Relevant Mag on Our Generation

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Have you ever asked the question, or been asked the question, “who are you trying to impress?”  Relevant mag writer Adam Smith addresses the hipster culture in an interest piquing article, Who Are We Trying to Impress.  A snippet:

Our generation, the 18-to-34 set, tend to share a common characteristic. We are remarkably self-satisfied. We are socially aware, politically sensitive and culturally savvy, and we like this about ourselves. The question it raises, however, is if all our sensitivity, savviness and awareness has led anywhere. Certainly, social justice campaigns abound within our generation. One would be loathe to be identified within the subculture without a keen passion for grassroots, countercultural movements. However, where have these movements led? Is ours a generation that is quietly changing the world, or is social conscience just one more accoutrement of fashion for us? An accessory we wear with our Chuck Taylors and horn-rimmed glasses? It seems we’re out not just to change the world, but to impress. The question is, who exactly are we trying to impress?

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Moreover, we’re certainly not blind to the problem. In surveys conducted by cable network The N, our own generation described itself as lazy, materialistic and self-absorbed. So, if we know this about ourselves, what are we doing to change it? The problem, I think, comes in the fact that it’s easy to apply these epithets to our generation without applying them to ourselves as individuals. Let me be the first to say, I embody these traits as much as any of us. It’s time for us to take responsibility, not as a generation, but as individuals to live the kind of outwardly focused life we hold in such esteem. Who are we trying to impress with our cultural savvy, our rebellious fashion sense and political awareness? Essentially, it’s each other. On a whole, we’re trying to impress our peers, strangers we pass on the street who—in reality—notice us no more than we do them.

None of these things (cultural awareness, political activism, mode and standard of dress) are bad in and of themselves. The problem comes when we elevate the veneer behind our efforts above the causes we claim to stand for. I adamantly believe that this is a fantastic generation, capable of amazing things. Not only capable of amazing things, mind you, but in reality already doing amazing things. It is time, though, that all of us (myself included) take a deep look at our motives and priorities. It’s time we stop trying to impress, and start making a difference for the sake of making a difference.

Read the whole thing here. (HT: HB)

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~ by toddbumgarner on June 24, 2009 5:22 am.

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