- A considerable amount of people suffer from hive mentality, have narrow minded beliefs and lack critical thinking skills
I do a lot of social media, I’m on Youtube, Twitter, Quora, Instagram and Facebook a lot, and I’ve noticed about the majority of people is that they are very prone to believing falsehoods, or they are ignorant about a topic but are very outspoken in their opinions. This is a problem when you end up having to correct so many people every single day, and it’s a complete and total waste of my time because it’s near impossible to convince them of their fallacies.
Most people on social media will start their argument with either a falsehood or a lie, a logical fallacy, a false co-relation, or some other irrational belief and they will say “FACTS” or “prove me wrong. I’ll wait.” – and when I do show them counterexamples, hypocritical or contradictory information, or prove them wrong they will either deflect to something else, ignore my response or resort to personal insults. They refuse to be convinced, even when shown empirical evidence otherwise. That’s how I know these people have narrow minded beliefs / brainwashed, or they lack critical thinking skills because a person who is open minded, not brainwashed, and have critical thinking skills, are able to absorb new information, react to differing evidence and form a new mindset with this new opinion. They are able to be convinced. Whereas with the majority of social media users, they are too entrenched in their established dogmas to ever change them.
Some examples of a few key groups on social media I noticed that have been like this include: Kobe Bryant fans, Trump supporters, Chinese nationalists, hardcore Christians, *some* Apple fans as well, etc These groups of people generally have a very rigid belief, and no matter what evidence you show them to the contrary, they refuse to change their minds and will instead deflect to something else, put up strawman arguments or insult you. These are the most frustrating groups of people I have had the displeasure of dealing with online and it’s almost always a complete waste of time trying to talk to them because you cannot convince them of anything different from their beliefs.
Another thing shared in common with these groups is that they see the world in almost black in white; i.e if you do not agree with them then you are the enemy and must be against them. I.e if you do not like Kobe then you MUST be a Lebron fan. If you do not like Trump then you MUST be a liberal socialist democrat. If you do not like the Chinese government then you MUST be a brainwashed Westerner that loves America (and a traitor as well in my case since I have Chinese blood). Which goes hand in hand with what I mentioned before which is these people have a very narrow world view, and do not believe in any sort of grays in the world; everyone must be either on one side or the other.
- Today’s generation is all about instant gratification and have the shortest attention span of any generation and as a result this has led to a decline in quality in all forms of entertainment
I’ve noticed that most people today get easily distracted, have very little patience generally, have higher and higher needs to be satisfied, and are almost constantly complaining or whining about something. Much of this has to do with today’s instant technology like smartphones, which is a natural result of the technological progress we made. Back in the day, people had black and white tvs, record players, radios, and rotary phones. Now, we do everything with a smartphone, high speed internet, GPS, turn by turn navigation, stream music and movies instantly, purchase everything from the comfort of a home, have any show or movie they want on demand, etc
So naturally this technological evolution led to a change in habits amongst todays generation. I know, I’m a Millenial so I’m guilty of it too. However, what I do lament is the seemingly degrading quality of art in today’s society as a result of these habits. It seems to be, that there is a focus towards style over substance in nearly every artistical category of today’s generation, which really accelerated sometime in the mid 2000s, coinciding with the rise of high speed internet and smartphones.
Take a look at today’s novels, music, movies, video games, etc. All the mass forms of entertainment. They’ve all trended towards more style and visuals as the focus instead of actual substance or content. At least the mainstream stuff. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still plenty of talent in today’s world – it’s just that now most of this talent is concentrated in the indie scene. Mainstream entertainment has significantly declined in quality from the days of before.
I’m mostly going to speak to American mainstream entertainment, but the quality of books and novels since the 1970s have significantly decreased. Ever wonder why all the American classics were from the 1850s – 1960s? Because sometime after the 1960s a more immediately gratifying form of entertainment came by – Television – that significantly took a hit on the amount of people who demanded quality 1000+ page novels. Ask any Millenial or Gen Z’er how many of them are going to read a book longer than 200 pages? Moby Dick? Huckleberry Finn? 20,000 Leagues under the sea? War of the Worlds? Lord of the Rings? Forget about it.
In Movies the decline is even more obvious. From the 1940s – 1990s we had a litany of all time classic films that focused on great storylines and actual substance. Casablanca. Vertigo. Rear Window. High and Low. Lawrence of Arabia. 2001 A Space Odyssey. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Platoon. Schindler’s List. Shawshank Redemption. Even the blockbusters back then like Back to the Future, Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, E.T, Jurassic Park, Terminator II, Robocop etc combined a great storyline with exciting visuals. This continued until the late 90s – early 00s with classics like Magnolia, Memento, American Beauty, Mulholland Drive, Almost Famous etc but then in the mid 2000s we got hit with the trend of ever more visual movies that promised special effects, explosions, action etc – at the detriment of a good storyline! Almost all the superhero movies are guilty of this (with some notable exceptions like Interstellar and The Dark Knight which are actually good movies). Fast and the Furious, the Star Wars sequel trilogy and Transformers are particularly guilty of this. They are terrible movies story wise, but they make big bucks because of today’s instant gratitude generation that want to see action, explosions and CGI immediately. Ask any Millenial or Gen Z’er if they want to watch Gone with the Wind or Bridge on the River Kwai or The Searchers and watch as they squirm and probably get bored within the first 2 minutes of the opening. Which is a shame because as I said, this generation prefers style over substance. Even animation suffered; hand drawn 2D animation of the past that all had distinct art styles reflective of their creator like the old Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbera, Don Bluth movies, Disney movies etc turned into all the same 3D crap. All the 3D characters in movies look very very similar because they were all done with a computer. There’s no charm left.
In Music, we can see a pretty easy decline too. In the 1940s-1950s we had great solo artists like Billie Holiday, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Ellen Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis etc and then into the 1960s with the evolution of brands like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, The Temptations etc then into the 1970s with a diverse array of artists like ABBA, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, The Carpenters, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Bee Gees, etc and then into the 1980s with more artists like Michael Jackson, Hall & Oates, Prince, George Michael, Madonna, U2, Elton John, Van Halen, Guns N Roses, AC/DC etc then even into the 90s/early 00s with a even more diverse array of artists like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Tupac, Jay-Z, Eminem, Oasis, Coldplay, Radiohead, Green Day, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Linkin Park etc but again starting from the mid 00s, the music became more produced, more artificial and everything started to focus more on the visuals than the actual raw quality of the music. I think the culmination of that is the current popularity Kpop and EDM. Now I’m not saying the artists today aren’t talented – just that they lack substance compared to the artists of yesterday. Kpop is literally visuals first, singing second. EDM is literally just completely produced, computer generated music. What happened to artists actually you know, performing their music? So yeah, ask any Millenial or Gen Z’er to listen to some Oscar Peterson or Stan Getz or Jimi Hendrix’s Third stone from the Sun and they would probably react with a very confused look on their face. They wanted immediate gratification, heavily processed music, more visuals and incredible music videos.
In Video Games, we can also see it. In the 1980s this was the golden age of arcade games. Atari 2600 ruled the home market. Atari’s games had very crude graphics and was literally just about getting the highest score. Arcade games were about getting the highest score. Nobody played Space Invaders or Pacman for the visuals, it was all about the gameplay. Then the NES came with classics like Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, Contra, Megaman, Bomberman, Metroid, etc and with the 90s I think video game really reached its peak as far as substance (gameplay) was concerned. the SNES and Genesis took it to a new level with games like Sonic, Super Mario World, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Megaman X, Earthbound, Gunstar Heroes, Streets of Rage, Final Fight, Zelda Link to the Past, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Donkey Kong Country, Pokemon etc for the 2D games and Goldeneye 007, Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Ocarina of Time, Tomb Raider, Tekken, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy 7, Castlevania Symphony of the Night, Crash Bandicoot etc for the 3D games and an absolutely incredible decade of genre defining PC games like Doom, Quake, Half-Life, Duke Nukem 3D, Commander Keen, Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft, Myst, System Shock, Jazz Jackrabbit etc and going into early 2000s with games like GTA 3, Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, Diablo II, Counterstrike, Warcraft 3, Deus Ex, Half Life 2, Halo, Knights of the Old Republic etc but just with the other industries starting from the mid 2000s, there was again the trend of focusing on more style (visuals) than substance (gameplay). Now you got games that are pretty much just a movie with very limited interaction and very linear gameplay. Call of Duty and Assassins Creed are probably the games I want to call out the most for accelerating this trend, but games like Uncharted and Last of Us might as well just be interactive movies right? Now it’s just like the other industries; the current generation just cares about framerates, resolutions and great graphics over everything else so the major game studios prioritize that. Gone are the days of caring about gameplay and high scores above everything else. Ask a Millenial or Gen Z’er to play Battletoads or Double Dragon or Megaman 2; they’ll complain that there’s no instructions or handholding, the graphics suck, die in the first 10 seconds and never want to play again.
Even sports are affected; As a basketball fan, I lament the days in the 80s and 90s where we would see players battle it out on the court, rivalries were deep, players genuinely hated each other, and there was a balance of interior and perimeter game and solid fundamental plays from most players; now it’s all perimeter game, everyone is buddy buddy with each other, everyone wants to do flashy fadeaways and dunks like Jordan without thinking about the fundamentals and breathing on another player is a foul. What happened to the game I used to watch and love?
Now, keep in mind I’m just talking about *mainstream* entertainment – the indie entertainment scene is still all well and good and do generally focus more on the substance than the style ( or maybe a mix of both), but I do feel like today’s instant gratification generation has pretty much ruined mainstream entertainment compared to the previous generations.