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Not Faking It, No More

I have an opinion on everything… I have read, or known, or NOT.Ask me about the new Netflix original, The Crown, and I will let you know, “Um.. It’s okay, not that great. Could have done better, IMHO.” “How so?” you ask. “Um.. it just doesn’t appeal to me. How can you like it!”

Now remember we’ve been a free nation, and my opinion is an opinion too. Most of us will not bother discrediting it… that too just because I haven’t even watched the trailer for that series I have opinion on (?).

And were I the only one doing “it” (“faking cultural literacy”), I would not bother writing it here to have readers go, “Dude, you are weird!” That I am, but that is besides the point.

Earlier in the semester, in my Introduction to Literary Study class, I was introduced to a nytimes.com article, ‘Faking Cultural Literacy’ by Karl Taro Greenfeld. While most in the class admitted to have “pretended to know so much without actually knowing anything,” there were a few trying to skillfully “fake” that they had actually read the article. Nothing “wrong wrong” with that; in that, we all have been there. But is it fair? Where do we draw the line?

Our choices, our faked opinions… they all have consequences, and what better than to be reminded that today? How did we get here – facing the consequences we are?

At dinner tables, in parties, in classrooms, outside a movie theater, in the middle of 5th Avenue, everywhere… there has been, as the article notices, “a constant pressure” – pressure not to be considered ‘culturally illiterate.’ How can you not know everything? Or let’s put it this way: How can there be so much that you don’t know about? And giving in to that pressure, knowingly or unknowingly, we have paved our own way, as individuals and as a society – you’re not alone on this. But how far are we going with this?

Today “Google, Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media … determine what we are actually reading and seeing and buying.” What has become of us? Is it that we are just recycling stale ideas we found on the Internet or in a conversation we found particularly smart, and then selling them as our own? Or we are too lazy to even chew the information we just received?

… 

“I know.”

“Yeah, but for real… are you aware this is so fatal, this faking?”

“I know,” with a shrug.

… 

How fair is that — to others, to ourselves, this ‘faking cultural literacy’ business?

“So here we are, desperately paddling, making observations about pop culture memes, because to admit that we’ve fallen behind, that we don’t know what anyone is talking about, that we have nothing to say about each passing blip on the screen, is to be dead.”

But how fair is it? Ask yourself today.

… 

~ Hardik Yadav

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/opinion/sunday/faking-cultural-literacy.html?_r=0 
  2. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4786824/ (In case, you too have decided to not “fake it” anymore!)

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