The modern American is a peculiar creature. 60 years of cultural transformation have resulted in a culture that produces people who would be unrecognizable to their forbearers.
The modern American is immensely entitled. Growing up in an era of plenty, all but the oldest Americans have no conception of true want. They take for granted true luxury and always lust for more.
The modern American is hopelessly materialistic. Ads pouring into their brains from birth, even their anti-materialism comes with a book and a subscription box.
The modern American is aggressively vapid. Never one to know when to shut up, they gobble up self-help, new age, far east, organic, anti-aging, fair trade, holistic pablum and regurgitate it as if it were gospel.
The modern American is dogmatically amoral. The opinions, oh the opinions. But damn if you can’t find the slightest shred of principle. Bad is bad because, well, because it is. And good is good because it feels good. Simultaneously libertine and puritan.
The modern American is a relentless busybody. Everything is up for judgment by the court of public opinion. A brigade of harpies awaits every bad hair day, ready to heap scorn. From the HOA to celebrity gossip, an army of meddlers with nothing better to do lurks.
The modern American is despairingly hollow. Family is out of vogue. Community is shattered. Friends are avatars on social media, and the fleeting human interaction is done with a suspicious gaze from behind mask. Meandering from high to high, they’re constantly trying to fill the void.
The modern American is driven by purposelessness. Work to play, play to escape, escape to avoid confronting the abyss. Why bother questioning the exercise? The hamster wheel won’t turn itself, and some day it might actually make sense. Maybe you turn the wheel for the turning’s sake. Maybe you turn it for the pittance of cheese you get. Does any of it matter in the end?
The modern American is a stamped-out conformist. A decade plus of molding and forming spits out the ideal proto office drone, ready for advanced indoctrination before being conevyored into a cookie cutter drone job droning along to their gray wall cubicle in their gray sedan from their gray townhouse in a neat little row alongside a dozen other gray office drones. Choose your hair color, eye color, and face shape, allocate the personality points between a handful of hobbies, select a career field, and you too can start the game with your own level 1 office drone.
The modern American is a back seat activist. God forbid they actually get their hands dirty. It’s much easier to virtue signal. Activism is charity and charity is the work of big corporations and government. They can rely on their group affiliations and their bumper stickers to allow them to be counted amon the right thinkers, and they don’t even have to leave the couch.
The modern American is a lazy thinker. Why think critically when you can emote? It’s easier, often leads to short-term enrichment, and can be rationalized post-hoc because they have no morals.
The modern American is short sighted. Boardrooms look ahead a quarter at most. People aren’t broke until they run out of checks in the checkbook, and planning for the future is not enjoying today, which sucks. Enjoying today is all that matters because the modern American is a hedonist to the extreme. #FOMO
The modern American is a coward. Activism is a hash tag away. Charity is something government does to give me warm fuzzies. Anything risky should be outlawed, and anything unkind is clearly evil. Death is to be avoided at all costs at all times because, like, when you die you don’t get to keep your Instagram followers.
This is the point in the article where I’m supposed to shift gears and extol the virtues of the modern American, but I won’t. There are individuals who buck all of these trends, but they are exceptional to the last.
I am a pessimist when I look at our culture not because of some impending election or because of a handful of outliers rioting in the streets with the support of a substantial portion of the country. These are mere symptoms of the nihilistic disease that our culture suffers. You’re not supposed to look into the abyss. Instead, we dove in headfirst.