After recent revelations about the homogenization and routinization of everything, I suppose it makes a bit of logical sense that we should now be on to trivialization. But this latest revelation seems somehow more dire than its predecessors in that it has the appearance of being relatively innocuous. It’s not.
It’s not overtly about Big Brother or the Peter Principle. But it’s as sickening as it is worrisome and dangerous. So, those who choose to read ahead — especially if you have any remaining senses of discernment, constructiveness, responsibility, or common sense — may want to have ample doses of Emetrol and Imodium on hand.
The latest revelation comes by way of this post: “7 tricks to instantly appear competent“. As a public service — and because I can’t, in all good conscience, suggest you read the post in its entirety — I’ve digested (pardon the pun) it into this enumerated list:
- Speak quickly.
- If you’re a woman, consider wearing makeup.
- Ask for advice …
- …unless you’re a man in a leadership position.
- Act a little cold.
- Post a profile photo taken from a distance.
- Make your face look slightly wider.
Stop right there. Consider this: Someone actually believed that post was substantively worthwhile enough to write it. Someone else saw fit to clear it through some manner of editorial process, however cursory or rudimentary. Someone else saw fit to publish it. Yet another someone imagined that someone, anyone would derive meaning or value from it enough to read it. (Yes. I know I did. I look at train wrecks, too.) Perhaps most devastating of all is the fact that no one at Business Insider was concerned about the post’s deleterious effects on its brand or its credibility.
I know every generation believes at some point it’s witnessing the end of the world; of civilization; of logic, reason, culture, values, and meaning. Even the perpetually pickled Dylan Thomas experienced that conviction:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
But this seems like something quite profoundly different. It’s The Kindergarchy. It’s Growing Old Without Growing Up. It’s coddling, protecting, and infantalizing people well beyond the age of majority. At this rate, it won’t be long until we extend childhood almost indefinitely. In fact, don’t be surprised if, someday, we even legislate this infantilization to the point at which we require parents to pay for their children’s health insurance to the age of 26. You just watch.
In the meantime, fake it till you make it has become a guiding business principle. These are dark days, indeed, kids.
Image by MTV [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.