So I have a lot of free time to stand around and think at work.
Today I sat a group of friends, probably all in their late 20s to early 30s. One girl had a little mohawk, the guys had tattoos, but what struck me most was they talked about how “this place just has a cool vibe.” Somehow they were all very alternative, but in a much more interesting way than any hipster of the moment. I may be projecting, but they seemed to be genuinely part of whatever alternaeity had brought them together in the first place. But what is the counter culture for our generation?
Sure I listen to the Clash and had a Hot Topic phase in middle school, but I would hardly call myself counter to anything. By the time I had first heard of them, the Sex Pistols had been gone for fifteen years, only to live on as a brand. Even the Bouncing Souls had been around for ages by the time I finally saw them live. Sure now we have hipsters, but that’s a counter culture based on cheap booze and parties where people abuse strange objects like rocking horses and pool toys (a la the video for Just Dance). Pretty much everything is susceptible to commercial exploitation, particularly the idea of being alternate in itself.
Have we come to a point in our society where instead of striving to conform, everyone strives to be unique in some way? Is our most prevalent mode of conformity the need to be different?
Also, they say the middle class is dissolving. If it disappears completely, would my family be considered upper class, or lower class? It’s hard to say. My dad has a white collar job, but as middle management in the telecommunications industry. Decidedly not glamorous. My mom is a nurse midwife and actually works two jobs, but it seems that her particular brand of nursing is one that doesn’t pay well at all and that she does it just because she enjoys it so much. I was raised on the idea that one should do what one loves, and the money will work out somehow.
I’m definitely privileged, but not so privileged that I will have the fame, fortune and fabulous lifestyle we all so desperately desire just handed to me. Even marrying rich would take a lot of work on my part – sacrificing my other vague middle class friends for the sake of being in the highest social circles, saving up (or spending money I don’t have) on the right clothes, dedicating hours of my life to the gym and counting calories. I would rather spend that time doing something for myself like starting a small business.