Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Look At Me

Look at me. I’m so damn bitchin’. Or, you could substitute hot, sexy, fun, or provocative. It could be almost anything except accomplished. That’s the analysis of a variety of professionals in various fields commenting upon much of the current crop of adolescents, young adults and even so called mature adults. The crop can be characterized as the “look at me” segment of American society.

In Thomas Sowell’s piece “Attention Getters,” he states,

People can get attention either from their accomplishments or from their deliberate attempts to get attention. Today, almost everywhere you look, people seem to be putting their efforts into getting attention.
Wild hairdos, huge tattoos, pierced body parts, outlandish clothing, weird statements -- all these have become substitutes for achievements.

I wrote in, The Conformity of Non-Conformity or How I Learned to Love the Tattoo,

Noted psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Marmer stated on Dennis Prager’s nationally syndicated radio show sometime ago that individuals who have not done anything to earn recognition will get a tattoo as a way of saying look at me, I’m somebody.

A recent Pew study entitled “Generation Next” stated,

Generation Next includes those Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 years old.

They are the "Look at Me" generation.

About half of Gen Nexters say they have either gotten a tattoo, dyed their hair an untraditional color, or had a body piercing in a place other than their ear lobe. The most popular are tattoos, which decorate the bodies of more than a third of these young adults.

Apparently we have a whole bunch of shallow, narcissistic people who tattoo and pierce themselves in a subconscious response to feelings of inadequacy due to their perceived lack of accomplishment in some manner. Which is not at all the same as getting drunk and doing something stupid, or is it? At any rate, it is a grasping for attention.

For females, seeking attention expands into the realm of provocative sexual behavior and pornography. A California therapist stated,

"It has to do with pleasing somebody else — the grasping for attention.

He sees it as

… a sexual disconnect with girls who exhibit provocative behavior they're not ready for — from undressing online to performing oral sex on boys.

The therapist’s views are reported in Martha Irvine’s recent article entitled “In a porn-driven, 'look-at-me' culture, some women view physical appeal as power.” She wrote,

Many agree that the trend has had a particularly strong influence on young women — in some cases, taking shape as an unapologetic embracing of sexuality and exhibitionism.

It's a prevalent sentiment in our look-at-me culture.

"Instead of pornography or performative sexuality being one choice among many ways of being sexual, it's essentially become the standard of sexiness,"

Is society becoming shallower? Is it just my imagination? Is it the hallucinations of an old man? I think not. It is the telltale sign of an unraveling at the edges and seams of society.

Again, Thomas Sowell,

The problem is not just with people who want to get attention by the way they dress, act, talk, or show off in innumerable other ways. The more fundamental problem is that the society around them pays its attention to such superficial and often childish stuff.

In short, the problem is not that particular people do particular things to get attention. The problem is that the society at large no longer has standards by which to deny or rebuke attention-seekers who have nothing to contribute to society.

Out of the touchy-feely, free love environment arose the mantra of I’m ok and you’re ok. That mutated into a non-judgmental philosophy prevalent in many people today.

Thomas Sowell,

In a "non-judgmental" world, what is there to determine who deserves notice, except who can make a big splash?
Do not expect sound judgments in a society where being "non-judgmental" is an exalted value. As someone has said, if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

America, be not afraid to start looking for the causes when your children want to do something stupid that says look at me. If they try to hide it from you, you’ve done one thing right anyway; You set a standard. Sometimes all you can do is wait and hope they become secure and abandon their narcissistic indulgences. Other times, you can lay down the law.