Opinion: Social Attitudes and Why “Popularity Rules” is an Invalid Argument


        The argument that because many people like something, it is inherently good or better than something else, appears nearly everywhere in any discussion, debate, or argument. Though we live in a country where it is commonly thought that whatever the majority thinks goes, I believe it does not apply here, both in the debate world and the practical one. The simplest reason why is that, especially in the modern time, the general population has  decided something is good or better many times, even if it truly is not. This is otherwise known as the bandwagon logical fallacy.

     Before I begin, note that the words “good” and “better” do seem extremely subjective. However, if the object of debate is something that deliberately poses a danger to a person’s health, especially physically, the action or object is no longer inherently “good.” Purely entertainment objects such as rainbow loom or actions such as dances can’t truly be characterized as inherently bad or good, and therefore are not considered in this. 

     The word “fad” comes to mind immediately when addressing this topic. Let’s list a few off: Pokémon Go, that one tide pod challenge from goodness knows how long ago, and vaping. In all three categories, there are lots of people, especially teens in high school and middle school who will “guarantee” that this is the “best thing they’ve ever done dude, you gotta try it.” Added to the effects of peer pressure and the stress of wanting to be liked and popular that many, maybe even all teenagers experience in school, out of school and six feet under, and there’s quite the issue. Back to the idea of rainbow loom, there was a ton of pressure to buy it, that’s for sure. People would try to collect as many designs, colors and even just numbers of bracelets that people would love to have in their possession. No, they absolutely needed, their parents don’t understand. Fast forward a year and they’re collecting dust somewhere. At least it’s just money that was lost.

     Pokémon Go is on the lower end of the spectrum of danger. The game itself isn’t inherently dangerous, I would say it is generally kind of fun. An exercise oriented, cooperative-competitive fantastical lightning rat walking simulator seems to be a pretty good idea. However the widespread encouragement that players should “catch ‘em all” evidently has ensued in multiple trespassing incidents. All of which haven’t been resolved for nearly six years, not because of the developer’s fault but because people simply don’t think sometimes. Similarly, there’s also been many instances of people being hit by cars and falling off ledges, and overall just getting injured whilst not paying attention. Now to be fair, that’s a problem that plagues phones, books, newspapers, and basically anything that requires looking down to pay attention to someone, but chasing your 204th ratata of the day sure doesn’t alleviate the problem much.

    Next, does anyone else remember when eating tide pods was a challenge that spread like wildfire on the internet back in 2018? Goodness knows who started it, but the very idea of it doesn’t make sense. Besides the fact that laundry detergent is literally poisonous, the specific age group that dived off the deep end into this trend was teenagers. The tide pod trend did begin based on comments that the product looked very much like candy. To a child, yes, that would make sense, because it does in fact resemble candy. To a grown teenager however, someone in today’s society who very likely is able to read to even hear about this challenge, should be able to read the bright orange plastic container that says “detergent.” And even if whoever it is in fact can’t read, there is even a visual label, in simpler terms a picture, that says the product is not for eating. But of course people did it anyway, because it’s “cool.” I don’t know about you, but I’m about 102% sure with a 2% margin of error that it isn’t actually “cool”. 

     Vaping! The modern day and age’s newest trend. It’s smoking but not bad for your lungs, it’s modern, it comes in different flavors totally for adults over the legal age to smoke, and it automatically makes all your social problems null and void if you sneak out to the bathroom during class! Of course, that would be true if you weren’t literally inhaling sour patch flavored metal. Really, the only thing true in the first three statements is that it is the modern day and age’s newest trend. You’d think that after all the information people have access to these days, they’d know better. Yet, it isn’t actually as simple as just knowing better. As stated before, there’s lots of encouragement that because everyone else is enjoying inhaling lead, you should as well.

     In summary, think twice when a group of people come around you with something new. Look into it first, and don’t believe them when they say “Hey, everyone else likes it.”