He ran. He ran SO far away.
Go ahead, try not to do this move the next time you hear Coldplay. I dare you.
Christmastime is here again. As we string up twinkling lights, hang our stockings, and fill the air with yuletide, cable networks begin to relentlessly televise our most cherished festive films. Along with It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, it has become the cultural norm that one will view the family-favorite Home Alone several times (at least) throughout the holiday season. But with each viewing of this classic tale, one of life’s eternal questions can’t be avoided: What ever became of our beloved Kevin McCallister? Surely, a childhood of frequent abandonment and solidarity has taken its toll, in some form, on this once innocent soul. But, to what extreme? A theory has recently surfaced that Kevin’s past eventually manifested into his psyche and, as a coping mechanism, formed an alter ego to disassociate from his experiences. However, disassociation can only go so far. The ghost of Christmas past that Kevin has tried desperately to escape has returned with a vengeance to his adult life, haunting him at every turn. Evidence has led experts to believe that Kevin McCallister is in fact, the American Psycho himself, Patrick Bateman. Don’t believe me? Herein lies the proof:
They both narrate their morning rituals:
Fuller and Paul Allen are actually the same person:
They both have issues with gingers:
Both have a knack for befriending lonely homeless people:
They love to dance:
They both are victims of bullying:
Neither shy away from firearms:
They both LOVE videotapes:
They’re both screamers:
They snarkily spread Christmas cheer:
Most importantly, they’re both Home Alone:
Co-created by Barrett James
Social Media activity is an accurate depiction of one’s sanity. The frequency and content of what someone chooses to post is truly a reflection of their current mental state. Do they update their status daily? Is it a paragraph or more? Do they relentlessly invite you to play Candy Crush? Everyone can agree, someone who updates their profile picture more than once a week should absolutely be 51/50’d.
Along with an overly broadcasted Social Media presence, there is another strong indicator of how efficiently someone’s brain is working: their relationship with the selfie. Selfies have become the culturally acceptable way of fishing for compliments and in that same regard, their shameless demand for recognition has become the defining trait of these selfie-takers. These are the same people that use more than 3 hashtags. These are the same people that hashtag a run-on sentence. These are the same people that say “bae”, “I die”, and “I can’t even”. These are the people that must be stopped.
Unless there is something monumental taking place, or you really did get an amazing new haircut, knock it off. Get over yourself. Why aren’t you taking pictures with your friends? The worst is when others buy into these methodical compliment-traps, encouraging the selfie frequency. You’re enablers. With each “like” or, God forbid, a comment, you are giving them the incentive to continue posting such arrogant idiocy. Clearly, their confidence is at an all-time high. There is no question that they are already feeling pretty good about themselves, good enough to have no shame in their self-worship. Don’t add fuel to the flame.
Narcissism aside, the most bothersome aspect of selfies is all of the planning that goes into them. Especially those who take a selfie pretending to be sleeping. Just imagine all of the selfie outtakes that must fill their camera roll. A graveyard of self-indulgence. A treasure chest of comedic gold. Keeps me up some nights just thinking about it.
There was a time when I considered selfies to be an epidemic primarily devastating the reputations of women. But it is far more grave than I initially suspected. Left and right, men and women together are stripping themselves of self-respect and dignity, leaving nothing but a duck-faced shell of their former self.
But what ignited the self-obsession that has plagued my generation? Some could argue that early exposure to the 1998 film “The Truman Show” is a contributing factor. After watching the film, one can’t help but be overcome with the possibility that Truman could be you. Is my mom really my mom? Are my friends actors? Can I really trust anyone- even that blue sky? Typically, these feelings subside. Unfortunately for some, those heightened and exaggerated paranoid feelings of “are they watching me?” mutated into “of course, everyone is watching me”. Paranoia has morphed into conceit. Conceit and Social Media go hand in hand and have proven to be a destructive combination.
Self-obsession is a plague. How can we thrive when we pay no mind to our fellow man? We’ve become a world of people who only care about themselves and what other people think, when in reality, all anyone else is thinking about is what other people are thinking about them. It’s a lonely world when you don’t have interest in anyone other than yourself.
No one is exempt from having their Social Media activity thoroughly dissected. It’s wise to give yourself a quick double-check before posting whatever you want to post, acknowledging the possibility that you may be focusing too much on glorifying yourself. But no matter what steps you may take to give off the impression of a healthy online presence, the truth remains: save your selfies for your parents.
It’s no secret: dating is hard. How do we meet people in a world where face-to-face contact has become alarmingly uncommon? Due to our ever-growing reliance on technology, virtual dating has become the social norm of the millennials. But as technology advances, our attention span diminishes. Thus, the idea of promptly finding a romantic partner through your mobile device was born.
However, technology’s rapid advancement does not come without its consequences. True to form, our various cultish Apple devices are spiraling out of control with the amount of dating apps available to us. There are too many options and it’s overwhelming. Which app do I choose? How do I know which app will reveal to me the person I’ve been looking for? Where do I invest all of my snap-judgmental energy? These are questions I often asked myself while curiously scrolling through the App Store. For those in a similar situation, allow me to divulge a quick overview of my experience with three of the most commonly used dating apps:
First, the notoriously mocked, Tinder. Tinder users are, to put it eloquently, DTF. You’re safe to assume that. But in reality, all Tinder has really done for me is brought to my attention how many men named Jasper live in my neighborhood. I have also found that the vast majority of men on this app are so obviously potential date-rapers, that I literally can’t swipe left fast enough out of fear that they could infect my iPhone with their undoubted STD ownership. Having said that, the ability to stamp “NO” across someone’s face who doesn’t meet your approval does give one an indescribable sense of great satisfaction, and for that, Tinder will always hold a special place my heart.
However, this power can quickly backfire: muscle memory in the index finger becomes your biggest enemy as you jump the gun, or get “swipe-happy”, dismissing someone who actually sparked your interest with your .00001 second viewing of their picture before you mistakenly disposed of them. (Cue to the slow motion scream.) These swipe-mistakes spark sleepless nights of “what if?” scenarios taking hold of your consciousness, wondering what other images might have been on their profile. You convince yourself that they own a nonprofit, teaching blind children to read brail while providing a safe haven for rescued dogs. What would our future be? How many children would we have? Would we summer in Beaujolais and spend Christmas in Vail? But I digress, for these are merely dreams. All hope for our fairy-tale ending has been dashed with a single finger flick. Just kidding, no one on Tinder thinks like that.
Enter: Hinge, the app reserved for those a little more “serious”, feeding the delusional promise of finding a “real connection” through their service. While other dating apps give you endless potential matches, Hinge limits your exposure to only ten prospects per day. If you’re like me, you’ll fly through those options rapid fire and be left empty handed in a matter of seconds. Then what? Guess you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to see what else is out there! Just as it sounds, Hinge is SUPER lame. It has become the third wheel at the virtual party, who can’t take the hint that they’ve overstayed their welcome. Go home, Hinge. You’re embarrassing yourself.
The latest trend in dating apps is Bumble. This app quickly earned the reputation of having the best looking male users and as a result, it is the most commonly used dating app among my female peers. My experience has proven the “more attractive” theory to be true for this application; I am swiping right far more than I am swiping left. The incentive with Bumble is that the woman must be the one to assume the responsibility of initiating the conversation, or else the “match” will disappear within 24 hours. It is somewhat reminiscent of The Little Mermaid: if you are interested and would like to pursue this person, you must “find your voice”, if you will. Otherwise, the window of opportunity will close and you’ll lose your soul-mate to some fake skank named Ursula who roped him in with her overly face-tuned selfies with doubled up Instagram filters. Except, instead of having until the setting sun on the third day to seal the deal, you have 24 hours. In other words, if you don’t act fast, your opportunity for a connection will turn into a pumpkin. (For those more comfortable with Cinderella references.)
[UPDATE: Hinge has now implemented Bumble’s aspect of limiting the time you have available to pursue a conversation with your match. This proves even further how much of a poser Hinge really is.]
Throughout the various dating apps available, one aspect remains consistent throughout: they all encourage us to be instantaneously judgmental. We were all taught growing up never to judge a book by its cover. However, society embraces the opposite. Have we lost our morals or our attention span? Through frequent use of dating apps, you’ll find that the ten seconds it would take to view a person’s profile in its entirety is far too time-consuming. Hence, you’ll find yourself subconsciously forming “deal breakers” to immediately disqualify potential matches, ensuring your ruling is as fast as possible. Is their profile picture is a shirtless selfie? Next. Their bio is more than a few sentences? Stop wasting everyone’s time. This isn’t eHarmony. Oh cool, you’re still wearing Aèropostale? You’ve made this decision very easy. NOPE.
From this insight, it may seem that the world of dating apps is a vast moral wasteland. Nevertheless, there are glimmers of hope in all realms of darkness. Some users truly do find the connection they were looking for and go on to happily enjoy their relationship. Unfortunately, the majority get completely drunk with their judgmental powers and it trickles into their behaviors in reality. For those about to embark on their virtual dating journey, heed warning: as you aggressively swipe your screen, know that someone is doing the same to you.
Let me start by saying, I love you. You’ve played an integral role in the person I, and many of my peers, have become. You opened my mind to the world of music. You introduced me to my favorite artists. You gave me insight to the meaning behind the lyrics of my favorite songs. Most of all, you made music accessible. But things have changed. You’ve lost your way and, honestly, I’m deeply concerned with the path that you have chosen. Consider this an intervention.
When you first aired on that bright summer morning on August 1, 1981, you claimed that a new concept was born: Music Television. You even vowed that we “would never look at music the same way again”. You even gave me the words: I want my MTV. Guess what? I still want my MTV. And I want it now.
You tweeted recently that 90’s kids should rejoice for Nickelodeon is bringing back our favorite shows we grew up with. Why aren’t you following your own advice? Think of all of the MTV-boomers that you groomed whom you have now forsaken. Did you ever even care? Or was this your plan all along – to rope us in and leave us high and dry? (I would sing Radiohead right now, but you probably wouldn’t even get the reference.)
I don’t know where I would be today without the presence of TRL in my life. Being able to vote for my favorite music video then seeing it at #1 on the countdown proved to me that, yes, I too can make a difference. You created a world where anything was possible. Britney Spears could pop out of nowhere to wish you a good afternoon and to show off her pink tinted aviators with the bejeweled heart on the lens. Justin Timberlake may turn your world upside down by calling in, just to serenade you with the hook of “I Drive Myself Crazy“. The Holy Grail of boy bands themselves (The Backstreet Boys, obviously) could just show up, melting hearts and obliterating tear ducts with an acoustic version of “All I Have To Give”. These random celebrity pop-ups helped shape my life, reminding me to never give up hope.
You still claim to be “music television”, but that’s a lie. In reality, the only time you allocate towards music is during the designated meth-head hours of 2am-5am. What are we supposed to do? Watch music videos on YouTube, like heathens? Am I supposed to just boot up my laptop and watch Vevo like I’m Steven Glansberg? (Shoutout to Superbad.) I’m a realist, and I understand the need to sprinkle non-music centered shows into your scheduled programming to appeal to a larger audience. I get it. But with that, have some self- respect. You used to be well balanced while still maintaining your integrity with House of Style, PunkD, or Daria. But those days are gone. (I’ll excuse Follow the Rules. Obviously, focusing on Ja Rule is a step in the right direction and I commend you for having the where-with-all to realize that. We need to see more of this.)
Let’s get real. You’re downfall started with the Real World and Road Rules. These shows opened the door to diminishing morals, and once that door is open, it’s a hard and fast fall to rock bottom where self-respect and humility are abandoned. As your audience became immune to the crass filth that were the center-points of those programs, matters progressed to Laguna Beach. But when the knockoff versions of LC and Kristin Cavalarri inevitably lost everyone’s attention by the third season, you again took a sharp turn with My Super Sweet 16. Don’t you realize that the majority of 16-year-old girls are already astonishingly bratty, disturbingly dramatic, and overly entitled? Why do you feel the need to glorify arrogant self-possessed children? But the horrors don’t stop there. Teen Mom? 16 and pregnant? WTF are you doing? Seriously, what happened? Did Jesse Camp roofie you? When you lost sight of your moral standpoint, you lowered the age of your target demographic. Doesn’t that seem backward?
Just when we thought this moral wasteland of television programming couldn’t possibly mutate any further, you dropped the STD ridden, bedazzled East-Coast boom on us with Jersey Shore. The scarce whispers of modesty and self-respect that remained were utterly vanquished with this move. You sold out. You followed the well-traveled Kardashian-laid-path of complete exploitation in order to gain recognition, and you hammered that concept into the impressionable minds of your young viewers. Examples of how to be a positive contribution to society are nowhere to be found. You have become a key player in the dissolve of moral and the praise of self-obsession.
To make matters worse, in terms of a business stand point, you’re missing a huge opportunity. It’s simple: just reboot your old popular shows. Why in the world isn’t there Taylor Swift Making the Video? Can you imagine Ariana Grande’s segment on Diary? Just THINK of Miley Cyrus on Cribs. I bet the Jonas Brothers would have hosted their own music video countdown too, but you’ve obviously missed that opportunity. At this point, I would even settle for Celebrity Death Match. At least it was centered around pop culture! (The fact that Celebrity Death Match is being used to reference your “glory days” proves just how serious your decline is.) If anything, at least give us the re-runs. If you aired old episodes of your once popular shows, ratings would sky rocket. Guaranteed. Literally, just relaunch your original business plan and go back to your promise of changing the way we perceive music. You have the power to enlighten a new generation.
It’s not too late. There’s still time to turn things around, but that window of opportunity is closing. If you don’t change your direction, and fast, you’ve let VH1 win. Will you accept this gift?