Frankly My Dear…

Is it just me, or are we turning into a society of don’t give a damn(ers)? Everywhere I look I see these cheeky memes – typically subverting the wholesomely retro image of a smiling housewife – with a statement that invariably reads something like “Darling, does it look like I give a (insert colourful word here)?” I pass department store windows and can’t help but notice the vast array of T-shirts bearing similarly irreverent slogans. And cyberspace appears to be crowded with images of young people (literally and figuratively) holding up the middle finger to the world. It seems like less of a fad and more of a growing epidemic!

The iconic smiley face of yesteryear accompanied by the cheery “Have a nice day” has been replaced, it would seem, by the ‘bird’ – and the tag line now reads “(Again, insert colourful word) You!” On the surface of it, it’s defiance dressed up as humour and sarcasm. All of these power statements serve to proudly assert the “I don’t care” mantra of the individual in question. More specifically… “I don’t care what you think of me.” “I’m immune to your taunts, insults or problems.” “Look at my face, is my face bovvered?” Much like the character from The Catherine Tate Show trying to get out of awkward situations by feigning indifference, I find these feisty claims of imperviousness and lack of concern to be very telling indeed…

I sense a great deal of vulnerability behind the bravado. In fact, I get the distinct feeling that most of these folks secretly do care – but they don a cloak of bravura to hide their brittleness. All that witty tough-talk belies a certain fragility.

As I observe the emergence of this culture of ‘unaffectedness’ I’m filled with a deep sadness. Because if so many young people are professing (make that protesting) to not care, then it suggests that they’ve either experienced – or are in constant anticipation of – cruelty or abuse in some form or the other. It’s as if they’re on high alert, expecting attack. Much like when somebody unconsciously folds their arms whenever they feel threatened or uncomfortable. I think it speaks of their need to feel safe and protect themselves in an increasingly hostile and belligerent society that so many young people have taken to adopting such an antagonistic stance.

I can hardly blame them. We live in a sometimes cruel world. Human beings are capable of evil awful things. Prejudice, bigotry, bullying, hate speech, uncaring and cutting remarks are rife. Random, unsolicited acts of kindness are rare. Our cynicism is raging. It’s really hard to maintain a positive outlook when negativity and ugliness get the lion’s share of the prime time news. So many people seem to me to be all gnarled up inside. They’re hurt. Angry. They’re lashing out. They’re those trolls and ‘haters’ – channeling and offloading all their rage and pain upon unguarded bystanders. It’s no wonder so many people are all prickly and on the defensive!

But is developing a thick skin or faux imperviousness really the solution? Isn’t there a danger that not giving a damn prevents us from seeing and experiencing the good things – the beautiful things – too? Might I offer another approach, Dear Young Person?

Author: Imraan Vagar

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  1. I find it strange that you say – ” ican hardly blame them” , you have been there but you got yourself out of it – and look what you made of yourself – you should have shared some of those life changing decisions youu made. Secondly, its not a cruel world – its a beautiful world with cruel people inhabiting it. The young are living at a time of abundance- opportunity, money, food, technology etc, so what their reason for being “don’t give a damn(ers). Too spoilt, too much to soon?

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  2. It’s hard to imagine someone so self possessed as having had a rough time growing up. How does one do it?

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  3. Interesting… I never looked at it from that perspective…

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  4. There is a danger that we can become jaded and closed to any and all…

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  5. If one thing in life is a given, it’s that you will leave a legacy. No matter how you choose to live your life, that will be your legacy.

    Choose people and love – Always

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  6. Hi there,
    I think it’s true what you’re saying but hasn’t it always been like this? The way we treat each other as people? What makes this generation different, aside from having greater social mobility and media access? Or could this be part of the problem?
    Anyway I enjoyed the article. Interesting read…

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  7. Smart & spot on! I admire you candour, well done..

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  8. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. This was just the kind of article I was in the mood for! Thanx!

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  9. We’re a gaggle of volunteers opening a new scheme in our community. Your articles offered us some really useful info, thanks!

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