Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Group of Individuals

Last week, my man and I were in a hotel in Our Nation's Capital. Yes, thanks for asking, we had a good time. A bit stressful, with all of the visiting-family requirements, but fun. [Note to self: next year, do not combine family obligations with holiday.]

But when I stay in hotels, I watch TV. It's really the only time I watch TV, so suddenly I get to see the underbelly of our culture as something of an anthropologist...with fresh eyes.

This time around, I noticed that the cult of individuality, mutated into a revolting sameness that inspires every young woman to be a slut with a lower back tattoo just like everyone else's, and makes me confuse Christina Aguilera with Paris Hilton (Is it only me, or are they clones of each other?), has now spread to advertising, where what's cool goes to die.
  • A car commercial that has cars (and drivers, I assume) coming together for a rally: "It is that which makes us different that brings us together!" yells the speaker. The tag line? "United by Individuality"
  • A commercial for a cell phone company which entices potential new customers with "the only thing we have in common is how different we are."
  • A(ny) commercial for alcohol that has the whole bar drinking the same mixed drink (following the herd ain't just for beer any more!). My, aren't they having fun.

So, is that it then? Is the cultural love affair with individuality run its course? When it's the theme of 3 oft-repeated commercials shown during the broadcast of one re-run of CSI, could it be that Individuality as the Icon of Cool is dead?

Gads. What's coming up behind us, here in the mainstream? (Yes, RC, I hear you...You, of course, are not mainstream...)

I mean, really, if an idea, a cultural meme (in its original meaning) works its way through the initiators, then the early adoptors, then the rest of the world before becoming noticed by ad execs...then individuality is in its death throes.

Okay, so being an individual is not a short-lived trend, like some. From Jung helping people along the path of individuation, through to today's tattoos and piercings being the norm, this trend has had some real longevity. But I'm throwing these musings out to my clever readers -- What's next? If individuality is old hat, what can possibly follow it?



raincoaster said...

Facelessness. Anonymous is the new hawtness.

PS it's Faceless Day in Canada:

Go faceless for your right to cultural self-expression!

Lori said...

Wow. I can see that. Disturbing.