This is a poem about indifference and the selfish attitudes of the modern age that prevent us from opening our eyes to the real world. It is about how we play straight into the hands of the media because we are successfully made to feel as though we are lacking and not meeting the required expectations for certain elements of our being. We are made to feel as though we are not pretty enough, not manly enough, not cool enough, not desirable enough. All of which, in turn, makes us inward looking and not appreciative of what we do have; as well as allowing us to live in ignorance and turn a blind eye to the suffering of others, even when we possess the privilege to help.
The oblivious ignorance of a western nation,
lives dictated by technology infiltration,
an inability to look at the world beyond a screen,
arrogant ideology, inward looking,
yet we do not mean
to alienate, to excommunicate
a refusal to acknowledge problematic
behaviour unless it’s at our own expense,
instead we live in a bubble of blissful pretence,
rose tinted goggles are our item of choice,
no real use of our voice,
irrelevant chatter, pointless conversation,
reality TV, watching intoxicated misogynists mock
an entire working generation,
while another human has their rights stolen.
Without a voice, without a choice,
but we have voices, we have choices,
talk is cheap and our morals are weak,
we don’t use our freedom of speech to actually speak
for someone who does not have that same privilege.
A generation made in the image of indifference
a simple minded misunderstanding of respect,
consuming misinformation, refusing intellect
no hunger for knowledge, no curiosity for life,
the misplaced values of our culture
Not humans, no humanity, lacking in empathy,
shaped and moulded to behave a certain way,
television teaches girls to compete for men,
online searches say acting ‘unthreateningly’ dumb is sexier than picking up a pen,
boys don’t think it’s okay to cry,
toxic masculinity, it’s impossible to deny
we’re poisoning our minds, poisoning a new generation,
frying our brains, encouraging objectification,
advertisement of genital mutilation as a cosmetic procedure
while we try to stop it happening to frightened young girls against their will,
a stomach-churning act of enforced control,
the need to change a stomach-turning, backwards and unprogressive protocol,
a display of nefarious dominance in the name of protection,
when destructive religious tradition meets western ideas of perfection,
there is a worryingly apparent intersection,
two equally disturbed ideologies,
a paradox of cosmetic, self serving plastic surgery jobs
and an uneducated mother’s muffled apologies.
So tear your eyes away from the screen
open your eyes to the sickening social expectations becoming a reality,
open your eyes to your deteriorating lack of intellectuality,
to the old fashioned and barbaric lack of sanity
to the similar needless use of inappropriate,
to the irrelevant “celebrities” with an absence of integrity,
to the social division,
to the violent and sexist, hate encouraging television,
to the loss of an age old inquisition
and a return to an age old oppression,
to our need for a revolution, an intervention
to our constant need for attention.
Practice what you performative preach,
believe in what you self-righteously teach
I am aware that sometimes I don’t
but keep the blindfold over my eyes from now on?
I definitely won’t.
Before you read this, I should probably make the important point that I am not generalising everyone. When I refer to the western community as “we”, I of course do not mean every single member of our society. I am instead making references to common notions that in my own opinion, are prominent within our society but not ones that necessarily apply to each individual.
We are becoming far too immersed in a materialistic lifestyle, one where we are so deeply submerged in a world ruled by social networks and modern media publicity, constantly surrounded by ideas of perfection and how we should be living our lives. This can make it so difficult for us to escape the new information age and to remain conscious of what is actually taking place in the real world, we are turning a blind eye to important values such as respect and compassion, values that are degraded and definitely lacking every time you turn on the television to be repeatedly exposed to violence and hate speech, to reality television that entertains the general public by filming unknown, conceited individuals who prance across a screen wearing little clothing before watching them drink themselves into a violent state, pushing each other around, screaming senseless profanities, watching girls pull out each other’s hair
extensions, while their faces are streaked with black mascara tears and fake eyelashes dangle from their eyelids at an awkward angle, and for some reason this is expected to give people some warped sense of enjoyment…
Now, I am not saying that reality television and horrifically violent and graphic shows need to be buried and forgotten or that absolutely no good comes from such shows (although that is a different matter entirely) but I am saying that when watching them we need to recognise and understand the damage that this is no doubt causing a generation who’s whole lives are dictated and influenced by these sources. We need to bear in mind that this is not the behaviour we should seek to replicate but the behaviour that highlights the wrongs within our society. I’m talking about children who are being raised to believe that drugs should be romanticised, that you won’t ever be loved unless you can make yourself look like the unachievable and unrealistic goals set for you. Those broadcast by social media, even if this means risking your own life by going under the knife in the hopes of meeting conventional beauty standards. The constant exposure to humans insulting and discrediting other humans because of the way they look, to the snide and derogatory comments made by not just men but women on reality TV in regard to the way another woman looks, simply because her boyfriend or love interest glanced in the direction of this other woman. Perhaps it’s a man showcasing inexcusable lad culture by objectifying and “rating” women, using them and playing with their emotions, acting as a role model for boys everywhere who copy him because they deem him to be “cool”, rather than using him as an example of exactly how not to behave.
We are living in an age where we all need this constant validation of our own self worth and in order to achieve it we feel it necessary to put someone else down to build ourselves up. This in turn means that we are too busy worrying about how we act and what we say, the way we look, focusing all of our energy on ourselves. In a highly judgemental and malicious society, who can really blame us for being self centred when we are the product of such a superficial and intolerant set of ideals? We do not take note of all the chaos and injustice in other people’s lives or in other parts of the world. It is clear to see that our western society has its own downfalls and its own systematic flaws to deal with, however the one luxury we often fail to acknowledge is our power to make a difference. Our freedom to protest corrupt activity and our freedom to give a voice to those who cannot speak out, by using our freedom of speech not for demeaning and disrespecting but for rightfully fighting for the good of humanity and what will help and liberate people rather than tear them down.
I am suggesting that we need to discourage people from being small-minded and from accepting social media and television as a reality that need not be challenged because it has become a normality and instead to live in the real world and begin making a change so that we can eradicate the ignorance and the indifference and actually all make a real difference. There is no denying that technology, internet and the media has provided an amazing platform to spread a positive message to inspire change and to allow our voices and opinions to be heard and so I believe we should channel this and make the most of the opportunity. We need to stop technology from exploiting and manipulating us so that social drama and self hate becomes the top of our list of priorities and instead open our minds to looking away from the screen, to rediscovering imagination, curiosity, a hunger for knowledge, an ability to resist what we feel challenges our human rights as well as the human rights of others, an ability to want to help others and an ability to speak out rather than living in our own heads, constantly feeling as though we aren’t good enough.