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Remember the G8.
Fashion Issue (triangulation)
Quick definitions ( Fashion )
The G8 is not only the concern of weird people, hippies and who the media decide to portray as trouble makers. That is only what we are meant to think. The G8 concerns us all. Or if it doesn’t it should do.
Maybe it’s because of the way the G8 is usually discussed. Who listens, apart from the died in the wool activist.
Is there a G8 fashion pull-out. How about fashion -something we all care about – even though some of us say we don’t. Lets look at fashion
Probably ninety percent of the time, the people who bring most grief to your life, wear suits. From ugly despots to officials who in the main, seem to be put here to annoy and torment us – wear suits.
Why then are suits seen as a respectable form of dress in our society. I have always found that one really strange.
On the other hand. Who do the media focus on at protest events. People in suits, in designer clothing. No, they will focus on the people with the matted hair, painted faces with “Fuck the state” on their T-shirts. Just like the suited business man, how participants dress at events, is a powerful tactic that is underused and misunderstood by a lot of people, especially in the protest movement.
For instance. Why do people who engage in the pursuit of educating others in the tyrannies of corporate crooks go out of their way to dress so differently from those that they seek to enlighten.
OK because people don’t use the same dress code as yourself, doesn’t mean we have nothing in common. The G8 sponsors make billions of $/£, from the way we dress and know more and study more about the way we look than we do ourselves. It is their job to know such things. Should it be ours. Maybe.
Those who operate within the G8 cartel are happy if people are more concerned about how they dress, than understanding how they are being robbed.
Think about it. A T-shirt, much the same quality, cost £5 another cost £50. How do you manage to sell T shirts for £50 complete with a sponsor of the slave trade emblazoned on the front, to people who hardly make £50 a day wages in this country. This is also an important part of the power and influence of the G8 collective. Why is this fashion thing so important to people.
Propaganda and the influence global markets on peoples lives, through such abstractions as the fashion industry, is used to stimulate the retina and deaden the mind.
Is fashion a tactic
May Day Fashion parade
The catwalk is at the top of Buchanan Street. I spent a bit of time while leafleting last May Day, explaining to passers by on the street, who asked the question. Why do “these” people looked so offensive and scary, “What are these people doing” (their words not mine) pointing toward the throng in the street. I asked whether this particular person, was speaking about the clowns and drum bangers, of the alternative May Day procession, or, the even scarier people in the bright luminous yellow jackets forming a wall that surrounded them. (Strathclyde Police) And to be sure the whole scenario looked scary
This guy said he was involved in the green movement and was doing some eco friendly project, but he didn’t have to dress like that
Ironically enough, the young questioner was wearing fancy branded clothing. After calming him down and explaining what was happening and what the event was about, and part of it is, that we are free to wear whatever we like. I then went on to described his clothing as the most offensive of the lot, and proceed to rant about GAP, sweatshops, corporations and such like.
He looked kind of blank and moved on
To judge how successful G8 members are at control and profiting through how you look. Go to the area in your city that suffers most from poverty, unemployment, bad housing and ask the local young people what looks cool. What will be described to you, in most cases, will be the products and corporate symbols of the very merchandise that makes poor people, everywhere, poorer.
This doesn’t happen because people with little money are stupid. It happens because there is also billions of $/£ spent on convincing folk that this is what should be important to them. It is part the line that government spin to them, with the help of an education system that concentrates on creating fodder for the market in consumption. “Get a good job, buy nice things, rather than do a useful job.
I have no ax to grind about how people dress, but if we are out to win, which hopefully we all are, all avenues need considered and one that concerns me is, people (not involved in the throngs who are absorbed in political discourse) seem to be more concerned about what activists look like, rather than what is their political message.
Fashion is not bad housing, motorways, wars, global warming, but the ramifications of of the fashion market, add to the critical mix of world oppression, that is well documented. But what is not exploited enough is the social impact of fashion and the phycology of how and why we look the way we do – across the whole social spectrim.
Fashion is a tactic.
The G8 is all around us. it is steeped in our institutions our schools our business’s the way we do business, constantly on television, in the news in each and every product we buy consume covet – especially fashion, for a lot of people.
We will not stop the murder of children through letting them starve, because Sir Bob Geldof, puts on a concert. (music/fashion) There is much to be done to counter the inhumanity of the decisions the G8, will make at Gleneagles, which will go on long after Bush et al, pack up their clubs and their deals and go home.
It is after the dust settles, we need to keep going and keep the idea fresh in our heads. The protest needs to continue, not by facing up to police and security guards, but by facing up to the institutions that perpetuate the G8s global control in our society, Banks, Monetary systems, education systems, political systems
We are all fashion victims even if the choice is from the collection at Oxfam or the free rack, at the collective. We are constantly making choices and the choices that we make, even the small ones, collectively make a big difference. If we are concerned about the G8 we must learn to make these choices count for something, even by how we look.
Everyone is involved and everyone can be involved everyone should be involved and everyone contributes whether they like it or not. There is not just goodies and baddies, there is a whole sliding scale in between of confusion, ill informed, propagandized and apathy. We need to use all the tools that are available. So many are ignored, such as fashion, sport and the various pursuits that take up most of the time, of most of the people. Ignore these avenues and we ignore a useful conduit for expressing and explaining ideas.
If expanding the movement for a better world is our goal we need to start to think outside cosy, itellectualising and spectacle, and concentrating on, more common vehicles for discussion. The G8 is not just for Christmas. When the mass protest ends we need to carry the spirit of resistance to out workplace and in our daily lives and more importantly to the people who suffer most from it – and through topics that are part of their lives -even the ones we find so distasteful.
When people are left out of the equation, or do not fit into it, or have any influence in the debate, they will pride themselves in what they look like. Sometimes that is all they have, or all what is accessible to them. Only the privileged can feel cool in the tat of a dosser, because they can step back into other realities, images and diversions when the mood takes them. And the privileged are the most fashion conscience of them all, that’s why they are so easily told apart. That and their utter disdain for the fashion of the under privileged.
My daughter had been studiously observing the Stop and Shop employee who was bagging our groceries. As she left the store, she seemed perplexed about something. Finally, she asked her father, “Dad, is bagging groceries a really bad job?”
It turns out that in one of the homes where she plays a lot, a lifetime of “bagging groceries” is the threat applied to children reluctant to do their homework or to take school seriously.
Recently, a friend and I were trapped in a van full of kids – his and mine – on a cross street in New York City. A parade was heading down the avenue – marching bands, floats of various kinds, police on horses, and last of all a bunch of guys wearing orange reflective vests carrying shovels and buckets to collect the horse manure. The pomp and glory of the festivities were striking, attractive, enthralling. And then came the guys who shovel the shit.
“You see that, son?” says my friend to his eldest. “That’s what happens to people that don’t study hard and go to a good college.”
Both sets of parents – the ones worried about grocery bagging and shit shoveling – are well-off. Their children are getting nothing but the best in terms of private schools, extra-curricular activities, high-priced vacations, second homes at exclusive beach resorts, etc. They are also liberal. They would never allow an explicitly racist or sexist comment to pass uncriticized; they recycle their bottles and cans; and they give generously to charities.
So, with all that privilege and security, why do they imply to their children that people with menial and rote jobs have these because they are somehow lazy or malequipped to do more interesting labors? Why do they blame the victim, that is? Many liberal parents expose their children to multicultural versions of Cinderella, and anti-homophobic books like “Heather Has Two Mommies,” but how do we talk to children about class and the nature of work?
In the United States, race and gender are seen as immutable. You can’t help the color of your skin or the chromosomes that determine your sex. Yet we consider class to be mutable. We are taught that with hard work you can move up the socioeconomic ladder, and with less hard work you are stuck where you are or may even fall lower. While it is true that some might be able to climb the social ladder, our class society is not the meritocracy it’s cracked up to be. Systems and institutions that regulate class location are much more powerful than individuals.
Yet we maintain the illusion that class position is a function of willpower. The illusion requires nurturing, and so while our children are very young, we start indoctrinating them with the idea that everyone is responsible for their class position. We blame and criticize the people who do our shit work for the very fact that they do our shit work. It’s their own fault anyway. We act disrespectfully toward the people serving us, and defer to anyone in a white collar. Why not turn the whole thing on its head? The people in powerful positions are probably simply lucky. Or perhaps they ignored the plight of others to achieve their class position. Or exploited others in the process of gaining wealth and status. Meanwhile, what do they actually get? Sure, money can buy a measure of security and comfort, which is not at all trivial, but after that, what? I saw a bumper sticker recently that reminds us, “Whoever dies with the most toys, wins.”
Privileged children get choices. Often they are trivial marketplace choices – what to eat from the buffet lunch at their private school, what classes to take, what summer camp to go to, what to purchase from the Gap – but all these choices communicate a powerful idea: that they exercise control in their lives, and that they are entitled to it. There is an illusion that everyone has similar control, which supports the idea that you picked your class position for yourself. Why not learn `em young that the marketplace, rather than a place to exercise freedom, creates and then reinforces inequality. Only a privileged few exercise agency there.
Get involved with community organizations so that your kids see you being active, AND see you dealing with people and practicing agency OUTSIDE the marketplace. Work with your local school or community center to find ways kids can play a role managing themselves in the institutions that most affect them. In addition to choosing between algebra and geometry, students might apply themselves to discovering a fair and efficient way of keeping the building clean.
If you are a family with significant resources, notice how you talk about what your wealth. You may have “worked for every penny you have,” but you may also have been born into the middle or upper class with all its privileges; you may have hit the inheritance jackpot – which has as much to do with merit as the lottery does; and you probably exploited a lot of people along the way (knowingly or not). If you have excess money, you should model for your children the right thing to do with it, which is: give it away to social change organizations. At a minimum, don’t communicate to your children that you somehow deserve what you have. More accurately: everyone deserves what you have; you just happen to have it.
Except for those moments when they literally parade before us, the people who do the really boring, monotonous, unempowering work are behind the scenes. The work they do is invisible. We don’t have to meet, know, understand or appreciate the people that put together our cheap electronics, stitch our clothes, or fabricate our throwaway plastic goods that last a few moments in our lives and a lifetime in the landfill.
So bring it out into the open. Talk about where things come from, who grew them, transported them, manufactured them, and who will haul them away in the garbage. Educate kids about the ways working people can gain power by being organized. Show respect for unions. Don’t cross picket lines. If strikes cause petty annoyances, take that as an opportunity to put labor struggles in perspective. Assign kids jobs around the house that typically get no respect; then express what’s important about that job – the role it plays in the household and in the life of the family, why it’s important, how it could be accomplished efficiently and equitably. If it’s tedious and disagreeable work, that doesn’t, by definition, make it dishonorable. But it does create an opportunity to think about work, and even envision how it might be different.
Because I’m normally an impatient driver, my daughter wondered recently why I wasn’t honking at the garbage truck making its way slowly up the street in front of us. “Because these men are hauling away our GARBAGE,” I said. “It seems like a hard enough job as it is, without having someone honking at you.”
Was being a garbage man, then, a “really bad job,” my daughter wanted to know. I answered that it wasn’t bad (though it did look hard, boring, dirty and smelly), but I just didn’t think it was fair that one person should spend a whole lifetime clearing away other people’s garbage. “I guess I think people should share these kinds of hard jobs, as well as the good ones in life,” I replied.
“So,” she said, “people who work on garbage trucks should also get to work in toy stores?”
It wouldn’t exactly be my vision, but the sensibility is right on. The lesson? Talk with kids about class and work. Let them know that you DON’T want them to spend their lives bagging groceries or shoveling shit, but nor do you want ANYONE’S kids to invest their life energy in brutally boring and draining work. What’s bad about those jobs isn’t the job itself or the person doing it. What’s bad – really bad – is that our class-based society allows privileged, empowered people to enrich themselves by leaving exploitative, dehumanizing work to others.
Welcome to the “Harper’s Index” of teenage myths!
(Deemed unsuitable for reprinting in publications Left to Right) updated 12/28/01
1. WHO ARE THE REAL DRUGGIES?
Number of US deaths involving abuse of heroin in 1999: 4,801.
Number which were teenagers: 33.
Number over age 35: 3,389.
Number of US deaths involving cocaine (including “crack”) in 1999: 4,842.
Number which were teenagers: 21.
Number over age 35: 3,393.
Total drug abuse deaths, including overdoses, suicides, and accidents, among US teenagers ages 12-19 in 1999: 326.
Number among adults ages 35-54: 7,114 (source: Drug Abuse Warning Network).
Number of deaths in 1999 from abuse of drugs (accident, suicide, undetermined) reported by DAWN, and percent which were teens:
Heroin, 4,801: (six-tenths of 1% were teens)
Cocaine (including crack): 4,882 (one-half of 1% were teens)
Alcohol mixed with drugs: 3,897 (one-third of 1% were teens)
Methamphetamine (speed): 688 (1% were teens)
Valium (Diazepam): 808 (one-half of 1% were teens)
Benadryl (OTC allergy supressant): 756 (1% were teens)
Tylenol: 426 (one-half of 1% were teens)
Prozac (Fluoxetine): 305 (1% were teens)
Aspirin: 104 (3% were teens)
Ecstasy (MDMA) and GHB (club drugs): 14 (none were teens)
Total: 29,009 drug mentions, 11,613 deaths (1% were teens)
1980: Number of drug-related casualties before “War on Drugs” began:
Among teens: 260
Among adults: 6,600
Drug-related hospital emergency cases:
Among teens: 45,118
Among adults: 270,506
Drug-related murders: 407
Arrests for drug law violations:
Among teens: 205,000
Among adults: 375,000
Among teens: 300
Among adults: 15,000
Drug-related hospital emergency cases (1999)
Among teens: 53,300
Among adults: 501,600
Drug-related murders: 891
Arrests for drug law violations
Among teens: 412,000
Among adults: 944,000
Percent of all hospital emergency cases for heroin and cocaine which involved teenagers in:
Percent of commitments to drug abuse treatment for heroin abuse in 1999 who were under age 20: 3.2 (8,265 of 257,177 total).
Percent of all hospital emergency treatments for Oxycontin (oxycodone) abuse in 2000:
4.2 (454 of 10,820).
Percent who were 35 and older: 61%
Percent of all hospital emergency cases for marijuana which involved teenagers in:
Ratio of arrests for illegal drugs to deaths from abusing drugs for black, Hispanic, or Asian teenagers in California in 1998: 18 to 1.
Ratio for white (non-Hispanic) teenagers: 7 to 1.
Ratio for white (non-Hispanic) adults ages 30 and older: 1 to 3.
Percentage of illegal-drug deaths involving white (non-Hispanic) adults: 65%.
Percentage of drug arrests: 28%.
Percent of all marijuana users and percent of all persons arrested for possession of marijuana who were under age 18:
1990: 9% of users, 12% of those arrested.
1995: 11% of users, 33% of those arrested.
Number of emergency hospital treatments in the last three years CNN (4/19/00) reported involved abuse of the designer and dance-party drug Ecstasy: 1,100
Number of emergency hospital treatments in the last three years involving abuse of Tylenol (a major sponsor of CNN’s report on Ecstasy): 45,000.
Of 25,717 students ages 12-17 surveyed in the National Household Survey in 2000, number who said that at least once in the previous year, they used:
Heroin: 50 (0.2%).
Cocaine: 440 (1.7%)
Marijuana: 3,450 (13.4%).
Any illegal drug: 4,780 (18.6%)
Cigarettes: 5,350 (20.8%)
Alcohol: 8,490 (33.0%).
Of 12,800 high school seniors surveyed by Monitoring the Future (University of Michigan Institute for Social Research) in 2001, number who said they used heroin in the previous year: 115 (nine-tenths of 1%).
In the previous month: 50 (four-tenths of 1%)
Percent who used Ecstasy at least once: 11.7%
Percent who took Ecstasy in the previous month: 2.8%
Number of 17 year-old drivers in fatal drunken driving accidents in 2000: 155.
Number of 40 year-olds: 203.
Number of teenage girls, total (all age 15-19): 147.
Number of 40 year-old MEN: 167.
Average annual number of deaths from alcohol overdose poisoning during the 1990s among persons ages :
over 55: 32.
Percentage of all regular drinkers who are under age 20: 9%
Percentage of drunken driving deaths: 9%.
Percentage of public drunkenness arrests: 9%
2. MURDER, CRIME, AND GUNS
Change in juvenile homicide arrest rate (per 100,000 youths ages 10-17) over last generation (2000 compared to early 1970s): DOWN 46%.
Change among children younger than 13: DOWN 47%.
Change among adults 30-49: DOWN 70%
Change in number of murder arrests per 100,000 juveniles by race/ethnicity in the 4 states which keep statistics (CA, NY, PA, OK), from lowest year (1984) to highest (1991):
Black, UP 37.8
Hispanic, UP 21.1
Asian, UP 7.8
White, UP 0.9
Change from 1991 to 1999:
Black, DOWN 44.1
Hispanic, DOWN 21.9
Asian, DOWN 7.4
White, DOWN 1.9
Annual murder arrest rate among gradeschool children (per 1 million ages 6-12) in the:
In 2000: 1.4
Juveniles (under 18) murdered by other juveniles in 2000: 117
Number of juveniles murdered by adults: 589
Number of adults murdered by juveniles: 256
Number of kids murdered at or around school in the last three years: 47.
Number of kids murdered at home: 3,000.
Odds that a school-aged youth will be murdered by parents at home versus being murdered by a peer at school: 15 to 1.
Odds that a parent will murder their teenage child vs the other way around: 6 to 1.
Number of youths murdered in school shootings since May 1, 1999: 7.
Number of kids killed in mass shootings by middle-aged adults: at least 22.
Number of students murdered at school in the last three years in the “school shootings” featured in headlines and repeated news stories and cited by President Clinton: 25.
Number who were white: 23.
Number of students murdered at school in the same period who received virtually no media or political attention: 32.
Number who were not white: 29.
Mathematical odds that this could be a coincidence: less than 1 in 100,000.
Percent of high school seniors reporting to the annual Monitoring the Future survey that they were injured by an assailant with a weapon at school,
In 1976 (first survey): 5.4%.
In 1986: 5.1%.
In 1996: 4.9%
In 2000 (most recent): 3.2%.
WHO’S REALLY DRIVING CRIME TRENDS?
Change in juvenile violent crime arrest rate (per 100,000 youths ages 10-17) over last generation (2000 compared to 1970-74): UP 21%.
Change among children younger than 13: UP 11%
Change among adults ages 30-49: UP 56%.
Change in teenage “index” (serious felony) arrest rate: DOWN 19%
Change among children: DOWN 38%.
Change among adults 30-49: UP 74%.
Percent of all murders in US which were committed by juveniles in 2000: 5.3%
Percent of all violent crimes: 12.2%
Of all property crimes: 22.1%
Percent of all crimes attributed by the FBI to juveniles versus percent of all persons arrested for those crimes who are juveniles in 2000, for:
Homicide: 5.3% of offenses, 9.3% of arrests
Rape: 12.1% of offenses, 16.4% of arrests
Robbery: 15.5% of offenses, 25.3% of arrests
Aggravated assault: 11.7% of offenses, 13.9% of arrests
Property crime: 22.1% of offenses, 32.0% of arrests.
WHO’S DOING ALL THE SHOOTING?
Average number of gun fatalities 1990-98, US, per year: 35,800.
Number involving persons under age 20, per year: 5,000.
Number involving accidental shootings of children under age 10: 60.
Average number of gun fatalities, US, in most recent year (1998): 30,407.
Number involving persons under age 20, per year: 3,752.
Number involving accidental shootings of children under age 10: 53.
Age group most likely to die by gunfire:
For whites: the elderly
For blacks, Hispanics, Asians: young adults.
Gun death rate in major states, 1980 through 1998, per 100,000 youths ages 0-19:
Among white youth in the richest state for whites (Massachusetts): 1.1.
In the poorest state for whites (Louisiana): 12.3.
Among black youth in the richest state for blacks (New Jersey): 21.7
In the poorest state for blacks (Minnesota): 55.1.
Percentage of all 1998 gun deaths that involved persons under age 20 in the ten states rated by the Children’s Defense Fund as having the “best” laws to protect children from guns: 14.4%.
Percentage in the states rated as “worst”: 11.2%.
3. SEX & THE CALIFORNIA TEEN (AND ADULT)
Number of junior high-age girls (15 and younger) who gave birth in 2000: 895
Fathers were junior high-age boys (15 and younger): <100
Fathers were senior high-age boys (16-18): 300
Fathers were post high school men (19 and older): 500
Poverty and birth rate among California teenagers (per 100,000 age 15-19):
In the richest major county for White teens (Marin, 4% in poverty): 9
In the poorest for whites (Kern, 13%): 79
In the richest major county for blacks (Santa Cruz, 20%): 23
In the poorest (Tulare, 41%): 195.
In the richest major county for Hispanics (Marin, 15%): 70.
In the poorest (Fresno, 39%): 137.
In the richest major county for Asians (San Luis Obispo, 4%): 12.
In the poorest (Fresno, 56%): 142.
Among teens in Canada (9% in poverty): 20
Among teens in Sweden (3% in poverty): 12
Age group with lowest per-capita increase in HIV/AIDS infection rates in last decade (as measured by new HIV/AIDS diagnoses during 20s): teens age 13-19
Age group with most rapid increase: 30-49.
The “leading edge” of the AIDS epidemic (assuming a 5-year average time lag from infection to diagnosis) as measured by new HIV infection numbers and rates per 100,000 population in 2000:
Infected as teens (diagnosed at age 13-24): 5.8 (2,692 new cases)
Infected as 20-agers (diagnosed at age 25-34): 13.5 (5,032)
Infected as 30-agers (diagnosed at age 35-44): 10.0 (4,930)
Infected as 40-agers (diagnosed at age 45-54): 5.3. (1,983)
Percent of all HIV infectees from heterosexual intercourse which are females:
Percent of total new HIV cases teenagers account for, according to the National Office on AIDS Policy: 25%.
Actual new cases teens account for, according to the most recent Center for Disease Control tabulation, 2000: 14%.
Change in HIV infection rates, 2000 vs 1995:
Age 13-24, DOWN 7%
25-34, UP 3%
35-44, UP 44%
45-54, UP 73%
Fastest-growing population for HIV infection, as claimed by the National Office on AIDS Policy: teens and young adults
Fastest-growing population for HIV infection in reality, as shown in the most recent CDC reports: adults ages 30-59.
Male population showing riskiest sexual behaviors, according to the June 2000 CDC study: ages 30-49.
Age change in HIV infectees in recent years, according to National Office on AIDS policy and Tipper Gore: “GETTING YOUNGER.”
Age change in HIV infectees in recent years, according to CDC reports: GETTING OLDER — (31.7 in 1990, 32.2 in 1995, 32.5 in 1999, 33.0 new 2000 diagnoses).
4. ECONOMICS, JOBS, SCHOOLS — DISOWNING THE FUTURE
Percent of persons under age 18 in poverty, 1960: 27%
Percent, 1970: 15%
Percent, 1980: 18%
Percent, 2000: 16%
Percent of children and youths (under age 18) in low-income families (under twice poverty income), 2000: 37%.
Percent in severe poverty (less than half poverty income): 7%
Median income (in constant, inflation-adjusted, 2000 dollars) and change in income, families headed by persons:
Age 18-24 in 1950: $15,924
In 1970: $27,189 (UP 71%)
In 2000: $26,508 (DOWN 3%).
Age 25-44 in 1950: $21,381
In 1970: $41,104 (UP 92%)
In 2000: $53,106 (UP 29%).
Age 45-64 in 1950: $21,329
In 1970: $43,916 (UP 106%)
In 2000: $63,468 (UP 45%)
Age 65+ in 1950: $11,597
In 1970: $19,523 (UP 68%)
In 1999: $32,854 (UP 68%).
Income gap between generations (earnings among age 45-64 versus 18-24):
In 1950: +34%
In 1970: +62%
In 2000: +139%
Juveniles, percent in poverty and murder arrest rates (reporting states) in 1999:
Black: 30.9%, 16.8 per 100,000
Hispanic: 28.0%, 8.2
Asian: 15.7%, 3.8
White: 9.4%, 1.1
Canadian: 10%, 1.5
Percentage of youths who graduated from high school
In 1960: 69.5
In 1970: 76.7
In 1980: 71.3
In 2000: 70.6
Average ACT test score and percent of students taking test:
1970: 20.6, 19% took test
1980: 20.5, 20% took test
2000: 21.0, 38% took test
Average undergraduate tuition costs, public 2-year and 4-year universities, in constant (inflation adjusted) 1999 dollars:
In 1965: 2-year $591; 4-year, $1,773
In 1980: $781, $1,827
In 1999: $1,328, $3,644
5. THE “CULTURE WARS” — TRUTH IS THE FIRST CASUALTY
Video games, music, and murder
1990, number of teenaged boys who played violent interactive video games: 0.
Number of rap music (including “gangsta”) albums sold, 1990: 74 million.
Number of teenage boys arrested for murder in 1990: 6,600.
2000, number of teenage boys who played violent video games: 5 million.
Number of rap/gangsta albums sold: 125 million.
Number of teenage boys arrested for murder: 3,250.
Rate of non-Hispanic white teenagers arrested for murder (reporting states) in 1990: 3.1 per 100,000.
Rate in 1999: 1.2 per 100,000.
CAMELS, CIGARETTE ADS, SMOKING — EVERYBODY’S WRONG
Percentage of 12-17 year-olds who smoked cigarettes in the previous month in the last National Household Survey before RJR Reynolds introduced the “Joe Camel” advertising icon in 1988: 15%.
Percent in the first survey following Joe Camel’s introduction (1990): 12%.
Percent in next three surveys (1991, 1992, 1993): 12%, 11%, 10%.
Percent of high school seniors who reported smoking at least once a month in 1987, before Joe Camel was introduced: 29.4%.
Percent in 1989: 28.6%
Percent in next three surveys (1990, 1991, 1992): 29.4%, 28.3%, 27.8%.
Change in smoking by 12-13 year-olds after Joe Camel was introduced (1988-90): DOWN 33%.
Change in spending (constant 1996 dollars) by cigarette companies on advertising and promotion, 1975 to 1992: UP 308%
Change in teenage smoking initation rates, 1975-92: DOWN 8%.
Change in cigarette ad and promotion spending, 1992-97: DOWN 14%.
Change in teen smoking initiation: UP 27%.
Percent of high school seniors smoking half a pack-plus per day in 1970s: 18.4%
Percent in 1987: 11.4%
Percent in 1992: 10.0%
Percent in 2000: 11.3%
Average age teens began smoking in the 1970s: 15.5.
Average in 1990s: 15.7
FROGS, 40s, BOOZE ADS — DITTO
1988, percent of 12-17 year-olds who drank at least once a month: 33%
Percent of 12-17 year-olds who drank five or more drinks in a row: 15%
Number and percent of fatal traffic accidents among drivers under age 20 that involved drinking, 1988: 5,479, 52%.
Introduction of malt liquor, Budweiser bullfrog, wine cooler, and other intensive alcohol marketing campaigns: late 1980s, early 1990s.
2000, percent of 12-17 year-olds who drank at least once a month: 16.4%
Percent of 12-17 year-olds who drank five or more drinks in a row: 10.4%.
Number and percent of fatal traffic accidents among drivers under age 20 that involved drinking, 2000: 2,845, 32%.
1998, Percent of white students who drank at least once a month: 21%
Percent of black students: 13%
Percent of Hispanic students: 19%.
WHO ARE THE REAL VIDEOTS?
Number of hours per week 12-17 year-olds watched TV in 1980: 22.8 hours.
Number of hours in 2000: 19.4.
Number of hours per week adults 25 watched TV in 1980: 30.3
Number of hours in 2000: 31.0
By Michael Albert
How would a person in your school, workplace, or neighborhood saying “we need a revolution” or “I am a revolutionary” or “justice requires a revolution,” sound to those listening? Quaint? Anachronistic? Sectarian? Juvenile? Laughable?
I just turned fifty. I remember being twenty and particularly the hostile feelings I then had about most older folks. It wasn’t their greater experience, or relative lack of energy, or anything else directly attributable to additional years that I minded. What outraged me was their dismissal of what they smirkingly called “youthful idealism and naïveté”
They didn’t critique my views of society. They didn’t assess my hopes for something better or question my commitment to work for it. They waved all this aside like one might the muttering of a psychotic paranoid person. You’ll grow out of it like we did, they intoned. You are young and unlearned and don’t realize that social gains can only be modest, regardless of right and wrong, they preached. You are melodramatic, self destructive, egocentric and throwing your future away, they squeaked. They didn’t try to add coherence, clarity, and reach to my social picture, but only ridiculed it to get me off the activist road I was on.
I also remember how my generation was going to be different. Nothing would ever disrupt our honest perception of the conditions of society, of ourselves, and of our fellow citizens. Nothing would reverse our values or commitments. We were 1968 revolutionaries, and certainly the simple fact of getting older, year after year, was not going to turn us around. Politics was in command and it would not be supplanted by the habits of compromised lives. No ticky tack for us. No gray flannel death. We would not become clowns on commission. We would never walk down ancient empty streets.
When I was twenty, like all my friends, I didn’t think youthful vim, vigor, outrage, and passion, were a phase to be transcended. If these aspects of our lives receded as we advanced in years, we all challenged ourselves, it would not be owing to biological clocks, but to the wear and tear of oppressive institutions. If we lost our commitment, we went on record as believing, it would not be a sign of increased wisdom, insight, or practicality, but that we succumbed to social battering and self-serving compromise. And we knew this could not happen. Eyes in our pockets, nose on the ground? My generation? No way.
In our best moments we all agreed that learning to transcend comfortable fantasies would be progress. That developing a sense of timing and proportion would be progress. That developing tolerance for things not previously understood would be progress. Even that learning to empathize with the “maturity” we hated in our elders once we understood the powerful pressures that cause it, would be progress. But we also knew that becoming what we rejected-would not be progress. No Pied Piper prison for us. We knew what we wanted. We would live entirely for it.
Well, truth to tell, wise and prescient as we were at the time, it seems that my generation, thirty years older, was not much better at avoiding getting turned around than the generations that preceded us. Someplace along the path we stopped being born, and now we are busy dying.
It may happen that we look ourselves in the mirror and see someone old in spirit because over the years we have understandably bent ourselves to amicably survive in hostile circumstances without constantly contesting nearly everyone we encountered and suffering loneliness as a result. Or we may have lost our edge because we have rationalized crossing to the side of cursed money. But however understandable or craven, our loss of fight is a sign of collapse, not maturity.
No doubt this screed isn’t particularly relevant to most Z readers but I think the message has merit: Enough rationalization from my generation, please. Don’t be liberal about this, to use a phrase from our past. Ask your old friends (or parents) who were revolutionary in their values and ideas and commitments at twenty and who aren’t now, can you honestly say that your current self could out reason, or hold his or her head higher, or be more proud, or is accomplishing more for others, or is more admirable, then your younger version? In such cases, I suspect that what has been lost outweighs what has been gained. More, a sense of reality, of proportion, and a degree of tolerance and of empathy could all have been gained while maintaining our revolutionary mind set and commitments. Indeed, without adding the former, the latter are worth less.
My generation-or the part I am addressing-was revolutionary for some very simple reasons. If those reasons were ill-conceived and if there have been no substitute reasons learned later to maintain the old stance, then, yes, I agree, we should all have mellowed. Flailing at windmills or false obstacles isn’t admirable. But if our reasons for being revolutionary were just and compelling thirty years ago, and if since then the rise and fall of social well being have only added more reasons for revolutionary commitment, then we should still be who we were, only more so.
In 1968 the Weatherman had a succinct credo: Country Sucks, Kick Ass. This, I admit, wasn’t an intellectual meal to last a lifetime. But for most folks who were committed thirty years ago, even those in outrageously immature organizations, the motivations and insights that led us to call ourselves revolutionary were sound.
We realized, with various degrees of emphasis on this or that part of life, that we live in a society whose defining institutions are woefully inadequate. When our basic institutions work at their absolute best and as rhetoric says they ought to, alienation, disenfranchisement, inequality, misdirection of energies, violation of earth and sky, denial of human potential, and indignity are all endemic. And when the basic institutions stray from rhetorical attributes and radiate their true colors, which is almost all the time, the horrendous results include gross poverty, rampant anti-social violence, vile racism, epidemic rape, sweat shops, international starvation, and death squads.
When we were younger the institutions we found culpable for all these ills were private ownership of the means of production, market competition, the patriarchal nuclear family, coercive hierarchical government, and racism and bigotry in all their forms. We understood that mitigating the pains these institutions produce by winning immediate limited reforms was a very positive immediate aim. But we also understood that the ultimate goal for anyone truly concerned about human well being had to be attaining new institutions that could facilitate societal production, consumption, allocation, procreation, socialization, celebration, and administration not for the benefit of a few, but consistent with the most humane and just aspirations of the many.
We believed in human potential. We foresaw real people, like ourselves, conducting themselves socially and humanely if only they could be born and live in environments that didn’t preclude such choices. We favored finding new ways of organizing work and consumption, new ways of deciding who had a claim on what parts of the social product. We favored men and women birthing and parenting new generations without imbuing misogynist assumptions, hierarchical attitudes. We sought a world in which humans respected their natural home and were mindful caretakers of its wealth and beauty. We sought justice in allocation and in circumstance. We wanted differences to be celebrated and the celebration of spirit to reflect our ever growing knowledge of our selves and our natural environments. We thought people could behave with social conscience and mutual solidarity not out of a supernatural transformation of our natures, but by virtue of being born and prospering in respectful, dignified, instructive environments. And in all this we were not utopian or wild-eyed, but perfectly sensible.
There was nothing wrong with our reasoning thirty years ago, and no evidence whatsoever has accumulated over the past three decades to sunder its basic insights. On the contrary, we know more now than we did then about what kinds of changes are needed and about what the obstacles are to attaining them. The vile impositions of our society’s defining institutions on the motivations of elites and the power and means to mystify and malign the rest of us that is institutionally vested in those elites have been made repeatedly evident.
So what is the implication?
Well, it isn’t that we run around screaming “revolution now,” or “country sucks, kick ass,” obviously. But there is a considerable difference between: (a) having one’s head in the sand and doing nothing meant to change the world for the better, (b) working for valuable changes but with one’s focus only on the immediate reforms being sought, and (c) working for immediate changes while focused also on long-run solutions. Our commitment to ultimately revolutionize all sides of life should affect how our immediate campaigns are defined, what immediate goals we seek, and how we seek these goals. It should inform what we talk about when we organize, write, speak, and teach-what ideas we try to convey, what commitments we try to elicit. This is what seems missing from progressive and left activism, and from our very lives, today. And I think the absence of unifying goals, of shared long-term commitment, and of attention to communicating these forthrightly at every opportunity weakens not only our prospects of organizing usefully toward a distant end, but also our near-term efforts to reduce pain today. Today’s activism, for want of revolutionary designs and spirit, is often ill informed, frequently lacks integrity, and virtually never incorporates the kind of logic, solidarity, and spirit that can sustain long-term involvement by suffering constituencies.
Current movements are most often too narrow, too lacking in scope and in spiritual and moral appeal to attract wide support. Remarkably, they often celebrate their very weaknesses, their lack of vision, their lack of breath, their lack of anything resembling audacity and passion, as if these debits were virtues. At the level of feeling, of emotion, and of consciousness, our projects often do little to overcome and sometimes even contribute to the main hesitancy that impedes most people today from taking a progressive stand: the belief that nothing significantly better than what America offers is logically possible, or, even if it is logically possible, that certainly nothing significantly better than what we endure can actually be attained-so why bother? Our projects rarely convey a broad understanding of systemic causes of problems and almost never offer positive institutional alternatives to the status quo to provide hope and motivation. Because of this from the outside (and often from the inside too) our efforts look just like or sometimes even worse than the status quo, and so they are generally powerless to address the average citizen’s deep seated cynicism.
A left worth joining in the U.S. today should be fighting vigorously for immediate gains that can alleviate suffering and advance a degree of immediate dignity and justice for people, of course. We should be trying to win a thirty hour work week with full pay, full employment, real affirmative action, a comprehensive housing program, a humane health care program, a rich pre-school and public education program, a real living wage, electoral reforms that empower disenfranchised constituencies, a non-intrusive foreign policy, workers and community rights over corporate greed, and many other gains one can think of. But behind these immediate goals we should develop and communicate not only how these changes are each good in their own right, but how they gain immensely when linked together as part of a process of developing movements and organizations capable of attaining a new society whose broad character we need to be able to lay out in clear and reasonably concise language, and whose details we need to evolve by our practice.
Once one has understood even the most elementary truths about capitalism, patriarchy, racism, and authoritarianism, as so many of us have at one time or another in our lives, I don’t see how less than the above is honest, just, or strategic. Optimistically, I also think the public is readier than it has been in decades for a movement that clearly and passionately offers long-term vision and commitment as well as immediate short-term benefit.
So what are we waiting for?
We need to replace all the timidity, the defensiveness, the worry about being thought juvenile or irresponsible that has grown since the sixties with bold, honest, forthright statements of what is oh so obviously true, now as before. This country needs a revolution, the most profound and broad revolution in history, and people of good will and clear vision need to be working for it, on vision, on strategy, on program, on building alliances and organizations, on winning immediate reforms and parlaying them into greater power to win still more gains in a continuing trajectory of struggle, now and hereafter. We need to know what we want. And we need to live and fight for it. Entirely.
Michael Albert is a founding editor of Z Mag this article and more can be found there
What are we going to do with all these young folk. What if they start asking questions. What if they start realising what is going on. What if they figure out, we are invoking the real big brother, as we spoon feed them the game.
We will do what we always do, distract them, always works. The adoration of idols, the self, machismo, vanity, nurture obsessive behaviour patterns, MTV, noise. We cannot allow youth to get out of control, unless it is by our own instigation. We need to let them think that they are winning the game but are in actual fact, playing our game
Each new generation thinks they have it nailed, to use one of the US colloquialisms that have become so prevalent in western culture. My youth seems so dull and boring when compared to the buzz that is around today. I look at work that I produced in the seventies (photography) and realised that I didn’t produce very much, well not in the physical, material sense. Compared to the average young artist nowadays – a CV of exhibitions the length of your arm, published catalogues, web sites, media exposure and commercial galleries selling their work by the van full. (if you are to be successful, constant production is an imperative)
I mention the art world, as an example because of my own personal experience. But the buzz for output permeates through the whole of youth culture today, music, fashion, sport, media, politics – firing on all cylinders and traveling at the speed of light.
The odd thing is, as we are constantly reminded, that we are living in the world of changing ideas, new ways of looking at things, a youth culture that is demanding a new vibrant, interchanging, multimedia, crossover, fusion, multi cultural experience – In a culture where youth has become the zeitgeist in which all standards of lifestyle are being measured, the question I would like to ask is -what has changed for the young over the last three or four generations. Did the youthful revolution of the sixties work. Has youth slid back into a 1950s controlled and manufactured culture, disguised as hip.
One of the difficulties of being young is lack of retrospection. Another is understanding you will, grow old. The young rely on the experience of the old to acquire a knowledge of history and past events, that can be compared or held against present day situations for comparison. What else have they to go on. (That is not to say that you believe everything you hear. The young like the old must always study the facts and evidence, then use this to make up your own mind in judging, what you think is the truth.)
The difficulty for some older people is understanding the young to being from another planet, or in their [older generations] being unable to communicate with young people, in the context of the young persons experience. The expression” I don’t understand the young anymore” used by an older generation is a sign of getting old, not growing old and shows the same disrespect and lack of understanding that the young can have for the old. We are all on the same planet and our problems do not stem much from young and old, but rather, rich and poor.
“As a sort of insurance policy, the government stunts self-confidence, individuality and creativity at the earliest age possible, knowing full well that its resurgence in adult life will then be unlikely. People must be trained for submission when they are most vulnerable to impression, which happens to be when they are young.” 1
It is only through the experience. of my youth that I think, act and believe what I do today. Our youthful experiences profoundly effect what we become as mature and hopefully responsible and responsive, adults. The concerns I have in middle age for youth is not that I don’t understand them. I understand them as well, and in some respects have more in common with them as I do with my contemporaries. (those who have forgotten the experience of youth)
We all have the same genes (We are not talking Levi’s here) young, old, past and present, generations included, share the same basic needs. What makes us different in society terms is external influences – of dogmas, of propaganda, of fashions, that try to shape our relationship with our fellow human beings.
Young,old, male, female, black white are contrasted in the mix that works to highlight the seemingly natural, cultural differences between age, gender and colour, that is used to separate, the rich from the poor and distract people from their politics.
In retrospect, I saw my youth as less cluttered by distraction as the youth of today have to contend with, as they make their way in understanding the world and their place with in it. No I didn’t produce much art in those days, I don’t think it was important, well not as important as the cultural community that I was involved in, which relied more on camaraderie than funding, invention rather than production, ideas rather than output. By no means was this a perfect world, but it seemed to be a relatively easier world in which to grow, culturally, intellectually, and politically, than the nullifying experience our young have to face today.
Today’s youth are no more or no less talented, able or capable than any other generation in achieving a creative, happy life. What is different today is a set of circumstances and conditions put in place that could bar them from achieving this.
What I want to look at here is some of these devices which on the surface appear to be youth driven but are in fact mechanisms of state control and have more in common with a Totalitarian society rather than the free, open, fun loving society that we are perceived to be.
So,How cool is the cool. is the question I will ask:
If we look at the recent developments in our society with any kind of critical eye, which we should always do, we should notice two important things. One is the drastic changes in our communities, workspaces, environments, education systems, health systems, housing, consumption, entertainment, socialising, communication. All are in turmoil and in flux as our societies compete to, stay ahead, meet the requirements of new global challenges, make our mark, expand our interests, take our share, deliver the goods, keep our world safe, protect our interests and so on. This is the first thing -Everything is being rearranged in our communities because change is good and we need always to change -It is important that our young learn to accept this experience as normal.
The second thing is. Those who drive these changes never change.
The bankers, the statesmen, the heads of industry, our leaders and those who drive the change, always remain in power and always stay rich. If we look at our history over say the last three hundred years or so, you can not help noticing this. Through wars, revolutions, famine, drought, catastrophe the top level remains exactly the same -in power and rich – While we at the bottom, are constantly reshaping our world to maintain this power structure at the top.
When the rich and powerful are not busy exploiting our young by destroy the young of other countries in order to make the rich richer, or keeping us frightened of other nations destroying us, they will be doing their most important work at home – for the real war is between the upper class and the domestic population.
How to keep the population at home distracted, from the fact that they are being duped and set against each other, in order to maintain the age old power base at the top is the problem of elite powers. Understanding this is the key to understanding racism, sexism, ageism sectarianism and the devices used to keep communities divided.
In this context, it is not to difficult to understand the noise and chaos that is described as “youth culture”, mainly controlled by the above, age old power base. This idea is two fold. One is to give the young the idea that they are in control, the other is to suppress any progressive movement that would give the young a voice, in any real issues that affect them. The other is to appropriat the genuine dynamic of youth culture into passive commodities.
The crises for governments is not to alleviate poverty and be responsive to the needs of the young, or the many who are growing up in poverty, but rather to shift the blame onto the shoulders of the victims. These devices and tools of persuasion for this task, are not buried in mysterious texts, or only understood by the educated few, but are enmeshed in our day to day lives and activities and are there if you chose to look for them.
•Business in the education place
•The promotion of mediocrity
“You are what you wear, what you snack on, how you accessorize. Ever heard of the “echo boomers?” Generation Y, generation wired, the digital generation, millenials? If not, you probably haven’t been reading the retail trade journals— BrandWeek, Sporting Goods Business , and Target Marketing , among others. You’ve missed out on the frenzy, the corporate executives tripping over themselves to survey, study, and create brand loyalty in their “demographic darlings”—the 78 million children born since 1978.”
Marketing to Teens You click girl! By Cynthia Peters
The job of the good educator
Surely an education geared towards creative thought and common sense would prompt such question concerning the wealthy. Why have they got all the cash and we’ve got all the work. So the first thing that this system needs to happen is dissuading common sense and autonomous, creativity and replace it with the rules of an ideology. This is the job of the education system.
After the ideological training and boredom of the education system our young join the boredom of the work system or the unemployed system. ( by now any creative urge will hopefully have been dulled) Here the risk of common sense could once again creep in, and where the ultimate tool in social and political neutralisation kicks in. The entertainment industry. The world of other peoples dreams.
The entertainment system is by far become the most powerful tool of distraction, whille alleviating, especially of the young, their liberty and political vision. The entertainment system is both sectarian in flavours, but all encompassing in purpose. One thinks of the quote from Marx, about the slaves running towards their chains, when we look at the powerful persuasive tool of entertainment. Here, the craving for change and social reform can float off into the ether, as the mind is mesmerized by packages of emotional titillation, posing as love, anarchy, and revolution.
The post industrial music complex
Music is used in many diversified forms, from inducing armies to march, to pacifying the nervous system. In oral traditions music served as both news bringer and story telling, communicating traditional aspects of culture. The church relied strongly on music to spread the message of its gospels. The Classical tradition and operas served the needs of the aristocracy through high drama. Music there for has always been a diverse conduit for ideas, culture and propaganda. What I wish to examine here is not music as a discipline, creative vehicle, or perhaps a study in mathematics, but music purely as a distraction, politically and culturally -a junk food for the mind.
The strength of music to carry a message, relies on the message making sense, even without the music. Music having the ability to influence actions seems remote, when, to para phrase Frank Zappa. If music influenced how people act, we would all love each other, as 99% of music, has love as its theme. What pop music in the pejorative sense forms, Is a kind of cultural ballast. Something that fills a space or void in ideas. The expansion of the entertainment industry over the last 30 years particularly the music industry, is witness to the breakdown of creative community, where the reliance on sophisticated technology, and business backing expands, and the sophistication of indigenous ideas and invention shrinks.
Exploiting the Scapegoat Generation
Why do working people use entertainment it obliterate the drudgery of their day. Why not obliterate the drudgery through creative work If a community and its people are fulfilling their social needs, are enjoying their work, their pastimes and are participating in community affairs and interests, there is no need to party every weekend, as particularly our youth seem to think is necessary. The proliferation of youth culture -that is the business of youth culture – is a two edged sword which creates wealth for the business interests and is then is used by the same interests, as a club, to beat young people over the head with. What is becoming known as the win win situation
For example the same council administration that hands out city centre, licence’s for twenty bars in close proximity to each other, each competing for the same usually, young clientele, through cheap early evening drinking, are the same authority who are suggesting on the spot fines for drunken disorder in our streets. This is the same win win situation as building new and better roads, bridges and access into the town centre. (which never work) then blanketing the city with parking meters and double yellow lines, in order to creat revenue. Cars, people, no diference so long as profits are turning.
The diverting of autonomous youth
Get stuff, get drunk, get up, go to work… After the education system and work begins. By this time a well trained student is tuned to the necessities of life. Get money. The worship of money is proof that the education system works. The sums have been well learned. Money equals happiness. Without money nothing can be done. The freedom to imagine is compressed by the abstraction called money. Each new idea will be pitted against its ability to convert to money. Everything useful, becomes financially unfeasible, unviable, unoperatable, unless it makes sense to the quantity surveyor and the accountant. Once the idea is adjusted to financial exploitation then anything goes, with the emphasis on anything. The youth market start buying their own ideas back after readjusting and dulling by the process of plagiarism and accountancy.
There may be variations of the uniforms, but they are all cut from the same cloth of capitalist consumption
It is not youth “culture” (the verb) that drives the world wide market in skip-caps and trainers (sneakers). What homogenises “youth culture” (the noun) into a sea of unbridled consumption but the captains of business, consisting mostly of the older generation. Street culture survives or dies not by the decisions of youthfu,l peers, but by business managers and its commercialised potential. Yes we have some youthfully entrepreneurs and millionaires, but it is typical “old capital” that is in charge of the commercialising of youth culture and the restraining of ambition, unless through technological compulsion and mindless entertainment.
Left wing philosophy packaged as entertainment
The degrading of autonomous culture to the level of facile entertainment is two fold. One it emphasizes only one aspect of an idea, usually harmless, and transfers the idea into a commodity. The television program Big Brother is a classic example of this technique. The irony being, In the real Big Brother (Orwell 19:84) the television watches the people, and the people tried to avoid the TV. Big Brother also gives credence to the idea that the right wing, make more use of left wing propaganda, than the people it was meant for.
Mass capitalist events posing as right -on
The music festival and such like has turned the full circle. Born out of of the hope for a free society has transmogrified into expressing the opposite. A pre-packaged construction down to the sleeping bag, tent, veggie burger and conveire belt of acts. The transfer of the free festival into commercial control. But still maintaining the idea of freedom
The record industry has returned to the 50s the era before the summer of love where it packaged and manufactured the acts, in alphabetical order and style to suit all tastes by label only. High production techniques and plagiarism nullifying again the development of young autonomous talent.
If the aim is to control autonomous society, we need to implement devices to control ambition. That is, supplant personal creative ambition with more harmless trivial pursuits from an early age.
It is an imperative in maintaining control of perceptions of ambition is that we control youth, by the encouragement of of unreachable goals. Only the selected few will attain these heights, which will be both harmless and short lived. but will serve the purpose of a belief that these goals are indeed achievable by even the most un ambitious, or with any pre-determined talent of the candidate. The above could be the business remit for most television programming aimed at the young.
The new masters and servants
Then we have the middle class’s who are busy educating their children in the arts of horse riding, music, learning to ski, before they are eight, holidays and summer camp. Few of these kids ever learn how to repair a meal, get involve in a hard days labour, or clean up their own mess.
The service industry as the government see it is the savior of jobs. Each time a new leisure complex is built, another retail mall, we are providing new jobs is the mantra, but what kind of jobs, cleaning up after those who never learned to do it for themselves.
so how cool is the cool
So what is youth culture? Television, record companies, manufacturers of gear, clothing companies, games manufacturers, pubs, clubs. Youth culture, is an invention of corporations which panders to the illusion of care free youth but under pins the appropriation of the free development of youth through” a scapegoat generation”. How
The creaming off of the profits of antisocial behaviour, drugs, alcohol, and so forth while implementing bureaucratic and unworkable laws to seemingly enforce the suppression of the same. (Like selling arms to both sides in the conflict). Encouraging the worship of idols, and charismatic figures through music and trash TV, disjointed history and the trivialisation of historical events as mere references to style. When our young are ready with questions they are patronised with the above then criticized for irresponsibility by an older generation who profit from the gains of so called youth culture. While the same older generation who control the commercialised youth culture are exactly the same generation who send our youth to slaughter their peers in Iraq, Vietnam and Bosnia and are the same generation who keep our youth in poverty and silence.
Our education systems make sence if the above is the planed outcomes: Why is there no lessons in the carricculum dedecated to thinking, Propaganda, media manipulation, bullying, not just in the playground, but in our government, in our businesses as well as around the world. the predatory and aggressive market economy, which will probably go down in history as one of peoplekinds blackest and destructive eras. Why is there nothing in school education, that would prepair our children from such debilitating processes. Rather the opposit is true, we encurage our kids to participate in these abomonations as a way of life. Being a teenager is a time to dream – of the adventure that anything is possible. Most of these creative posibilities get smothered in market trivia, or by the conformaty of rote slavery – that helps the older generation to believe the lie about who teenagers are.
Learning from the cool
“Cool” is a jazz term, when used, stood for the integration of aspects of quality in response to coordination, invention, interaction which created a style of music that’s integrity was judged by the musicians who performed it and their peers. This music was developed in an era of repression, despite, no commercial interest, racism and poverty – flourished into an art form, which reflected the ideas the soul, politics, community and history, of black people, which has extended to the present day. The struggle of all youth has much to learn from the struggle of black communities in the fight for equality in a society designed to ignore them
“Cool” is not what you had for dinner, or what you wear, cool is more than that. The rebirth of the cool, could be an interesting lesson, especially for the younger generation, in helping them to plot a course to a meaningful, useful and fulfilling life, as they wade through the morass of pulp culture that’s function is to distract them from achieving this end.
Stay cool. B.
___Notes___Related Links see side bar______________________
Citystrolls, Main Page
“The call is for all young people to wake up and make change in this world before this world has permanently changed them. “
Your parents can’t do it for you. The education board, the jobs market, or even the lifestyle advisors, charismatic heroes and media icons. The angst is. The awareness, that your future is not determined – but must be freely chosen.
We are all born free. It is what happens to us between the time of our birth and adolescence that disrupts and constantly threatens. And, if you let it, it eventually smothers freedom. It is when young people reach that part of adolescence, when they start acting “strange”, “don’t understand”. or “can’t be understood”. When they are growing through what elders describe as “that funny stage”. That so called “funny stage” is an important development stage between childhood and maturity, and usually one of reflection and confusion as to what the world has in store. How this transition is perceived or understood by the young is the difference between becoming a pro-active citizen, or being resigned to the roll of the passive tax payer.
Is it a wonder that this is a confusing time? Between the systematic discipline of school, and the glittery unreality of television, kids have a choice to make. But that choice, for most young people, can be very narrow and constricted, and contained within a job category, exam results, and an employer’s demands. All is determined by just how the young candidate fits into the jobs market – a market which is occupied mainly by producing useless products and services for the most part. Perhaps those exempt from these pressures are those in creative work – a chosen few.
The successful candidate will then look forward to the unrewarding boredom of the average workday. For relief, these workers turn to the endless boredom of the entertainment industry, offered on television at the end of the day. And, in a vicious cycle, the tedium of the tellie is just not enough to get away from the tedium of the job. By adulthood, the cycle becomes complete and reinforced, and getting off the merry-go-round becomes very difficult.
To lead a free and creative life (which should be our hope for all young people, not just our own) this cycle of dependence and depression must be broken. This I believe is one of the fundamental problems facing adolescence. On the other hand, the problems of those who gain the most – the “bosses”, the “rich”, the network executives, the financial investors – show a desire to maintain the cycle of distraction that will NOT allow the smooth transition from wage slavery that takes up most of working people’s lives.
Any doubt in young peoples’ minds, any hesitation, when they are met with future prospects, or what these job choices may entail, is seen by parents and teachers as ungratefulness, selfishness, rebellion, trouble making, and failure to fit in. If you do not conform to the rigidity of the system, you are considered a failure, and an outcast. This is the usual perception of adults to awkward teenagers.
The rebellion of adolescence is always read as negative, and sometimes it is. I believe that most times it is not. I believe it is a healthy skepticism at the start of a life of (perhaps) drudgery and confinement – a healthy attempt to reject what they perceive lies ahead – a class system that destroys the creative urge and banishes most of our young to one-dimensional rote slavery of employment.
Who can blame the young from rejecting the life of a slave? For when we take away the mortgage, the car, the few weeks holiday, the new washing machine, the toys of adulthood…what’s left? Eight hours plus of “the grind” per day which pays for the toys of adulthood. The worse the job is, the more toys are needed to allay the boredom. The cycle of rote slavery continues unabated. This has become most working peoples’ experience…and these are the LUCKY ones! Think about those who don’t even have a job…
This never seems to cross the minds of those who criticize…those who deem turbulent adolescence as kids wasting their time in protest. It surely makes challenged parents question the lifestyles which they have chosen. Does it ever cross the mind of the “older” generation, as it does the administrators of capital, that the above prospect is what is going through the minds of young people who do not fit in? In the minds of company directors, of course it does. The architects of distraction are not stupid. They know that you either deal fairly with peoples’ needs, or you create a system to control those needs.
We live in a society today where an older generation which has created wealth in better times, and who benefit from venture capital schemes, and who also create and profit from what they have promoted for the young minds and bodies to consume. At the same time, the youth of our society are growing up in a world of insecurity which this kind of investment breeds. Jobs which would create both security and interest in our young are being drained from our cities and comunities, and exported abroad to the lowest bidder. The West is rapidly becoming one big service industry that only deals in information processing and, for the unfortunate, cleaning up other people’s messes.
Most of the problems with youth lie with my generation’s inability to offer them hope, knowledge and choice, and to encourage their vision towards a broader universe. Instead we are forcing our young into a narrower frame of self interests in order to survive. We, the older generation, are living off of the profits which exploit the young, because the older generation created, built and control the tools for this exploitation. We cannot, therefore, start blaming the young for the world we have created. Rather we should be sacrificing some time and money, and offering hope and security by educating them in the lessons of our folly.
These reflections are written by a a father, a man of middle age, and I am in no way trying to speak for the young. It is up to the young to speak for themselves. What I can say is that my politics and world view has not changed much since I was about 5 years old. I knew all was not right in the world when I was incarcerated at school. Between the time of escaping incarceration at school, at age 15, and reaching the age of 20, I was thoroughly convinced someone else was trying to shape my future without consulting me. I have been trying to rectify that situation ever since.
Someone said,”When you are young, you get blamed for things that you didn’t do, and, when you are older, you get the credit for the wisdom of things that had nothing to do with you”. So it balances out.
Having said that, I turn now to Tony Blair. Tony Blair, at present, is trying to hang the blame for societies ills on the liberating ’60’s. When right wing politiciams such as Blair and Bush start haranguing about the youthful revolution on the 1960’s,something must be worrying them about it. Could it be that today’s youth are picking up on the lessons and progressive ideas of the ’60’s, rather than the fashion, music or the junk of that era…which incidentally is now being repackaged and hyped and sold by Blair-ite types – entrepreneurs and businesses?
We should hope so. And, if they are, one of the lessons which should be learned from the youthful revolution of the 1960’s is this: determine your politics and actions by class, NOT age, because you do not stay young forever, and you will still need to fight for and be protecting your childrens’ liberties – even in your 50’s, or beyond.
Rebirth of the Cool
The youth in our communities are one of the most useful scapegoats for societies ills. It is not youth that creates most crime, control most wealth, make the law, start wars (only fight them), control corporations, empower politicians, control television, education and public relations firms. Youth do not generate billion pound industries, third world misery, fashion empires, arms manufacturing, penal law, property ownership, land ownership, wage and rent structures or tax laws.
The less fortunate youth of today are used in the same way as terrorist threats, weapons of mass destruction, immigration, drugs, crime statistics, home office reports, to create a climate of fear.The fear starts being induced at school and is driven by curriculum. From both ends of the class divide.
On the one hand the dispossessed, the failures who didn’t get the marks that would set he or she on the road to a brilliant career and. And on the other the privileged or classic performer who will go places if they show academic and value flexibility in the system that
employs them. The privileged youth leaves home full of piano lessons, summer camps, drama confidence and creativity and the youth from a poorer background leaves home believing slavery is the only way out of her dilemma.
The former who can play piano forte and has heard of king Lear and can be useless when it comes performing menial tasks and understanding the integration of the useful with the creative possess. The latter’s creativity lies dormant and locked away by an education system that rewards privilege and conformity creating a climate of uselessness.
The modernized poverty caused by the dislocation of purpose and community. You often hear the expression “You know what kids ar like”. My question is. Do we? When they spend most of their childhood locked away from community influence. The white man schools his children for only a few hours a day while separating them by age group. They are isolated from their parents, grandparents, uncles,aunts brothers, and sisters – isolated from the entire community for twelve years. That can lead to adults with a very narrow understanding of what community life is all about. Indigenous peoples around the world know a better way – immerse the child in the community, let the community be the teacher.
How do we teach our kids to be creative and useful individuals. How do we encourage them to feel a Sense of place and value to society? No one knows all the answers, but most of us are aware of some of the problems. One of them is hearing what they have to say, what they have to offer to the debate. Stop treating young people as an outcast culture that serves only to feed commercial interests and the debilitating culture of style. Most kids like grownups want to know where they belong and that they are valued, heard and matter. And parents need to remember. You can’t rely on school to bring up your children