It was never my grandparents who griped the most about our modern culture. For me it was my aged college professors. They were always the most crotchety about how we young twenty-somethings had a “tough road ahead of us,” and how “our country’s resources were drying up for my generation.” In fairness, this is kind of true. But, when has it not been true? Change is freaking scary. Nobody’s kids will grow up the same way their parents did. It doesn’t mean we should throw the baby out with the bath water. There are incredible things in our world. Here are four of my favorites:
1. Entertainment is getting better
This statement might seem out of place during a time when when movie reboots, trilogies, and the highest forms of bloated cinema are being fed to us like corn to a bunch of cattle. (A little foreshadowing for you . . . stay with me.) The Lone Ranger anyone? No? The good stuff has just changed forms. Shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and even Game of Thrones are where we’re experiencing deep, meaningful stories. Netflix series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are holding the bar high for original internet content. House of Cards received a remarkable nine Emmy nods for its debut season. My conversations of late have changed from “seen any good movies lately?” to “what show are you watching?” I love a good movie in a dark, plush theater, but until the industry starts stepping up and being boldly creative again, and willing to take risks, I’m content to sit on my cushy couch and hang out with Don Draper and Walter White over a glass of chardonnay.
2. There is a shifting of power
There are a few industries that have undergone drastic changes that I absolutely love. News is received via Twitter or maybe the twice daily news site visit. Brick and mortar retailers are increasingly forced to compete with the convenience and prices of online shopping. The music industry has loosened its tendrils on our music and has been forced to compete with self publishing, producing, and tiny distributors gaining success. I’m a consumer that loves choices. Making choices is part of what it means to be human; to be autonomous. Also… who doesn’t like to root for the underdog?
3. There are more food choices
I love the new food culture and food/health awareness that has sprung up in our country. I feel like I see a new documentary about changing our food system every time I browse Netflix. It’s something I talk about at social gatherings, and it’s a frequent topic of conversation in my house. I’ve lived in two big cities over the last few years and I have always had a plethora of healthy, alternative choices and countless farmer’s markets to shop at. When in Boston I even shopped at an indoor market during the winter months so even cold weather wasn’t an excuse! Even my Proctor-and-Gamble-laden grocery store sells competitively-priced grass-fed beef (there it is . . . full circle). Our food system is far from perfect, but people are moving, changing, and talking about it. The conversation is going and I anticipate this affecting our legislation over the next few years.
4. There is a lot of “free”
I just spent an ungodly amount of time playing Candy Crush today; more than I care to admit. I just downloaded it . . . for free. Last week I listened to a fabulous free audio book (ironically about this same subject) called Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson. If you own a Kindle you can digitally “check out” books for free like a library. Comedians and musicians utilize (or at least often allow) their material to be hosted on YouTube. We live in a culture of giving things away and it’s awesome. People have been realizing that money isn’t the only form of capital you can earn and spend. For the savvy consumer, this is a huge win.
I too often look at our culture with extreme pessimism, but today I am choosing to look at it as an active participant in its changes. I marvel at the world around us and the opportunities I’m being afforded now. I was a 90’s kid, but I am sure glad we’re not still in that era! (Except for maybe the economy . . . that would be nice.)
What do you appreciate about our culture?