So, the culture of Specialness can be blamed for our rampant consumerism and our dissatisfaction with our lives. Other than anomie, what are the consequences? Well, for one, violence. Niedzviecki repeatedly references the Columbine shootings as a case where people, denied acknowledgment for their specialness, sought out a way to be sure they would be recognized. Niedzviecki posits that if Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris had had other channels through which to communicate, the tragedy would have been averted. And, Niedzviecki warns, it will get worse, not better.
With even our sanctioned mass culture becoming ever more violent and extreme, what is left to do that will shock and horrify and thereby proclaim I'm-Specialness? If you go to work like a good boy, you are labeled boring. But how far does the good boy need to go to shake off the aura off Corporate Ken and achieve the status of bad?
(We Need to Talk About Kevin, a fictional tale of school violence, also touches on the idea that eventually, even school shootings can become ho-hum.)
If we are so exposed to I'm Special stories that we have no other way to find meaning and to frame our lives, it is inevitable that we will look for the things that characterize a good story to also characterize our personal narratives. Just like everyone else, we are compelled to find the element in our lives that will make us stand out. For an increasing number of people, that storytelling is not just an internalized act, but also a deliberate, public one. That's where the blog comes in. (What discussion of current sociological trends would be complete without blogs?)
Niedzviecki notes that online journals reflect:
Our desire to be noted (or at least footnoted) in the electronic mass community. In a culture where it is common to obsess over other people's problems as a kind of entertainment—from the trials of the stars as chronicled in People and Star Weekly to the agonies of boy-toy doctors on the boob tube—it really isn't much of a stretch for someone to decide, "Well, my problems can be entertaining, too." And though there's a problem of access to the airwaves of radio and television, no one has yet figured out how to keep us from chipping away at the entertainment monoculture via the net.
To Niedzviecki, blogs are a subversive way for individuals to seize a tiny patch of media estate to declare their own specialness. Bloggers, do you feel ready for your non-conformist birthday cards? In addition to blogging, Niedzviecki cites other instances where individuals try to recreate popular culture for themselves; backyard wrestling and Elvis impersonators are two meme that appear throughout the book. Blogging is a little different, though, because it doesn't just appropriate a piece of pop culture for home use but rather allows the blogger to appropriate a bit of media and brand themselves however they see fit.