Thursday, October 7, 2010

Monkey See - Monkey Do

I took a long time going through the hundreds upon hundreds (crap, cliche) of cliche's we have these days (a full list of which can be found on my Cliche's page). While doing so I couldn't help but ponder (reminds me of Ponderland by Russel Brand, very funny and he's as crazy as a babboon on Ritalin) things like; Is everything old a cliche? Why a cliche and not a classic? Who gets to decide what's what?

Cliche's are quite the enigma if one has to actually think about it. Everybody tries to avoid using these dull and over-used expressions, but the problem is not how to avoid cliche's, it's realising that cliche's are only cliche's because we make them so. If that sounds confusing, what I'm trying to say is that we ourselves make the cliche's we love to hate, we create them within the fever of popular culture. Tom Courly (check out his blog at, a fellow student at Vega Cape Town, relates people to sheep, explaining how we as one complex group follow the trappings of commercialism blindly, oblivious to our materialistic addictions.

Ok that was my own version of his theory, but where I agree with what he says is the blindness we all have. Take Jack for example: Today Jack finds something which he feels is really cool. Then he shows his friend Peter, Peter in turn shows his friends, and so it goes until Jack's whole hometown thinks that this thing is cool and desirable. The town doesn't have to know it was Jack who found this thing first, that's irrelevant. What's important is what happens afterward. Once everybody in the town knows about this cool object or word or whatever, they don't care where it originated, only that everybody else likes it. This "herd" mentality is the root of the cliche. Once everybody in Jack's town knows about the special something, and once the novelty has inevitably worn off, the cool object is not so cool anymore, and thereafter becomes the proverbial cliche.

With this in mind, I chose the cliche Monkey see Monkey do. I think it's quite fitting for the state of our society, how everybody wants to be someone else's copycat, all us little monkeys, imitating and looking up to the great (and don't forget media-controlled) "King Kong" (just being metaphorical here, you can use another metaphor if the big guys make you uncomfortable), who if it weren't for the media would in our eyes still only be an oversized and very tense gorilla. "The Media" is the true power behind those immense hairy biceps. King Kong is merely a juxtaposed reality, a false desire created (yes, created) so that we see our world in a specific way, all so that we can be zombified (did I make that up?), pure mindless consumerism being the name of the game.

So it is we make for ourselves our own reality. A cliche is only a cliche because the novelty has worn off, or because what was once thought of as unique is eventually overkilled. To find a cliche is not hard, in fact you don't need to look very far at all. One of the biggest cliches like, ever? Love!
Post a Comment