The New American Dream is a Hashtag

“The new American dream” … although to some this phrase marks an obnoxious, jealousy-inducing stream of hashtags, to a more refined group of the academic elite, these expressions of individuality reveal the changing depths of the American Dream. Instead of the age old notion of “keeping up with the Joneses,” this new concept, reflected in Facebook posts and created by this generation’s self-proclaimed “#worldtravelers,” embodies the new pinnacle of the good life which is now who can touch down on the most continents, take the most stunning instaphotos, and, the most artistically masterful touch of all, create the best hashtags.

This trend supports a reappearing theme: Why look at the Mona Lisa when you can partake in the artful experience of the selfie with a #Louvre #ParisCityofLove? Why put down your iPhone when you can Snapchat pictures of yourself eating gelato in Milan to all of your friends stuck in class? Why listen to an entire Bach symphony at Notre Dame when you can take a few recordings and peace out in time for the next photo-op? Clearly, this method of covering ground with minimal appreciation is a creative and fresh nod towards minimalists such as Henry David Thoreau and contemporary architectural movements.

It is clear in my experience abroad that famed literary and artistic prizes, such as the Nobel Prize for literature or the Pulitzer Prize for journalism, must expand to include this new vibrant and fresh group of artists. Additionally, the age requirements for an eligible winner should be lowered to include the real trend-setters in this field. Reverse agism is clearly at play when these institutional nods exclude 13-year-olds whose parents send them to Italy for the summer and who post moving images with their ever-more clever hashtags. For example, two 16-year-olds achieved artistic fame when they posted a photo of them drinking abnormally large bottles of Champagne Krug (costing around $400 per bottle) at the Aiguille de Midi with #HighLife. This is clearly literary and artistic genius.

Furthermore, the different types of posters range from spoiled rotten 16-year-olds, to upper-middle class white girls who wants to save the brown children, to world-class adventurers who have been raised wearing Patagonia. These new stereotypes have dusted off age-old archetypes previously found in the artistic world and now have set a new model for expression that everyone can relate to, that is, if you have an iPhone and an internet connection.

In fact, the MSU College of Arts and Architecture will now be offering a whole new set of seminars and courses in order to educate and train this generations artists on how to perfect the art of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts. A special seminar will be offered on the art of the selfie. Blog sensations and adventurers at the head of this cultural and artistic phenomenon will be brought in as guest professors to direct the work of the class.

Why experience anything in the world today when you could blog about it, post photos on your facebook page, and make everyone leading normal lives so jealous that suicide rates climb?

“Editors note: this article appeared in the March 26, 2015 edition of the Exponent, the “Excrement”. The edition is the annual April Fool’s edition of the paper. All articles are satire. For questions and comments please contact editor@exponent.montana.edu or (406)994-2224.”