What do i owe you, society?

culture-of-alcoholism The message we send : Drink up! It's fun. It's the only way to party.

This is a piece on social media responsibility -- accountability to content

A post by one of my friends - one whom I adore for her strong headed personality - was followed by the hashtag: 
You see, the hashtag bothered me. What do I owe the society? I have the right to do right by me. Should I particularly care about a random spectator? 

Hashtags are warcries of our generation against old notions. In my opinion, they play a rather pivotal role in moulding the mindset of quite a lot of people - or maybe the irresolute ones. Of course, for a generation driven by visual messages, it's not the actual phrase, but the accompanying graphics / images that make the impression - but then again that's just my opinion. This particular war-cry is deep-rooted in our generation. Being unapologetic

The motive
I think this particular sentiment comes as a by-product of the constant battle against pressure from society and burden of expectations on the newer generation, imposed upon by the the older generation. Why should you settle as an engineer if you want to be an astronaut? Why kill your creativity by being a pencil pusher when you can be a writer and pen down your creative thoughts?

The downside
In this process of rebelling, we decided to rebel against everything with a single notion in our minds - "I can hold my own and therefore, I needn't adhere to someone else's rules". "Why should I not embrace my habits and be vocal (or visual about it) about them?"

Coming back to the topic about not apologising & society dictating standards. Let me try and narrow down my focus to the issues I'm talking about -- Posting content on social media.

Smokin' hawt!
Are we talking about our super happening parties - well, partly. If a million dollar movie or a commercial about the products of multi-national corporations are bound by law to carry the message that "Smoking is injurious to health" in case they are showing people smoking in their visuals, then maybe we're not entirely at liberty to post pictures of fancy smoke rings, aesthetic photos of cigarettes or joints publicly. Of course it's your profile, and it probably isn't illegal to post them. But maybe it is a responsibility you have towards the society to not downplay these habits (smoking and alcohol) without proper warning.

Are you accountable for the teenage kid who decided to buy his first cigarette from his pocket money cause smoke rings look cooler on social media than cheetos rings? Maybe not. What about the bratty college kid who got into marijuana cause he's been seeing it all his life and didn't think it was a big deal - right up till the point where he wasted a good part of his undergrad years from a premier institute. Definitely no. It does make it easier for them to go over the edge - prevalence & thereby acceptance. Tell me this - are you more likely to pickup a hooker in India or in Thailand? (haven't in either, so not really the expert)

I am not remotely suggesting that posting photos of drugs or smoking influences people to get into these habits. It doesn't. And it doesn't fully educated the audience of the downside either. Shunning these things and pretending they don't happen was a mechanism of the society to handle the issue of drug addiction and while it is not a good option, we don't have an alternative either. We're so cool and open minded about rebelling against the old guard but we don't take proper care about the message we're actually sending to a random individual in the audience. 

Let's talk over a drink?
Drink responsibly. You see, as a native of the southern parts of India, I grew up watching regional movies which shed light on how the addiction to alcohol destroys lives and had plot points about how fake toddy ruins the health of people. Yes, now we have better treatments to food poisoning and liquor across all prices ranges none of which is lethal. However, even if it is to non-lethal extents it is still ruining your health and we do get counterfeit versions of good labels.  

So, this "Lit AF" lifestyle you're promoting on instagram with pictures of fancy whiskey labels & fancier glasses isn't sending the message :
Alcohol consumption is injurious to health. It can turn into an addiction. Make sure to buy from authorised shops and do not buy cheap labels which can have a significant extent of oils which your body plainly rejects.
The message you send is :
Drink up! It's fun. It's the only way to party.

I know people who drink pretty regularly. While it maybe unfair to label them as alcoholics, they do need to drink when they're upset. Need a drink when they're stressed out. They NEED to drink on Fridays (sober Friday? *shudders*). They need to drink to celebrate. They need it when they're sick even if it's gonna make it worse. And what's even worse, is that this is propagated forward. As an individual you have the right to ruin your health, yes; you can preach forward that mindset too, but you owe it to the society to not to

I am in no way against a bottle of good scotch. But yes, we are propagating a culture of alcoholism and those of us posting these "lit AF" "party scenes" are also the agents of that propaganda and therefore accountable.

What do I owe you?
That's the final piece of my rant. Not what. But why do I owe anything to the society? Well, let's see. You're sleeping in a comfortably in a well-equipped house without the fear of the being killed in your sleep by a serial killer or mauled to death by a tiger. Of course, you are paying quite a lot of money for that security, but if you believe that it absolves you of all your responsibilities, then maybe you should try using that protecting yourself with bundles of currency notes in the middle of nowhere or in wilderness. Your responsibility to the society doesn't end with your taxes and your rents - as a social animal, you are expected to help uphold the framework you are a part of. If you're not allowed to drink and smoke in public cause of certain harms to the structure of society, then maybe the same applies to social media.

Note : I am no better than the average reader here when it comes to morale or discipline. These thoughts, by no means, reflect my lifestyle as an individual. This is just a perspective and while I do try to adhere to what I preach, I do falter and I am not proud of those. I am apologetic for those parts of my personality.


Comments 1

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Ningning Niumai on Tuesday, 10 July 2018 17:40

A very interesting read!! Makes it wonder if we are in anyway contributing and setting a bad example for the generations to come.

I wonder if I'll have a second thought when posting something online again.

A very interesting read!! Makes it wonder if we are in anyway contributing and setting a bad example for the generations to come. I wonder if I'll have a second thought when posting something online again.
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