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Shotgunning anybody in this room would be the moral equivalent of killing a car, a vacuum cleaner, a Barbie doll. Erasing a computer disk. Burning a book. Probably that goes for killing anybody in the world. We're all such products.

A direct quote from Chuck Palahniuk's sophomore novel Invisible Monsters, we're all such products paraphrases one of the book's central themes. In a world where everything's been said, done, and thought, shouldn't the word unique just be struck from the record?

Living in a society that is so intensly monotonous means that many of us will have been exposed to the same influences from birth. Granted, many of us may not have been much affected by the Tamagotchi plague brought down upon the children of 1997... But for every generation, there's at least ten really awful fads to endure which are enthusiastically perpetuated by the eevile corporate moguls of Satan's round table. Needless to say, television is often the vehicle for this diabolical promotion, and presents us with the most copious and forceful examples.

TV offers us pre-packaged opinions about everything from music to clothing to food, and even allergy medicine. In the age of satellite dishes and/or digital cable, you've got enough channels so that you can have 24/7 cool spoon fed to you by some grinning anorexic in Prada. And there are at least five channels that offer to raise the kids for you with an endless barrage of marginally entertaining shows that are interrupted every five minutes so the boys downstairs can carve out junior's uncontrollable longing for sugar-coated cereals, cheap plastic toys retailing at a 600% mark-up, and compilations featuring generic renditions of classic kids songs with hidden meanings about rampant disease and war.

The younger portion of society is also heavily influenced by the pop culture puppets loosely defined asmusicians by the record executives and corporate sponsors who pull their strings. Aside from telling poor misguided youth that theirs is the music they're supposed to like, the musicians also serve the pivotal functions of helping confused young'uns buy the appropriate shoes for playing pro-basketball and offering you the best possible carbonated beverage.

Unfortunately, just about everyone born after 1975 has had to endure a lot of crappy conditioning from TV and pop culture. By the time we've reached adolescence, many of us are so painfully boring and have such exceptionally predictible taste that one can easily imagine 80 percent of the population having been shipped out from the same factory. But then, there are no two people who have had the same influences played on the same base of natural tendancies. Life experience and genetically inherited personality traits form a combination completely unique to each person, and it seems that this combination is what goes on to determine whether we will stick to the mold, or break out and live a real life.

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