While reading Wong and Henrickson’s article on Fashion as Ideas I started to think about a conversation I had recently with a 20 something woman about Canadian Politics. The woman is someone I would consider an intelligent, self-assured and confident young woman – yet when the topic somehow turned to the upcoming Canadian Election, she said “Canadian Politics isn’t sexy….it’s so boring I don’t have time”. While reading Wong and Henrickson’s article I kept going back to my conversation – and so much of what they said rang true. Canadian politics is decidedly unsexy and boring, and as such we are losing generations of voters due to the unsexy factor. It’s not voter apathy – it’s not sexy”. However from much of our other conversation it was clear she was a devour-er of pop culture – where are we going wrong as a society, that our young people believe knowing what Rhianna wore last night, is more important than exercising their voice (and right to vote) in matters that deal with their own lives!!
Wong and Henrickson would say we need to bring the sexy back into politics – we need splashy ads, and sexy politicians – saxophone playing Billy of the 90’s ain’t cutting it anymore. While I see how this makes sense in trying to reach today’s youth – I also wonder if perhaps one of the required fashion campaigns should be “Bring back boring”. If we market ideas and core societal values as high fashion – how do we deal with the inevitability of a fad wearing out. Will scientific ideas become the tear away pants of a generation? Does everything need to be high stimulus, flashy and shiny – are we raising a generation who potentially won’t be able to function in non-sexy times.
I wonder how the teens and early 20’s kids will function in boring stodgy workplaces like me – pharmaceuticals, which are places where amazing science and technology happens, but all book ended by stringent laws and rules to ensure public health and safety. Perhaps in the future companies will have to move towards employee satisfaction models seen in companies like Google – with slides instead of stairs, and quinoa cutlets galore.
I know life will change, society will change, corporations will change to meet the needs of it’s generation – but in talking to my friend about a very small section of society – politics. I almost wondered if some political parties (starts with a C) are gleefully celebrating the fact that reams of voters won’t turn out to vote, because they have succeeded in being boring enough to generate apathy, and so will continue to win, on so many levels.