‘The Tomorrow People’ Or The Ill-fated Fashion Sense of the Modern Teenager

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It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that what is deemed ‘hip’ in today’s world is a fleeting term. With the heavy reliance on the internet for tips on what sort of lingo and pop culture phenomenon are relevant, today’s youth faces a little bit of a pickle when it comes to staying in the know. But if staying in the know means having to fit in with some of the following bizarre fashion choices that modern teenagers are wearing then perhaps I’d rather not partake.

The ‘Socks with Sandals’ Thing: What outwardly appears as a harmless layered footwear style has managed to rear its head in the ugliest of manners. Everyday I’m treated to the delightful sight of teenage somethings walking around with their Adidas or Nike brand sandals pulled over their sock feet. Where on earth did this trend come from? Were sneakers too claustrophobic? Are sandals on their own too ‘trashy’? Am I an asshole for walking around with my naked feet peaking out from under the flaps of my summer footwear appendages ? What is it about kids today where trends have to defy what should be common sense, I can understand wanting to match your footwear to your outfit but come on. I imagine it started with some dipshit on instagram posting a picture of himself wearing them and then it became a thing as it swept through middle class suburbanite white kids whose Ed Hardy shirts and ripped jeans just weren’t doing it anymore. In short you look like an idiot and not just any idiot but a special kind of fool, whose choice of footwear is about as bi polar as that one girl you met on Tinder.

Shorthair cuts and 5 o’clock Shadows : This is something that is really irritating to me, particularly in commercials. Who decided that what a guy really needs to look professional is to not shave for a couple of days and cut his hair like the Robert Duvall in ‘The Great Santini’? If I was an employer of a successful corporation and my top executive walked in sporting an unshaven mug day after day, I might send a fax over to HR to have a sit-down with the guy to ask if he’s feeling alright. But noo, apparently those Geico commercials with the cavemen were rather prophetic in the trend setting category since most guys these days like to mimic their ancestors and sport the awkward shadow on the regular. And combined with the short hair cuts that are usually greased with AXE pomade almost ubiquitously, male 20 somethings are now beginning to look like copies of a copy. I for one can’t wait for this trend to end and can only hope that these indecisive assholes can’t seem to commit to either side of the facial hair spectrum.

Tribal Trouble: Ahh yes, the dreaded tribal tattoo, America’s fastest growing fashion trend since the tramp stamp. And speaking of tramp stamps, is it going to far to say that the upper arm design has become its male counterpart? It wouldn’t be so bad if there was some variety in the mix but there just isn’t, save a few barbed wire shapes that bend in opposing directions once in awhile. You can’t go to the gym or beach without seeing some juiced up asshole walking around, chest puffed out, sporting the latest ‘tat’ he got from his local artist/weed supplier. And the ladies just love it to make matters worse. I guess once you have a tramp stamp for a few months you realize you look like a conformist moron who’s a couple one night stands away from punching the last hole on her planned parenthood membership card, you want to associate with people who make you look less stupid. So why not go out clubbing with your other bleach blonde biddies and lasso in some big discount ‘Jersey Shore’ bro  and start a posse of tan bimbos.

Fake tans and Blonde Hair: You knew this was coming ladies, you thought you were so original with your latest trip to the beauty salon last weekend, strolling out with your newly bleached hair and your mahogany skin, but little did you realize you made the biggest amateur mistake on the list. What is it about females where you can’t be happy with how you look? I get dyeing your hair once for prom and once for the time you burnt your hair because you were too busy eyeballing that hairlip you could’ve sworn you got rid of. But after awhile, the time comes where its not a good idea to keep torturing your body. You see, as you get older your skin starts to wither and wrinkle, your hair gets gray and your bosom descends into your drawers. And those weekly visits to the tanning salon are only accelerating the process, not to mention ruining your complexion. There will come a point where no amount of creams and lotions will cover up those age spots and the panic will set in. As for your hair, that bleach you put in is going to deteriorate your roots to the point where your split ends will have split ends. And if that argument doesn’t sway you then maybe the prospect of being indistinguishable from all your other ‘trendy’ friends will. Girls like to be individuals I’m not that clueless, so start acting like one and be proud of who you are and stop making me sick!

Fitted Caps: I have no clever title for this one, since it just speaks for itself. You look like a fucking idiot when you walk around with those flat brimmed hats that still have the sticky label on the brim. It doesn’t make you look as ‘cool’ as Jay-Z or Big Sean, it makes you look like a shithead that just robbed Lids at the mall. And having one for every color of the rainbow to match your cute little outfits is a little effeminate guys, just saying. When you pull it over your eyes and cruise down the street in the souped up Prius that mom got you when you got your GED, it tells society that A) you look like the last 10 assholes who drove through this intersection B) You’re probably not that bright a guy. Unfortunately the majority of society doesn’t associate the fitted cap, skinny jeans, tank top wearing bro that you emulate as an upstanding recent college grad. They associate it with shitty rap videos, and someone who’s not flipping burgers at the moment. At least the educated part of society would think that.

In any event I’m sure I’m not alone here with my observations and I’m even more sure that I’m not the only one who’s managed to partake in none of the above trends that I just expounded on. So do me a favor first world people, stop making yourselves look like the dopes older generations think you are!

Photo courtesy of: SCPR. org

 

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Gun Nation: An Absence of Culture

If there’s anything to be said about the United States is that it’s a slave to the rhythm of ‘the great chain’. That is to say, we ebb and flow to the tune of corporations and the agendas of those in the position to regulate talking points. The greatest talking point in the heartland of today’s America is gun control or lack thereof, to be precise.

We have the open carry nuts in Texas who like to take their weapon of choice to their local eatery and proceed to flaunt it in front of ‘civilians’ who are merely trying to enjoy whatever processed meal they ordered. And the local treehouse militias who march through such dangerous locales as Target, Home Depot and Walgreens, the nation is surely safe and sound from whatever dirt ball wants to shatter the peace that has settled over the sleepy towns of white bread ‘Merica.

But wait! There are still shootings happening and now it’s even a gamble to be a kindergartner trying to make it as the lead tree in his or her upcoming spring play. How can this be, there are lots and lots of good guys with guns patrolling every bath and tile aisle to the cushy appendages of Long John Silver’s seafaring cuisine. Well the answer you may find has a little something to do with us as a nation.

You see ladies and gentlemen the constitution was written a long long time ago in an unmolested ozone layer far far away. The founders of this country who we’ll refer to as the framers, didn’t like the idea of your regular Joe the plumber being able to go out and vote because that was surely dangerous and would negate the whole intricate process of electing officials. They also didn’t like the idea of itchy fingered rednecks being able to just unload their blunderbuss into whatever squeak or twig snap they happened to hear outside. But unfortunately the south existed then too, and the founders knew that to get this kinda thing passed they had to make some concessions to their eccentric cousins down on the Bayou. One of these turned out to be the second amendment, which was created to appease those southern slave owners who were petrified at the thought of any of their ’employees’ getting the notion of revolution in their heads, because you know they’re complainers and never satisfied. So the northern framers conceded the notion and *poof* out came the second amendment which promised the constitutional right to keep a well regulated militia! Which for better or worse (the answers the latter) has evolved to take the form of camouflage hat wearing hill people who regularly patrol the congested lines at department stores and 2-star restaurants.

Ahh but you’re no dummy, you’ve figured out a sure fire argument to shut up ol’ blithering Maverick. “But cars kill people too! And knives do too! Why not ban those as well, if you’re so keen on taking our guns!”

You’re right of course, I must’ve overlooked that but I counter you with the following wisdom; You see the difference between guns and cars is that cars weren’t made with the intended purpose to ‘kill’. Guns as per their design, are engineered to kill. Same with knives. The thing about knives is unlike guns, they don’t have a powerful lobby to buy legislators, governors, judges, etc. with campaign contributions so they can enrich themselves with blood-stained arms dealer money.

Think about this: The day that the Sandy Hook shooting massacre happened there was a stabbing spree in China where a man stabbed 23 people, none of whom died. Knives aren’t nearly as deadly as guns and can’t kill nearly as fast or at a distance like guns can.

The thing that you gun nuts can’t understand is that this culture soapbox that you stand so mightily on doesn’t have a lot in the way of culture, it’s mostly about the guns at the end of the day. A lot of it has to do with you being insecure about yourself and the need to have a cold metal grip and finger on the trigger at all times to feel like the ‘big strong man’ you aren’t without your steel blankie. Or maybe you’re an avid ‘wildlife enthusiast’ whose enthusiasm for killing and maiming Bambi and all his little buddies is the only thing that keeps you from testing your skills out on the rest of the American populace. In any event you’re fucked in the head, and I mean that in the most brutally honest manner possible.

It’s this infantile reliance on firearms and an irrational hatred of any government that suggests reform (that’s expensive shit!) that causes the rest of the developed world to shake their heads at their cousins on the other side of the pond. Even Canada has figured out that gun regulation and background checks are necessary and all they do is play hockey! It’s bad enough that the world has deemed creating a national healthcare system a top priority while we shuffle our feet over in Congress and hold up signs that say ‘hands off my medicare Obama!’, but really, we’re gonna do the same with keeping ourselves safe? The mind boggles.

So at the end of the day, it’s apparent that if given the choice between the bodies of children piling up because of a lack of initiative to fix things and doing something to regulate or even give an inch in the favor of common sense, most of the right-wing America couldn’t care less.

The God Suppository: Side Effects May Vary.

Let me begin by saying, that I again do not propose to have all of the answers to the inner workings of the universe and would not expect of any of you to argue that I am some sort of genius on my behalf, although the thought is well received. I am going to maintain my staunch stance on religion and the notion that it poisons the well of society to a point that exposes even the most reasonable individual as a ‘god fearing’ cretan that acts purely out of self preservation. 

 

I want to start my article, which will continue into future segments on religion and the supernatural should cooler minds prevail when the dust settles. So let’s dive into it shall we; Do we need God to exist to make our existence significant? I think most of the individuals that attend church on a daily basis would agree with that notion whether it’s internally or vocalized. Why do I say this? Mainly because many of the weekly churchgoers* these days and years before like to think themselves as the highest form of intelligence bar none and thus are worthy of the term ‘god’s greatest creation.’ Now these are the same individuals who will argue that the birth of a child is a ‘miracle of life’ thus drawing a line that separates the sacred from the rest of the world’s inhabitants. How is childbirth a miracle? If we were the only sentient being that could reproduce at will then perhaps I might argue on the side of the ‘pro lifers’ that have to turn every cause into a bumper sticker. However, we know that this is not the case, in fact animals were producing millions of years before humans even existed and managed to survive without the means of any sort of ‘lifelines’ that support our own existence. I would say that the fact that evolution is a reality that any idiot with half a brain that paid attention to 6th grade biology could figure out, I would say that the ability of dinosaurs and ocean dwelling creatures to adapt and survive for millions of years qualifies as more of a ‘miracle’ than say,  a species who consciously reproduces in the hopes of having their own ‘mini-them’. Plus if life is so sacred than why do we relegate the word ‘sacred’ to only human life? The same people that will argue for the sanctity of a human embryo are the same individuals that ingest young calves by the quarter pound patty and subsequently argue over the evils of experimenting on unborn fetuses. “Two different things!”you say as you spit out chunks of processed meat across the table? Are they really? I call bullshit on that two faced view of ‘sacred life’. 

 

Do you know why humans take precedence over other creatures? It’s for the simple fact that humans are the only creatures that can talk and present a personality through language. Human beings view animals as menial creatures that eat and overproduce and thus need to be tapered back, this is a common argument used to describe the need to hunt deer. Hmm an overpopulated, over eating species that serve no purpose other than it’s own self preservation? That sounds an awful lot like umm… humans? Do animals have the potential to destroy ecosystems and become over populated? Yes of course they do, were you not paying attention in 6th grade biology again?! But let me say this: no other animal outside the human race has ever consciously made another creatures life miserable in the hopes of some sort of personal gain. We are an inherently destructive race that knowingly feels the need to piss our name in every inch of grass we see and plaster concrete over any low lying swamp land that could be better utilized as a ‘housing complex’ for minorities. And all in the name of religion and ‘progress’. I’d like to pinpoint the exact moment when progress stopped being about helping others and more about a nice car and a paycheck. I guess those guys in the flat earth society who wrote the bible forgot to do a little bit surveying before they decided to build a religion out of the human misery around them. 

 

So in closing, Do we need God to exist for us to feel important? For the puritan that needs that reassurance whenever they look in the mirror before they go out into the world, I’d say the answer is indisputably yes. But for those of you who have no need of fairy tale mythology to explain why your neighbor is fucking your wife beyond the fact that she’s a whore, than good on you for not following the rest of your species of the cliffs of delusion. 

 

*Let me clarify that by churchgoer I mean those that make the conscious effort to go to church every week. Not like those once a year fucks that hog the pews on Christmas Eve. 

‘America’ Or Why You Can’t Fix Stupid

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With every big media trial that occurs, usually for murder or the occasional infanticide, it appears that every person; male or female, black or white, and self proclaimed expert alike come out of the woodwork to lay their opinion on the table for all to hear. What usually amounts to this potpourri of (mis)information, is biased and nonsensical arguments that devolve into hours upon hours of quarrels and ‘he said, she said’ statements that make the ‘highlight reels’ of the web. As per usual, the media will of course hyper-inflate what could easily be considered junk swept under rug of the chopping room. In the end those precious few who opt to take a neutral stance on such issues are greeted with a circus that seems to grow only stronger as fuel for minute to minute updates run dry. Rephrasing and repetition become ubiquitous as news stations are forced to use recycle footage and old ‘post 9/11’ terminology to strike fear in the hearts of the less attentive viewers. Thus those on the lower end of the spectrum get a 1st grade book report summary of the ‘truth’, which takes liberties with the facts and turns opinions into causes and bullet points into long winded odes to justice and civil rights. The point I’m trying to make is that many of American’s tend to take what should be obvious social problems and run with them to the point where they plateau into matters of ‘race’ or ‘gender’. While these issues are good and all, at least for social media, they don’t strike hard at the matter at hand which is something more serious and socially unacceptable. Cases like the Trayvon Martin case highlight such issues and shed light on human’s inherent ability to leech off social issues and use them as a soapbox of sorts to bandwagon their own opinions which they tout as research or fact. It’s a shame because it discredits those who really do look at both sides of the coin and formulate well educated responses to the social failures that are looked upon as social norms. Violence is so widespread that it has been relegated to the ‘inner city’ and minorities in the lower income neighborhoods. The media for all it’s power and expert analysis has been directly responsible for the dumbing of America and the novocaine for an ailing citizenry that forgets the uneven plane it stands upon everyday.

We are a nation of the contrary, a country that looks through all the grim and grit and looks for reasons to disagree with social reform. Gun control is a serious part of this as is abortion and the improvement of daily life. On one hand we push for reform and call those who seek to block such changes fools or lazy. Then on the other hand, when reform or change does take place that can really make a difference we disagree with that and shout blasphemy or sacrilege when it threatens our faith or moral fiber. We are stuck in this hamster wheel of progress that amounts to nothing in the end. History is unfortunately written by the victor and as of late, the winner is awfully good at pretending that mediocrity is an achievement. With every verdict and with every bill we lose a sense of where we are and where we are going, and thus are forced to wander through this endless desert of misdirection. Progress only comes to those who with the desire to be progressive.

Short Story

What follows is a story that I am working on. At the present moment it is merely an sketch of what I hope will turn into something grander. Please let me know any thoughts you might have. Thanks ~ MJ

He awoke in a cold sweat his face twisted in agony from the white hot licks of fire he still felt in his chest. His eyes adjusted to the dark, forehead streaming with moisture that enveloped the wrinkles of his brow with a sticky film. He could feel the frigid air of the mid-western plains sweep over his bare shoulders as his surroundings came into focus. His weathered frame was outlined under his cotton blanket that he had stitched together far too many times to count.

Nothing had been taken overnight as far as he could tell, his tanned moccasin boots still hung over the long winchester rifle that stood in the corner, it’s brass trigger and hammer gleaming in the dark. A thin slice of sunlight shone in through the canvas of his makeshift tent and twinkled with every small breath of wind. He took a deep breath, slicked his damp hair back with the cuff of his arm and climbed out of his cot. His back creaked and crackled like autumn leaves underfoot and he groaned with the slightest discomfort. The dream, which had been so vivid not ten minutes before was now slowly drifting from memory. He recalled no names or faces but rather dark fluttering shapes as black as oil and a booming voice in the distance who’s words unknown, echoed into the abyss of the characterless realm that had enveloped him. There had been a cocking of a hammer that reverberated in his skull and fell scream of a woman or an infant, he wasn’t sure, that pierced the air and rippled through his body like a hot iron. The memory stopped there and he winced with frustration as he tried to recall what his mind, for whatever reason would not permit.

He suddenly shivered as the cold air which had been oblivious to him, swept over his wiry frame. He snuck over to his belongings that lay at the end of his bedding and threw on his jacket which hung around him further accentuating his gauntness. It had been a few days since his last meal as meat had gotten scarce and the hopes of finding herbs or trout from the river that winded through the countryside had long since frozen over with the coming solstice. He sat down upon the hard, cold earth and pulled on his boots, making sure they were snug and exited his tent.

The white light blinded him as he looked out onto the distance. The ground held about a foot of snow that caked the grassy plains of the American midwest that lay before him the wind tossing puffs of powder into the air, that danced in the sunlight before finally disappearing into the shadows of the mountains beyond. His licked his lips, tasting the cold air that crept into the cracks of his mouth and every orifice of his face. It had been a year and two months since he had been home. ‘Home’, the word almost seemed foreign to him as he had never quite considered any location familiar enough to be considered permanent. If he were to be asked where it was he had set out of from the answer would be vague and thinly described. Somedays it would be an inn on the corner of 52nd and 3rd in the heart of metropolitan Boston where he went by the name of Thomas Ford, a successful banker up from the Louisiana Bayou. Other days it would be a small town in the backwoods of Tennessee, where he was known as William Murton, a bachelor who didn’t mind talking politics with the local shopkeepers and drunkards.

He could go anywhere unrecognized and held a quiet disposition that mystified and hushed rooms to a mere chatter when he would enter them. His hands were slight and grainy with a nub for his right pinky that he had lost as a boy. He had a sandy hair that hung over his ears which he frequently brushed away when he was irritated. He considered himself a southern rebel and backwoodsman, who regretted none of the his slights upon society. Nor did he carry the burden of the ten lives he had laid down into the earth that he laid claim to. His faith could be best described as fleeting, although he occasionally quoted scripture when it best suited him. He cared not for foolishness and carried out a form of justice that treaded the line of morality in a reckless way. Those beneath him knew little about his past and shuddered when he past them on his morning walks. The jobs that he had pulled were known almost universally west of the Mississippi as word of his reputation grew. It had been another summer in ‘a world of avarice’, as he liked to call it and had lined his pockets with silver which delighted him. In the end he was merely a man, and humbly carried himself with quiet dignity at all times, which awed and frightened all that knew him.

The sun crept over the mountains in the distance, it’s light dancing over the lonely cliffs that hung over the frozen country below. He would wash his face in the basin by an oak tree and make his way down to the rest of his company. The dying flames of campfires in the distance blinking through the row of pines beyond. A small feather of a red-tailed hawk blew in the wind over the snowy drifts, a good omen, he smiled to himself, the corner of his mouth raising ever so slightly, he closed his eyes and put the oily shapes of his dreams away for another day.

Keeping it Simple

The National Something

Being a man and thus unequaled in my infinite wisdom regarding all things alcohol infused, I figure it’s my duty to infuse the coming generations with the joys of drinking responsibly. And by responsibly I mean not looking like a dipshit when you go to a party and you’re taking shots of Bahama Mama while your friends pound back tall boys of something less effeminate.

First and foremost, guys if you’re going to drink, keep it simple. Yeah I know that latest buzzfeed article with the party ‘lifehacks’ looked really cool, but you’re not that smart or ambitious. Instead why not ask your father or nearest male over the age of 30 what they do when they want to get sloshed (chances are they already are since they’re associated with you) or if no adult is around check the nearest recycling bin and you’ll be sure to use your powers…

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World’s Apart: Society’s Mental Block

‘Selfie’. The term has become commonplace among social network aficionados and casual facebookers alike. It is a jargon that has come to represent an entire generation due in part to it’s ubiquitous nature. Recently the word found it’s way into the Oxford Dictionary as the publishers declared it the ‘culturally defining word of the year’. While largely looked upon as a throw away pop culture story that typically falls under the radar with most of the ‘yahoo’ and Huffington post-type articles, it is a story that has more depth and serves to shed light on the inherent flaw of such innovations.
The story is the answer to the often posited question: What have we accomplished technologically to better aid our daily lives and stay more connected as a species? When the smart phone came about in the early 2000’s they were hailed as the dawning of a new age of communication, allowing us a society to close the gap between the disconnected and the connected.  Apple cashed in the biggest on the first of such phones and marketed accordingly with the selling point that their products were essentially the ‘bentley’ of the cell phone universe. With such convenience and new innovations came the rise in social networking domains most famously, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Phone companies caught on fairly quickly the cash cow that could be created with little more effort than an app that would revolutionize how we stay in contact with loved ones and friends with a tap of a finger. Phones had become the gateway to a world of dreams with limitless possibilities.  Little More than a decade later Apple and Microsoft unveiled their tablet companions which substituted as ‘mini laptops’ and their latest in high tech phones accompanied by HD resolution and larger capacity much to the glee of tech wizards and app lovers alike. 
It is now 2014 and it is almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t own some sort of tablet, smart phone, or high powered computer. We are infinitely connected to one another at a click of a mouse or keypad with the world at our fingertips, whether we like it or not. However, in doing so we have become more aloof and alone, losing what makes us human in the effort to create simplicity. Infinite information is an app away and has dulled our minds into accepting the idea that we need not stretch ourselves further than technology allows. As such society has become stagnate in our ability to form electronic relationships that simulate human connection very well without the physical bond that has driven us for centuries. Today’s youth have never known a world without the internet, cell phones or Facebook and thus have little to no appreciation for imagining the absence of such. What we have created are a generation of socially inept individuals who live vicariously through the inter webs and online personas. Distraction levels are at an all time high with the rate of cell phone related accidents on the road climbing and showing no signs of dipping. Schools are forced to combat such issues with little to no avail requiring one more obstacle (and a large one at that) to be tackled on a case to case basis. And with an economy already in the toilet and a limited employment market awaiting our children on the other side of a 4-year undergraduate degree, we have only crafted our own doom. It is not difficult to imagine a world where physical connections are viewed as an inconvenience entirely with large wall screens providing sustenance for any desired human contact. 
In the end it is up to us as a culture to mediate and curb such behavior in our children and more importantly ourselves. It is often posited whether environment or heredity has a greater effect on our upbringing and I feel it could be said at this juncture that the choice is ours as a species and should be taken more seriously than it presently is.