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  1. Christopher Snape.
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    Christopher Snape. Member

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    'Fashionable' opinions.

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Christopher Snape., Oct 18, 2014.

    Bear in mind this is all anecdotal, but over several years I've seen certain opinions become popular, only to tank several years to months later. I know this happens often, but it seems to be accelerated thanks to the internet. That's only a hypothesis, but I still thought it would interesting to note all of the occasions I've seen this, and discussing the possibility of human culture being cyclical in nature.

    Note that the following are not all-encompassing movements such as feminism and gay rights. As a white adolescent who spends far too much time on the internet, what I observe is more niche and not experienced by everyone.

    1. 'Kony 2012.'
    I was at the beginning at Year 10 (sophomore year for any Americans reading this) when this unfurled. For a time, everyone at school was obsessed with supporting the Stop Kony movement and saving the 'Invisible Children.' Then ever so slowly, one or two people voiced their distrust with Jason Russell's intentions; probably an internal need to be 'edgy' and have a differing opinion.

    Then suddenly, news spread of an incident in which Russell was caught acting extremely indecently in public. The dam burst then, everyone stopped talking about Kony, presumably sheepish over being associated with Russell and his actions.

    (I admit, I'm probably biased when it comes to the 'one or two people' having 'edgy' views, considering I had a crush on one of them at a time and was paying more attention to her than anyone else. This brings me to my second case study.)

    2.'Edginess.'
    Around the same time as the above, many people on Facebook (myself included) became obsessed over two individuals known as 'Carl Sherburne' and 'Tristan Barker'. Though they came from different backgrounds, these viral stars shared a key trait: being 'edgy'.

    Namely, this is overuse of dark humour. Constant 9/11 jokes, making fun of people with diseases (a popular target was Adalia Rose, a little girl with progeria who also became viral in 2012), etcetera. Each time someone voiced their disagreements, the stars would respond with either "it's freedom of speech" or "it's satire, stop being so politically correct", often screenshotting and posting the altercation so that their legions of followers would voice their (agreeing) opinions in an insufferable echo chamber.

    I followed them for a time, but then for a reason I don't remember, I fell out of favour with them. So did the rest of Facebook apparently, because they have since drawn criticism and 'edgy' archetypes are now being made fun of. Perhaps its due to their misuse of freedom of speech (it does not mean freedom to make offensive statements without any sort of consequence, surprisingly) or because the audience felt a need to be unique, and began dissenting as a result.

    Finally:

    3. Atheism.

    As an atheist, I went through that 'discovery' phase where I unabashedly shoved my newfound beliefs in other people's faces. Last year I borrowed atheist and religion-themed books from a public library, and requested 'the God Delusion' for my birthday, which I then carried around with my textbooks at my Christian school. It's definitely due to my experiences on the internet: Facebook and Reddit were the same, and no doubt pushed me from being apathetic/unquestioning of religion to despising it.

    Nowadays I'm not like that at all. And considering this phase occurred between a year and a half to a year ago, I surprised myself with how quickly I've moved beyond that. I'm still an atheist, but I feel embarrassed to look at the copy of Dawkin's book on my shelf. While I still find many aspects of ancient religion (and modern, judging from the Islamic minority in the news) reprehensible, I acknowledge the massive role religion has played in orchestrating world history. Furthermore I am open to the idea of select Christian values (such as loving thy neighbour, serving others and not worshipping false idols (I detest modern celebrity culture)), but obviously not flagrantly anti-gay attitudes and not wearing mixed fabric (it's in the Bible). I am also interested in biblical texts from a epistemological view: wanting to learn about history and incorporating similar themes in my writing.

    I think I largely credit this change due to me realising just how many Christian friends I have, and that enforcing my beliefs was not worth alienating them from my close circle. At the same time however, the internet once again fell out of favour with it. Nowadays, asserting atheism online is often met with ridicule: memes such as "tips fedora" and "you must be so brave" spring to mind. Furthermore atheism is associated with negative traits, such as the 'neckbeard' stereotype: male, unshaven, internet addicted, overweight misogynists. Admittedly I match the first three of those...

    I apologise if it reads like I'm struggling to make an actual point, but this is a theme that keeps recurring wherever I go. If you'd like to discuss similar experiences of your own I'd be more than happy to listen. From a sociological perspective, it's fascinating how easily humans assimilate and assume the opinions of those around us without really noticing and cave in easily to mob mentality.

    It's also terrifying how your mind - arguably the largest factor in individuality and your own hallowed temple - can be a fashion; ebbing and flowing like a tide and so easily influenced by external factors. But that's enough for now.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know if you mean high school sophomore or college sophomore, but either way, you're young.

    There are definitely tides of public opinion and ideas crest and then ebb away. For sure. But there's also a stage of your life, probably mid-high-school to, yeah, about the end of your undergrad, when I think ideas and beliefs wash through you so fast you can barely keep up. It's like you're trying them all out, and they're exciting and new and for the first time you're believing what you believe instead of what your family tells you to. It's great, but... you're likely going to believe a lot of nonsense. And your friends will believe nonsense, too, either the same stuff as you or something different.

    Try to find some thoughtful adults and ask them to try to remember what they believed when they were in their first year of university, and ask them if they still believe it now. You'll probably hear a lot of regretful laughter.

    Enjoy the rollercoaster! Throw yourself into new ideas and explore them honestly and openly, and see what sticks. This is the time of your life for doing that. It can seem a bit silly, maybe, when something you believed in passionately last year seems silly this year, but... that's life. Experience it!
     
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  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I remember someone once said that currently atheism is popular with the people who once thought segregation was a good idea. I don't know if that's true, but I've met some atheists who are idiots.
     
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  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    What a ridiculous statement. I've met some people of just about every creed who are idiots - but what does that have to do with anything? (And what possible connection could there be to segregation?)
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I think the point he was making was it is the fad now, though I agree it is a silly comment.
     
  6. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never caught the whole Kony 2012 craze. That was what I believe to be slacktivism at its worst. "Help those poor children! Oh look a new iPhone..."

    On edginess, I follow Carl Sherburne and almost enjoy his edgyiness. I don't agree with everything he says (he can be very hateful) but I agree with a lot of it. I don't know what's so great about the edginess. Maybe I can just drop being polite and proper for a moment. And no I don't joke about 9/11. It's, as some would say "Too soon". It's also too close to home, so I don't typically touch that one with a ten foot pole.

    On Atheism, I've abstained from religion for most of my life when in 2012 I discovered atheism. I became an atheist and was a militant one for a while until I realized that the reason I hated religion was because of its treatment of others who were not part of that religion, then I realized that many atheists were like that. I stopped associating myself with them and became agnostic instead.

    I think Kony crashed in a month. Edginess is still going and will forever (go look at /b/ for that stuff). Atheism is growing strong but it'll die off in favor of agnosticism soon, I think.
     
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  7. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    Just because there are some smart atheists doesn't mean that being an atheist makes you smarter.
     
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  8. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    The whole gay rights issue is an interesting case study: around half of the US's population opposes it, but many of the supporters seem to think of it as cool and edgy. In contrast, I notice that the word "feminism" and discussions about sexism are often ridiculed... for some reason.

    It also interests me when people fanboy/fangirl over marijuana but continue to fear and hate all the other illegal drugs and look down on their users. That seems to be more about conformity than logic.

    I called myself an agnostic for a time and looked down on atheists because that seemed fashionable to me (for some reason). Then, I realized that atheism can be defined as a simple lack of belief (rather than complete rejection), and I thereafter identified as an agnostic atheist.
     
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  9. Russo
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    Russo Member

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    I just want to point out something I've noticed in relation to the OPs "Atheism" subject, I have noticed an extreme rise of non-religion and a fall of religion. Here in the US, we are fighting against the government when it comes to freedom of religion. I've been reading numerous articles regarding the right to pray being stripped away from school officials, public events, etc.

    I apologize if my response strayed away from the main point. However, I must agree with the OP about the trendiness of "edginess" etc. I, too, must blame it on the internet. However, I have never fallen victim in following said threads, ideas, organizations, etc. I bypassed them as another fail attempt to excite the internet society. Like the OP said, "I followed them for a time, but then for a reason I don't remember, I fell out of favour with them. So did the rest of Facebook apparently, because they have since drawn criticism and 'edgy' archetypes are now being made fun of. Perhaps its due to their misuse of freedom of speech (it does not mean freedom to make offensive statements without any sort of consequence, surprisingly) or because the audience felt a need to be unique, and began dissenting as a result."
     
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