The Tragedy of False Rebellion

Today, non-conformity is acceptable in our society. Or is it really? Because it seems to me like some ways of expressing non-conformity are acceptable, while others aren’t. I like to call the former “acceptable rebellion”. Don’t get me wrong, I like rebellion. I like it when you choose your own way over conforming to what everyone wants you to be. I just don’t like it someone makes it look like they’re rebelling, but are actually just telling the masses what they want to hear. Non-conformity and rebellion are not non-conformity and rebellion when you’re just dishing out something that society wants to hear, or what society is telling the people what they want to hear. Perhaps it’s related to the tragic phenonemon of what was previously vehemently against the status quo then becoming the norm. Take Christianity for example. Before it became the religion of the Roman Empire, they were rebelling against it, guided by the teachings of their spiritual leader, Jesus. Then they became the religion of the Roman empire to become pretty much everything they, and Jesus for that matter, ever hated, and what it is today. Or the hippie movement of the 1960’s. Back then, they were the rabblerousers and social non-conformists of their era who fought against the establishment, primarly against the Vietnam war among other things. Now, many of their ideas and spirit of idealistic rebellion are accepted both as the norm and as the typecast one of the non-conformist stereotypes. Hell, the musical icons of that decade, such as the Beatles, are among the most popular musicians in the world. That example is reflected in contemporary artists engaged in moral social commentary, such as Banksy (a sell-out among the graffiti art world), who are accepted because their “rebellion” is the rebellion that people want to hear. And ultimately, that’s all that happens in modern times. Most cultural rebellion seems to not be true rebellion, but rather just more stuff the people want to hear, and people telling them just that.

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2 responses to “The Tragedy of False Rebellion

  1. Pingback: Why Banksy is a sham « The SMAGIC Blog

  2. Very well said. I am surprised by how many “subversive” rebels are in fact acting more in line with pop culture tropes & meaningless vapid platitudes over actual rebellion or a DIY spirit of doing what you want without it being about a mass audience watching you or hyping up your art, music, or whatever. Very similar to the problem with how the punk attitude was meant to be a true and honest rebellion against the status quo but many turned into the most narrow minded idiots in the world, always dressing the same and accepting only those “punk enough” to fit in with their new elite groups. With Banksy I think it is hilarious he has legit art shows where privileged celebrities spend millions on his art…it kind of sends the opposite message of “It’s not about fame or money” or “it’s so cool because it’s illegal” … because similar to filthy rich gangster rappers who brag about murder or selling drugs, it’s very obvious an insecure plea to be accepted as a rebel while making millions off bragging about being a rebel or some under dog. So bizarre the world we live in. I forget who said it, perhaps Ian from Minor Threat, but it was basically saying how pioneers in any art form or sector should know when to get out of the way to allow for further, more truly honest or independent expressions of rebellion, since those people who get a taste of fame or success, understandably but usually buy into their own hype and become an out-of-touch marketing machine parody of their original selves, and are more concerned with dishing out what people want or what sells over what they want.

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