For anyone who might not know, desensitization is quite literally being no longer sensitive to something. It is a hot topic in the modern world. There is growing concern in America for how desensitized the younger generations are becoming. However, I see this fear as slightly ironic; for whilst we are becoming desensitized to some matters, we are hypersensitive to others.
I’d like to argue that our desensitization began with the World Wars. Media became a huge part of society. Women, blacks, veterans, even prohibitionists… people were standing out in ways they hadn’t before to make their points and make them heard. Kids and young adults whose family arose from so much poverty, warfare, and other turmoil were ready to let go. Then there came the age of Rock and Roll – the perfect cure. A remedy to the youth, but a curse to the older generations who were clinging to their Bibles and traditions and morals.
This divergence in society is much like the bipartisan divide of our political views. Conservatives and liberals. Elvis Presley woke the generations to the sounds of a music revolution. His successors included Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin. No longer was it sound and trends that were shocking the culture, but now we passed through a Hippie era with an openness to drug abuse, drinking, letting loose, and noncommittal sex. Parents cringed at this, and understandably so. But cracking down on such behavior only enticed rebellious attitude and an association of “coolness” with anarchy-inspired trains of thought. Self-harm. Harming others. Global conflict plastered across kid’s TVs on their video games.
We have looked for a way out of our old lives and flung it into the open. The media has snatched it up like it does with anything and accelerated this movement. Kids are glued to TV and the Internet, exposed to global horrors and social degrade faster than our grandparents could have ever imagined. But now we try to protect them. We fought for our freedoms in this country, but now we are trying to contain the personal expression we’ve allowed ourselves to utilize in the past.
“You can’t teach kids that in school!” or “You can’t teach just one perspective! You have to teach them all.” “Treat women like equals! Sexism is a thing of the past!” then “Don’t give women special treatment because that’s sexist!” These are just some examples. Basically, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. It is sooo dumb. I could say, “It is sooo retarded” and someone would have a fit. You can’t say this word, you can’t say that word. You can’t call someone that name, but they can say that word. You’re going to hurt someone’s feelings. Do you want me to hold your hand too? I mean, people get upset about things that don’t even relate to them! They take offense in things that don’t bother the people who are actually affected!
As the author states, “We have become so damn sensitive in our continued pursuit of equality that we are beginning to tip the scales toward isolative advantage for the easily offended.” And it’s so true. But, how could it be then we are so desensitized and hypersensitive at once?
It’s all interrelated, I think. It’s all about freedom. It’s all about expression. It’s all about manners and how we present ourselves in society. And a lot of it has to do with how the media reacts to certain tidbits of information and how it regurgitates others. The cure? There may not be one. This divergence might continue until it is a division. But, in the meantime, we can strive to practice full openmindedness, avoid judgment and hypocrisy, and not take personal offense to someone practicing his or her freedom of speech which we have struggled to protect for each and every last one of us.
Fear not the future and have faith in the country to which you have chosen to devote yourself in exchange for your freedoms, freedoms which you should protect for your own sake as well as others. Peace.