The March of the Lemmings
Individuality. Think for yourself. Moderation.
These are concepts that America in general seems to have trouble comprehending. Many people talk about them, but seldom do Americans as a whole demonstrate them.
That’s one concept that America has down perfectly!
Now, before you start correcting me, yes I know the characterization of lemmings as “follow-the-crowd-over-the-cliff morons” has been debunked. It’s been shown that even the beloved Disney studios, in their 1958 documentary White Wilderness, purposely threw numerous lemmings off a cliff to their death to continue this misconception in a faked scene of mass lemming suicide.
But I’m not writing a science column. If you know the truth about lemmings, you probably have the intelligence to also comprehend the metaphor that they represent.
America has long demonstrated its follow-the-crowd mentality.
An example is its willingness – nay, eagerness to follow diet fads:
Remember the Atkins diet, originally introduced in 1972, featuring low carbohydrate intake for weight loss? It was followed by a number of copycat diets, all of which Americans gobbled up.
Remember the Pritikin diet, and the book that was released ten years later in 1982, that touted a diet high in unprocessed carbs? Like the Atkins diet which, fundamentally, was its direct opposite, it was followed by a number of copycat diets, which Americans again gobbled up.
The Atkins low carb diet made a comeback in 2002 when Dr. Atkins wrote a second diet book, which again was followed by a number of copycat diets, and Americans, true to their lemming-like ways, followed along and gobbled them up.
This isn’t a critique of the diets. While many fad diets made bold claims unsupported by scientific or nutritional evidence, they obviously had certain things that worked, or they wouldn’t have caught on in the first place. But moderation is what seemed to be missing in so many of their adherents.
I was working as a graphic designer in the labeling industry during the more recent low-carb revolution. During that time, I witnessed how suddenly various food products needed new labeling to draw attention to their carb content, to attract consumers who now viewed carbohydrates as the work of the devil.
A much more recent development in Americans’ march toward the cliff came to mind when I witnessed the latest exposure of professional celebrity and attention whore Kim Kardashian. This week, she posed nude for Paper magazine, a publication that highlights pop culture. Their choice in subject matter this past week demonstrates that their focus is more on pop and very little on culture.
But one of the main things that has been discussed ad nauseam has been the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass. This comes on the heels of Meghan Trainor’s song All About That Bass. Others who have joined the Big Butt Bandwagon include Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez.
Now again, I’m not criticizing the aforementioned people for the size of their ponderous posteriors. I do have issues with the amount of attention that is directed to them, though, both by their owners and by their imitators.
Remember when stick-thin figures were the fashion? Well, while stick-thin is still in in some circles, a lot of people are now trying to develop the bottom-heavy look. Sales of Booty Pop, a padded undergarment designed to increase the size of a woman’s backside, are up about 50% over this time last year.
For those willing to go to a little more work for their fad, gyms, spas and web sites are now featuring exercises designed to build and increase the mass of your ass.
And for those who are extremely devoted to their fad fulfillment, with emphasis on “extreme,” you can now have fat liposucked out of your waist and gut and then injected into your butt. This is only for those willing to pay out the ass, though, as this procedure can cost ten to twenty thousand dollars.
I’m not advocating the idea that people should not do things to enhance their appearance. My regular readers, all two of you, may remember my post of three weeks ago in which I expressed my opinion that if Renée Zellweger wants to have an elective cosmetic procedure done, she should be able to without criticism. (What I actually said was, ‘so the hell what?!’) And I extend this attitude toward anybody else with the desire and the means to do so.
But whatever you’re considering doing, do it for yourself. Do it because it’s what you want, not because it’s the latest trend. Trends have a way of passing, making way for something else, often the opposite of previous trends.
Then what are you left with? A really expensive seat cushion.
You can pick one up at Target for about twenty bucks.