I have a philosophy—an odd one, but I believe you might appreciate it wholly: I judge a place according to the state of its bathroom. Is it clean? The, let’s say, restaurant is a carefully taken place. Is it filthy? They sure have no manners or values in here! I don’t care about the decoration or the atmosphere of a restaurant: I won’t like it if its bathroom it’s not in clean shape. Why? Because it’s a sanitary place I have to trust my body to. And if it is not in good condition, it means that the restaurant sure gives a damn about me! Some tiny places in the roads and in little towns can be understandable with the low economy and all, but the big places…? Now, there’s no excuse, is it?
I won’t blame you if you find this philosophy silly or ridiculous. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. However, if I am sharing you this bit is because I couldn’t find a better analogy for the topic I want to discuss briefly today: the 21st century’s neologisms.
Let’s pretend we’re going to dine to a restaurant, shall we? We open the door, say hello to the waiter, he takes us to the table, we order our food… And oh boy, the restaurant sure is classy! Look at the tigers in the walls! Look at the dragons in the roof! Look at the restaurant itself: it’s spinning! What a modern place! Screw the food: this place sure got the vibe! The food surely’s made of plastic and GMOs, but God, the restaurant is filled with lots of technological and scientific gadgets that massages us, spoil us and even replaces our legs and arms when it’s time to eat! Like a baby, you’re given the food in a spoon directed by the computer! Oh God, such a wondrous place!
But after the dinner, it’s time to evacuate everything, so we run to the bathroom to save ourselves from a huge embarrassing moment. And uh oh, the toilet is all filthy, stained and bathed with flies… What the hell? Why such inconsideration? Is this the real spirit of the restaurant? Is it too filthy despite the technological advances? Is it because the toilet was forgotten or something…?
Lame example, but this is where we begin.
The 21st century is being bombarded by neologisms that reflect the society’s current state. Concepts like selfie, bullying and Friendzone are becoming recurrent in the social networks and for a reason: they’re marking an aspect of the people’s spirit of this century, in a good or a terrible manner. I chose these three for several reasons, but I would like to emphasize on Friendzone for several reasons. However, it will be the topic of the next post, surely. For now, I will briefly explain the three as whole:
Selfie: It’s a new way to call self-taken photographs for…well, no reason that I understand. In fact, this activity’s not exclusive of this century: it was done in the 1900s. Artists and photographs would occasionally take photos of themselves for several reasons, surely all of them for artistic or intimate reasons, so what’s the big deal about it? Well, easy: it’s become so—so—common nowdays that it will soon become a verb, like sneezing. And that would be no problem…if it weren’t a sign that people are becoming a bit more narcissistic.
Some studies have found that this practice, if done in an excessive manner, is a sign of damaged self-esteem or an unhealthy way of calling for attention. These problems, again, have been present from the very past, but you gotta wonder why suddenly this term and situation got a name in these years. And, in my most humble opinion that could be wrong, I link it to the fact that society has become less…social and more self-interested and apathetic.
Now that technology’s “saving” us from the need of walking outside, greeting tête-a-tête with other people and socializing as, you know, in the past, there has been less reasons to walk outside and live in flesh and blood the reality. Oh no, now you can live it from the comfort and safety from your laptop, and which can even measure your “acceptability” with “likes” and “shares”, something uncommon in real life. Technology, as helpful it is (it has helped us create campaigns for justice and truth, and of course, share information and destroy the lies given us by the uncontrolled media), as problematic it can be if not handled correctly. And I think the term “selfie” is a symptom that society’s not handling well the social side of the technology, if not a symptom that we’re disconnecting from each other now that we’ve weaved a new reality through our computers.
Bullying: This will be a bonus for anybody who knows Spanish, as this comes from a language-based opinion. I don’t know how long English language has had this term, but it is recent in the Spanish lexicon, at least as far as I’ve known. When I was a child, I never heard of this term. Abuse and pestering was common (and I suffered it), but Spanish language never had a term for this because it wasn’t really part of our life. It wasn’t rare, or common. But it sure wasn’t as explosive as today.
In the recent years, bullying became a known and even common term in my country because the abuse cases grew in number (and in cruelty…), and soon it borrowed the English “bullying”. And it became a school term.
I find this a bit creepy. I would cite you, O Reader, examples of the recent cruelty of Mexican children in several schools, but no, I’ll save you from the nightmares. However, I find it disturbing that the abuses in school have become so common that it soon became a label and a term. A term known by everybody. A term, in my opinion, that shouldn’t exist. Why? Because violence is not acceptable. It shouldn’t exist in schools. There should be no name for these acts. None at all.
However, this adaption of the word “bullying” just means to me something: society’s losing culture and values. Be it the media, be it the lame parenting, be it the lame shallow values of today… Dunno, but something’s transforming the kids into little killing and—yes, with a most painful heart to say it—raping machines. The culture’s becoming downgraded and rotten. Parents no longer educate their children to love and accept, but to “punch back if he bullies you”. Society’s getting an awful stench, like our hypothetical restaurant’s smelly toilet.
Friendzone: I want to dedicate this term a whole topic of its own because I sure got a long rant about it, but I will leave you guys a preview of why I have a problem with it: it has sensationalized relationships. Or better said, it has turned it into toys and stereotypes. Relationships, according to what I always understood, were something far more complex and enduring, and it seems that nowdays even love is based on a set of rules and systems that I don’t even understand, and I tend to feel more comfortable when I do things that are ruled and organized!
Friendzone means that you’ve been good to a certain person after a long time and then is “delegated” into a friend and not into something far more serious, like a boyfriend or lover. This tends to be played for laughs because, well, one expects a better treatment after you treat well somebody else… And that’s my problem: why? Why do you gotta be treated better or even sexually paid because you were “nice”? If you expected something, then you weren’t even a friend: you were an interested person.
I would tell you an anecdote I lived with a beggar on a park that could count as an example… But no. I’ll save it for the next article, that, hopefully, will be written soon. But I will resume by saying that Friendzone’s a sign that human relationships have become something far too different, if not immature, than before.
There are more concepts we could talk about. But I wanted to look at these three and give my opinion. But again, O Reader, you have the final word. I’m certain I might be wrong in some facts, and so I apologize if any mistake was done. However, get in mind that I tend to complain because I wish for a better world for you, me and the future generations. And my helplessness tends to remind me that the sole thing I can do for the moment is to write, hoping somebody might receive some help with these articles.
Thanks for reading!
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