we did and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up or change any time soon. In order to keep up viewers and views, social media celebrities and content creators have had to generate more and more asinine and ridiculous material. But I don’t actually blame them entirely – because it is the audiences that tune into this and watch this ridiculous garbage that is really at fault. Nobody forces you to stare at your smartphone for 12 hours every day watching stupid shit. Nor is anyone beaming social media images into your head – you’ve chosen to participate entirely on your own. And by so doing, you’re engaging in feeding to your brain pablum and garbage and totally irrelevant, non-essential fluff that has NOTHING to do with your life or your future.\
See 50 Popular Memes for some other examples of what has become popular mental mind floss. And this one takes the cake (and eats it) – 10,000 calories per day. Unfortunately, I could post a few million of these utterly stupid social media video channels as examples.
Multiply this activity by BILLIONS who do this every hour, every day, every year and you can easily grasp the real problem here – there is a HUGE problem with people turning to mental mind floss and the demand for instant gratification (likes and views). What could the human race accomplish if we were to avoid platforms like this? Could we eventually cure cancer? Solve climate change? Save the planet from environmental destruction or even just save one species? Could we clean up the oceans? Find a way to end war, hunger, poverty, suffering?
Nobody knows. But one thing is definitely for certain – we will never solve any of these things by constantly staring at a screen and filling our heads with garbage. The things that matter in this world – and in this life aren’t found on a screen and they don’t depend of ‘likes’ and view counts. They depend on our real attention and participation. And you don’t get any of that acting like an imbecile trying to get your view counts up.