Until recently I’ve always avoided anything resembling bandwagons. Some part of me felt that there is a kind of inauthenticity about just going “me too”. How could I possibly maintain my integrity and individuality if I simply jumped on a bandwagon? There seemed to be a kind of thoughtlessness to it, a sort of herding instinct, as though there was safety in joining with others and disappearing into the great ocean of mediocrity. (I have also often thought that humans are frequently conflicted, in that we desire to, on the one hand, be the same as everyone else and, at the same time, be unique. A kind of cognitive dissonance.)
‘Fashion’ too has always been a issue for me. Much of is laughable, of course. I snicker at those rolled up trouser legs exposing bare ankles on men. And I laugh out loud at some the wilder of the couturiers’ designs – for both men and women. (I do, however, I wear bluejeans much of the time, not just because they’re easy, but also because they’re universally acceptable these days – at least, in the places that I go to).
I have never leapt on a food fad, health practice. nor joined a multi-level marketing scheme (scam?). I travel to the places where I feel like going, not the latest fashionable ‘destination’. I was always drawn more to music that felt authentic, rather than the popular kind (I was a huge fan of Leonard Cohen for 30 years – while his music was derided as “suicide music” – and was somewhat dismayed when his music was suddenly ‘discovered’.
I also believe there should be a special place in hell for conspiracy theorists.
And bandwagons of ideas (and ideals) are my biggest bugbears. Especially when some of those voices are repetitive and dogmatic, and others join in, untroubled by facts. When I see messages on social media that are clearly bandwagons I feel the desire to challenge the claims.
In other words, I have always seen bandwagons in a negative light.
But then I realized that sometimes the idea of people joining together can be very useful in getting things done. There are, of course, numerous examples of this throughout history. But, most recently, there have been other instances. I definitely do NOT see the #MeToo campaign as being simply an unconstructive bandwagon. Neither is the upsurge of new voices in gun control in the USA (especially from young people) an example of ‘me-too-ism’. These are examples of people coming together, with thought-through arguments and balanced perspectives in proactive demonstrations. I support them both wholeheartedly. And that is very different from thoughtlessly jumping on the next bandwagon that rolls by.
For more on similar subjects you might be interested to read my new book “The god that you are”: