I’m just wondering if we are living in a heightened age of upset and this level of angst is all new - or have previous generations gone through this much agitation?
Have we always railed against societal norms and demanded change and that’s actually how we’ve evolved as a civilized society?
Have we always had this many grievances, but they’re just being flagged more now due to social media and the easy access to click on a petition and make a complaint? Or are we living in peak angst?
Change.org, for example, currently has a petition for just about everything.
Banning the little fish shaped plastic soy sauce containers, allowing coloured hair in schools, banning the felling of mature exotic trees, a petition to fly the aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbour bridge all year round, a petition to help end LGBTQI and human rights abuses in Chechnya, a petition to change the chairs at Kuranui College to beanbags because, and I quote, “chairs suck”.
A total of eight people have signed that one, FYI.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse to a petition, I’m just perplexed as to the focus for the change warriors these days. The outlets for angst seem to be vast.
Almost everything is offensive now. There are huge movements to ‘cancel’ things like Dr Seuss books, TV shows like The Muppets and Fawlty Towers are deemed offensive, and people - Piers Morgan, anyone who says anything deemed unpopular, the Monarchy. It all now needs cancelling, apparently.
And what’s interesting is these movements have traction and are often getting results.
Which makes me wonder if some of the vitriol and momentum is misguided, and we could in fact be effecting change on a bigger scale.
Yes, a lot of the grievances these days are worthwhile and change is being affected for the better, but what if some of these change crusaders focused on issues like, I don’t know, child sex trafficking? Paedophilia? Domestic violence? Poverty? Just to name a few.
Could we not pour the same energy into making sure kids don’t go to school hungry, that we do into yelping about Piers Morgan?
It seems a lot of the modern day angst is pitted against things or people which are relatively easy to gain a scalp on. If enough people sign a petition we might get a TV host off air. Wow, cool. Now what?
Why are we not aiming higher from the get go?
Let’s pour all that energy, venom and motivation for change into meaningful issues that plague all of us, not just people who may annoy a few of us.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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