Everyone Self-Expressing

Categories Words on a Screen

“Maybe there is a new radical way of looking at the world. A new exciting, fresh way which we haven’t seen yet because it doesn’t fit with our preconceptions. Every age has a thing that it deeply believes in that 50 years later people will look back and say, ‘My God, look how conformist they all were.’ You look at photographs of men in bars in the 1930s. They’re all wearing exactly the same clothes and same hats.

We may look back at self-expression as the terrible deadening conformity of our time. It doesn’t mean it’s bad and it doesn’t mean it’s a fake thing. It’s gotten so that everyone does it—so what’s the point? Everyone expresses themselves every day.

We’re all self-expressing. It’s the conformity of our time. They’ll look back and say, ‘My God! It’s a bit like they all wore the same hats in the ’30s. They were all self-expressing.’

That’s the thing we can’t see. It’s not to say you can’t make art if you want to do it, but it’s not the radical outsider. It’s not the hipster cool outsider. It’s everything. It’s conformity.” —Adam Curtis