Sunday, May 2, 2010

15-minute Rants with Nerdette Ari :D--Today's Topic: Conformity

I have virtually 0 mins and 0 sec. to type an extremely heated argument about the evils of conformity. Instead, I'm taking 15 mins out of my non-existent free time to type a well-informed post about something more than conformity.

"Do anybody make real sh*# anymore?"

Seriously, that's what I've been wondering for the longest time.

Um... so how does the rhetorical question tie in with conformity? (Btw, quote comes from "Stronger" by Kanye West; see playlist @ right) It just frequently pisses me off to see new movies, or songs, or celebrities that are complete cop outs, in that they all follow the same stupid formula!!! What I mean is that some film production companies choose to use the same type of stories over and over again; there are only a few different ways to make a tragic romance, you know. And I guess it's not just the things or people that make the headlines; I can't tell you how often I see multiple girls carrying the same bag or wearing the same t-shirts walking by in the high school hallways. I just can't stop asking why conformity is such a huge part of living with other human beings. Before I continue my opinionated rant, here's a *semi-less-biased* section on the issue:

Ok, so ever noticed how "conformity" just happens to rhyme with "deformity"? Not that this STRIKING coincidence has anything to do with the actual definition of conformity, but wait... how to define conformity? "Behavior or accordance with socially accepted conventions," says the dictionary on our Apple computer. Yeah, whatevs, I think most of us can agree that it's copying the look or behavior of a standard that everyone can accept, ultimately to make yourself look good among your peers. Such a standard might be a celebrity who doubles as a role model, or even a trend in fashion or culture. I guess some examples might be more helpful, so I'll put some in the comments later. MOVING ON. So if we look at conformity from another point of view, it turns out that it has some characteristics that aren't all that bad: it establishes a moral and behavioral standard so prominent, a wide range of people look up to it for guidance; so at least people aren't running around causing chaos as a result of doing whatever the bleep they want, with a lack of morals. I'm running quite low on time, so it's back to the Me Ranting Part:

The thing about social conformity is that it stems the flow of new ideas and improvements on existing ones. Doesn't that make reasonable sense? If all we are trying to do in product ads, the entertainment industry (including music), and in the social hierarchy is to maintain the status quo, we don't go anywhere. There is no room for innovation. Or improvements. I dislike conformity because it chokes up the amount of great quality great ideas that could be being accepted, if we weren't so hung up on sticking to the goddamn formula. Ever heard of Romeo and Juliet? Tell me that story hasn't been played out 5,000,000 different ways in pop culture. Forget about how many times it was copied during Shakespeare's times (or apparently before that, cuz it supposedly wasn't his original idea), think about how many R&J takeoffs there have been in the past 4 years. Yeah. And how many times do you see the quality of music or a movie being compromised just cuz the initial idea of it sells like hotcakes? Which prevailing social standard do you think contributes to that shit? Remember that everything in American is a business, and every person involved in creating your world of media is trying to pay their rent/mortgage. Everyone has to make a living, and in the U.S., money is the only thing that really talks. But who's to say these are barriers that we can't break past; that we're not too tired of playing it safe? I have to tell you straight out--I am the biggest hypocrite for saying that, since my life's story has so far been me never being able to stop playing it safe. Still, I happen to think that there're people out there who have potentially phenomenal new ideas that could make the way we live run much smoother, enhance our movies/music/art, and generally enrich our lives, but the only way to unlock it is to break free of conformity's chains in large numbers of people. Generally, people are put down for being different, because they don't fit in. Yet, I don't see what's so wrong with people using their own creativity and talents to make a contribution to the world.
  • If people encourage each other to embrace the new, maybe we could actually realize the talents hiding in millions of individuals out there, who will ultimately result in raising world standards as we currently know them. That's all I can hope for and work towards. Guess what?? My 15 mins of ranting are up.

Your day--enjoy it.
~Nerdette Ari