By Еvan Osentоn
When was the last time you were shocked? I’m going to wager not for a while, and I don’t even know you. Hey, don’t get mad. You’re just a product of your environment.
There’s no shortage of so-called shocking events happening around the world. Any unsolicited reminder would include Kosovo, political upheaval in Russia, high school shootings in Colorado, et cetera. If it bleeds it leads-but does anyone still read?
In order to be surprised by something, we have to be experiencing it for the first time. Any one of the above stories are merely the latest installment in a saga that goes back further than the people reporting them.
It used to be that the line between something shocking and something out of the everyday was a lot more discernible. This was, of course, back in the day when society had a moral backbone and kids picked daisies for their mothers. The younger generation today (and by this I mean 25 and younger) isn’t as able to disseminate between shocking and normal. Everything is normal.
"Yeah, ethnic cleansing sucks, but didn’t that happen two or three years ago in that shitty part of Europe?… and I know I’ve seen skinny Africans on TV before." Today, our sense of perspective is dulled by an over-indulgent, ultra-competitive media. Think these events common? We’ve seen it all before. We know what we’re watching are ‘bad’ events, yes, but normal all the same. Hence, normal is bad, bad is normal, who cares? Pokemon is on in five.
The older generation has to accept that even though they lived through the rock ‘n’ roll revolution of the ’50s, the drug-fuelled ’60s, and the sexual revolution of the ’70s, their kids are leading the most profoundly dangerous revolution of them all-the anti-revolution, where over-indulgence is met not with gluttony, but with apathy. They are living in the headiest times the world has witnessed, and they could care less. You only learn to appreciate or act on something when it is worth doing so. If all you have ever known is doom and gloom, would you change the situation? Would there be anything else?
Young people today only know what they are taught. It’s the same as any generation, without the information saturation. They are living in a world that has seen it all and is tired of it. A world where the news program blasts through the coverage of Kosovo in order to get to Dharma and Greg as fast as possible and where a man falling in a bucket is a front page story.
I can still remember the time I watched cnn documenting a mouse who had grown a human ear on his back. Something tweaked inside of me, but I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I recently noticed an article entitled "Eggs of two moms make one baby." Researchers have developed a way to combine the genetic material of two mothers into one egg, the idea being to allow older women a chance to spawn. One baby, three parents. My favorite part of the story was when it said experimentation using this procedure began over two years ago.
Does anyone else still remember the furore over Dolly the Sheep? I’m betting Billy the Horse and Pedro the Pig have long since been cloned, perhaps with six legs on the former and extra bacon on the latter. Who knows, and furthermore, who would bother reporting on such a blasé topic?
Shouldn’t topics such as cloning, and triple parentage, and mass graves, and high school massacres provoke shock? Shouldn’t they promote discussion? And shouldn’t these discussions include the youth, the people who will be affected most severely in the years to come?
The issues we will address with the passing of the millennium are even more difficult to conquer given the way we inadvertently dismiss them from our youth. We need to overcome their apathy, lest we reap the horrific results of indifference that lurk in their tomorrow