The young ‘uns, the Millenials, having been using a word in recent times, “Authentic.” I remember back in the 90’s some people were trying to use this word, but it got us Gen Xers in trouble. It was a sign of our disfunction and failure to *understand how the World works!* We were snobs and spoiled and pedantic, theoretical, over-educated, cruel, selfish, and born failures as a Generation. And, of course, for all of the above, we were useless in the workforce, and lazy, too.
I’ll admit, “authentic” has always sounded a bit arrogant to me. I’m not sure why. I understand the “authentic” concept, and it is laser spot on target. However the word has been under attack for almost twenty years now and the concept has been buried with it. Of course, the Bushies and the Monica backers were never going to like “authentic” the word or the concept. And somehow, September 11, that defining moment for Democracy, became an excuse to say anything, as long as it was pretty and went down like a Spoon Full of Sugar.
I guess in a world of Bernie Madoffs and Jack Abrahamoffs and AIG and Lehman Brothers collapses and home mortgage fraud settlements, I guess it gets harder to pay lipservice to “Authentic,” to dismiss it as the ivory tower idealism of an overedumacated Generation that just doesn’t get “How the World works.” (Or as I like to say, “It’s how it happens. It doesn’t necessarily work.”) I’m not sure people necessarily understand or truly accept it any more than they used to, but don’t think they can ignore it as much.
So in a plastic world full of plastic things and plastic people that seems to be on a plastic slide into a plastic garbage bin with all the other plastic, what to make of “authentic”? Does it matter? Style is nice and works, why bother with Substance?
I don’t know, maybe it one of those—you’re a cat person or a dog person, a morning lark or a night owl, etc. Either you care about the wrapping or your care about what’s in the box. Or maybe for some people, if you like the wrapping, that’s all you notice.
I know when I hear “authentic” these days, I breathe a sigh of relief. It’s like, there’s some hope coming down the pipe. An end in sight to decades of who cares what the person is saying, look at that outfit. Or at least for now.
Because we need a little Real, Just this very Minute, Straight from the Hip and Honest, Simply do not Spare It, . . . .