Being Nice is Popular Now
Being nice is popular now. Every time I log onto Facebook, I’m hit with an endless barrage of posts (status updates, videos, posts) of all the nice things that are going on in the world now. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love seeing all this positivity. But some cynical part of me, that tiny jaded circle of negativity formed by living in New York all my life, wonders if people are only sharing these things because it’s now popular to be nice.
Just three years ago, I couldn’t fathom logging into Facebook or browsing Reddit and seeing a stream of good news. People were less socially conscious and both subtle and outright racism very much abounded the interwebz (not that it still doesn’t, but people are fighting back against it now). I remember creating a Facebook event back in high school, named ARK (A Random Act of Kindness) that asked everyone I invited it to to do one small nice thing during that day.
I was met with endless ridicule.
I was even asked if I created that event just for attention. I’m still a little miffed about that. Now, I go onto (insert social media site here) and head cheerleaders are asking out loners, all to be captured on video and subsequently published. Jocks are hanging out with nerds. People are ranting against injustice. But how much of this is for likes? How much of this goes beyond skin deep? Do the head cheerleader and the loner actually have a good time or do they split up at the dance? Do the jocks actually try to be friends with the nerds or is it just superficial? And how many people on my Facebook feed actually care about the issues?
Am I getting older and thus is my network and finally people are maturing and caring? Or is it a positive societal trend? I remember watching the rebooted 21 Jump Street with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum and this trend was reflected in that. The 90’s were full of jocks and assholes, and the 00’s and 10’s are all about accepting, but to the point sometimes when it’s infuriating. O, you identify as mayonnaise? That’s cool, what gender pronoun do you want me to refer to you as?
I hope I’m just being a cynical asshole and everyone proves me wrong. I do believe that society is trending towards a more positive, open-minded, accepting atmosphere. I believe that my kids will face far less racism than I did and that the power is back in the hands of the consumer (thanks to technology) and big companies can’t bully us as much as they have in the past. And while I don’t believe that everyone is completely sincere on their niceness, I subscribe to that age-old adage, fake it till you make it. Our society is fake being nice until eventually, we all become nice.