America's Future Aesthetics
The Future of Our Canvas
By Christopher Michael Carter
I grew up a science fiction fan. My love for sci-fi films grew more as I grew. I love all kinds; all of the cross genres of sci-fi + horror, comedy, drama, fantasy, etc. Almost more than anything else I love the designs of the worlds created in the genre. One of my favorites is that clean, sterile, blank look; real minimalist. I always wondered where the idea of that look came from; how did the designer think that’s what the world would look like? How did they come to that particular look? And then it hit me… We’ve hit a world now where everyone’s offended by something. The offenses aren’t new offenses by any means; we’ve all just decided to be more vocal about them. Within the past decade, almost more than any other, more people are realizing their voices and standing up saying “Hey, I don’t like that. Don’t show it.” Art has always been scrutinized for its content but it seems that the intricate and expanding ratings systems on every piece of entertainment isn’t enough and people still want to speak against it, and that’s just merely an example.
Today we’ve hit a point where people have no qualms about stating what offends them and that said offenses shouldn’t be shown. It’s much like children and how they operate. The more vocal child speaks up and throws a fit about how much they dislike something and it’s removed. So the next child says “What about me?” People use examples and state “Well if we have to change THIS then why shouldn’t THAT be changed as well? It’s only fair.” People tend to fight for what’s fair on a personal level. We’ve lived with the same list of rights for so long people think if there are more rights given that it somehow changes the list instead of the thought of EXPANDING the list of rights. Conservatives are offended by the rainbows and what it represents; free love and equality. Liberals are offended by symbols that are most commonly associated with oppression and segregation. You can tell a lot about a person by what they stand against. People tend to weave their religious views and beliefs with their constitutional rights when, in all honesty, they don’t always go together. Sure, we have the right to believe what we choose but it doesn’t negate or cancel out the rights of others. Our personal rights are near and dear to us and we tote them with us wherever we go even if it’s out of our jurisdiction. As Americans we get upset when we have to “Press 1 for English” however when we find ourselves in another country we expect some things to be in English and the people to speak English fluently.
We’re always going to be rubbed wrong by another’s belief system or turned off by their actions. As said, we’ve come to a point where people are standing up more and more and saying “This bothers us; why must we be forced to look at it on a daily basis?” Everyone wants an equal piece of the pie and the fight for those pieces is getting stronger, but at what cost? The colorful décor of the country is fading by each individual offense taken. There was a cereal commercial that featured a family of mixed race and people freaked out. “How can they show this on TV? Why can’t the family be all one color, one KIND?” Instead of growing and expanding their national pallet people want to fight for the way things were. That’s the way it works for people who these rights work for, of course, the ones in which these rights work against don’t feel the same. A lot of people want to CONSERVE their way of living and are threatened by the thought of expansion while others want to LIBERATE us from the chains of yesterday and move forward anew.
In this fight it seems that our solution is to remove everything that is deemed offensive, and what is righteous and just to some is offensive to others. What is peace to some is chaos to others. It would seem that a lot of times people aren’t actually offended by what they claim but are more offended by someone else getting their way and then, whether we realize it or not, it comes out “What about ME?” Much like school, often times one child won’t get punished but the whole classroom will take the heat. We’ve all heard “Okay, class, if the one who did this doesn’t stand forward, I have no choice but to punish everyone.” And that is exactly what is going to happen: eventually every bit of décor that makes this a colorful country will be taken down and we will be left with a blank, sterile, “safe” exterior to appease the masses. Surely homes will still be granted the right to have their interiors however they see fit, however, it would almost seem as though it won’t be long before our interiors are dictated as well. Even though I enjoy the look of these sci-fi films with their view of a cold world, the thought that it’s becoming a reality is a little scary and with everyone fighting to take down what bothers them we’re edging closer and closer to that “futuristic” Earth. I now understand why so much science fiction holds such a view of the future however the “fiction” in this genre’s title is slowly fading and it’s becoming a harsh desolate view of the blank expression of a catatonic nation. While it’s smart to stay alert, we needn’t worry as much about outside forces as much as our infighting in that we will all kill each other (ourselves) over how we all personally see our individual rights. We are a strong willed bunch and we will fight (outsiders AND each other) for rights to the bitter end although I’m afraid in doing so we will eventually erase what we have worked so hard for.
So to appease the ever growing sensitivity of the first world everything will come down and what will be left is a blank canvas in which painting on will eventually be outlawed. Of course, this is all in theory…