Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cliches and Hipsters (03/15/16)

*It is acceptable to write the word "cliche" without adding an accent over the "e". I have included it as "cliche" instead of "cliché"because of how hard it is to add the accent. If it weren't so hard on this device, I would keep the accent above the "e" throughout this post.

I have been thinking about cliches for a little while now, and when someone mentioned them to me today, I had to write about them.

I don't like cliches. They take an original idea and use it so much that it loses meaning. You see them all the time in books, and even more in movies, since many plot lines are just borrowed, rephrased, and recycled. There are only so many similar books you can read before you grow sick of the same plot ideas used over and over again.

But have you realized how hard it is to write something completely new? How do you come up with an idea that surprises your readers but isn't too complicated or confusing, yet stays completely unpredictable? Say that you want to give a supporting character a hidden identity that isn't cliche. You can't make them blood related to any main character or secretly living a life of crime or even crime fighting, since those are used in so many other stories. But what else is there? Being a member of the British Parliament or the chief zookeeper of a small zoo isn't nearly as exciting.

So what really drive cliches? They're good ideas (usually), and it's a shame that they're given a bad reputation because people use them too much. But what good comes from them once they've already been used? New ideas are what we need to advance as a civilization, whether that means creating a stuffed animal in the shape of a bear for the first time (the beginning of the teddy bear) or creating the next idea of rerouting wires and electrical components to make the next new groundbreaking technology that will change the world. Sure, you can make money if you use someone else's design, but what's the point? It's not useful to make a knock-off version of the current popular app, and you'd get so much more of a reward if you used your own ideas. Also, there's a much lower risk of being sued by the original creator.

So if I think cliches are typically bad and using your own ideas is good, that means I should be a hipster, right? I mean, their goal is to go against what is mainstream, and many things in culture that become cool were originally found and brought to glory by hipsters. Isn't that what I want?

That's a pretty good idea, but it's not quite how I want to be defined. I don't have anything against the people who are hipsters, but the idea of being hipster is once again one of those things that is better as an idea than implemented in real life. What I'm trying to say is that, by assigning a look and a crowd to the idea, human limitations make it harder for the actual goal to be accomplished. I don't want to look or act like the stereotypical hipsters do because that's not who I am, but I like how they challenge how society praises or scorns certain subjects. The idea is good, but the application isn't what I approve.

Here's where I get stuck: I don't like to criticize ideas unless I have an alternative plan that will work better than the one already set in motion. Otherwise, I usually end up holding the world to perfect standards that cannot be met. But how can you solve this problem? Society isn't just one person, so I can't change everything at once. I'd just be a hypocrite for trying because all I'd do is replicate what the hipsters did, and soon the idea to avoid being cliche would become cliche! Why does it have to be a paradox?

Any ideas? Please comment below with what you think.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true. It reminds me of many a discussion for SOL last year. You hit it all in that third and fourth paragraph. So many books we read end up the same way yet as you said what other endings could there be? And the thing about being hipster withut actually being hipster, I agree with you there as well. This is a very well written and thought through piece. Great job!