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You Believed the Hype!

08/24/2009 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

I know the world loves to follow. I'm sorry if you don't like to admit it, but it's just the way it is. We've gotten too lazy. We hardly do anything for ourselves anymore.

We have people praying for us, shopping for us, reading for us. We have people telling us who we are, what we like.

Defining our tastes. Telling us what moves us, what makes us cry, what is our vision of beauty.

Think about it. I'm not far off the mark. Society's vision of a beautiful woman, for example, has changed to something totally different than say, five hundred years ago. Today's "beautiful woman" is an entirely different creature to that of 1508.

What's more, a "beautiful woman" means one thing in Italy and something entirely different in say, Germany, Morocco, or Russia.

And we call this phenomenon "society's norms."

In other words, the society that we live in, those "others" mostly, shape, define, affect, influence, control our likes and dislikes.

The fun thing is that these Definers have quite a bit of power within society. They are the magazines, TV shows, movie stars.

And there is a conflict of interest in all of this. They promote what will make them the most money.

They own both Britney and Vogue (metaphorically speaking, of course).

So they tell you in Vogue that Britney is great. And you buy it. They tell you that Kate Winslett is phenomenal and you agree wholeheartedly, stand in long lines to see her next release.

The problem is that when compared to the true meaning of "great" or "beauty," these samples of our society just don't measure up.

You say "great" and "beauty" are subjective? Yes, I agree. But there is still a touch of objective Platonic truth in those words. I doubt many people can deny that Daniel Day-Lewis is a great actor. Or that Bridget Bardot was beautiful in her day, despite her recent racist (ethnocentric?) leanings. Or that Beethoven was a genius, forever destined to stand among the greats.

Most of today's stars, however, do not deserve that title. Most of what we think we like is just not really what we like. We have not stopped and looked deep within ourselves to see if we really like what they tell us we like. We have simply gone along with the flow. We have taken "their" word for it all.

What we are saturated with is overrated acts that do not fall into the category of the sublime.

For lack of numbers, that top tier has been left mostly empty, and we have jumped to fill that vacuum with mediocrity. We have pushed the "best of our times" into the category of the "best of all time."

It has left me with a very difficult task: finding greats when all of the current lists of great things are well...more like a list of the average.

I think these things are mostly hype:

Michael Jackson
Kate Winslett
Britney Spears
San Diego
Heath Ledger
50 Romantic Things To Do lists
Sliced bread
Kanye West (save for one or two songs)
Kobe Bryant (adulterer....)
M. Night Shyamalan
Good Credit
The Twilight movie
Red roses
Brad Pitt

I just think that we need to stop listening to "them" and think for ourselves.

I've always held that the fingerprint of our souls is what we find beautiful in this world, the entire list of what moves us. A list totally unique to each of us.

We will one day be defined by our idea of beauty and the list of things that we put in that category, and I would hate for this list to show up in the hands of my decedents.

Actually, let's all hold hands and pray that the internet sticks around forever, so that my great great great grand kids read this article and see that I am not on the bandwagon.