Back in an age beyond the mists of time, in a place where space and words have no meaning (2009), some people with clipboards asked a group of children what they wanted to be when they grew up (admittedly, it was bit more complex than that). So what did they find? To the shock of absolutely no-one at all, it turns out that most kids these days want to be…a celebrity.
Well, actually no, that’s a lie. Some people were shocked and started wringing their hands over it and spouted off that this was all the fault of our celebrity culture, reality TV and, if the Daily Mail is to be believed, Princess Diana. Frankly, I’m annoyed that no-one stopped to consider the fact that children are actually evil little robots, robots with half their circuit boards missing and a learning speed that needs to be measured in decades, robots which poop everywhere. I’m probably not father material here, is what I’m saying.
However, despite what I might have said earlier, there’s a very good chance that our celebrity culture resulted in this. You don’t need to be a goddamn psychologist to figure out why near-constant footage of people singing, dancing, playing football, and then earning assloads of money and having crowds cheer their name may have influenced some children’s career choices. Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that the only viable jobs that people could do back in 2009 were: be unemployed, turn to a life of mugging old ladies, or be a banker (for those that wanted to be beaten up on the playground). Looking through that list, I’d choose to be on Big Brother fiddling with pigs for coins too.
But I don’t think we’re through the looking glass yet. If we continue to assume that TV and culture played its role in influencing these kids, you have to wonder what will be influencing our kids. Also, spoiler, you don’t have to wonder because you’re reading these words on it. The internet. It’s near-omnipresent in today’s world; just imagine what it’s going to be like in ten or twenty years when it’s time for us to be spawning the new generation. And, on the internet, what/who do we whoop and cheer and laugh at, and reblog and share endlessly?
You might think I’m being silly here, but let’s look at it logically. Following the model set out by celebrity culture, you need two things to influence children to want to do it as a career: near-constant visibility, and lots and lots of money. The first part is pretty easily covered because, and I’m just going to throw this out there blindly, you all have Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter or any combination of the above. With each of these sites having (and this is gross underestimate here) tens of millions of users, once you reach the meme-sphere, at worst you’ll be shared by a few thousand and then disappear back into obscurity. At best, you’ll be a near-constant presence on each of these sites, like KONY 2012 was, but only with less proselytising and breakdown-masturbation. Unless of course, that’s your niche; no-one’s judging here.
Take the running guy from above, also known as Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, also known as Zeddie Little. That photo was taken completely by accident, but that stroke of luck has resulted in it being viewed over 1.25m times in one week. Oh, and he got an interview with Good Morning America out of it. Unless something prettier comes along, this is going to be studied in schools, either as an example of how interconnected and ‘Web 2.0′ we all were, or as an exercise in how starved for entertainment we were back in t’day.
Now for the money. And you might want to sit down for this. Remember I Can Has Cheezburger? It sold for TWO MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS back in 2007. Also, you’ll also need to factor in the ad revenue they’re raking in from the 2 million page views per day and the money from the books they’ve written off this. They’ve built an entire media empire out of poorly-spelt captions and kitty cats, a fact you’ll be thinking about bitterly next time you’re working your menial job.
Rebecca Black didn’t do too badly out of either, but to be fair, that might have come at the cost of her sanity. Nor is the guy who wrote that book full of Chuck Norris jokes. The ‘Chocolate Rain’ man got a Dr Pepper commercial out of his skit. In fact, the only successful meme that hasn’t resulted in a huge pile of cash swamping the creators is the Rickroll and Rick Astley, who only got paid $12 by Youtube for all the times that damn video was played.
So to summarise, the future is coming and it’s going to mean two things. First of all, you’re going to have to adjust to the fact your children’s faces may one day end up all over the internet above a caption talking about whatever kids in those days will be fanatical about. Secondly, don’t forget to ask the little bastards for your cut. We did start all this after all.