The Evolution Of The American Pioneer
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Politics and Activism

The Evolution Of The American Pioneer

We may not travel in covered wagons anymore, but there are plenty of frontiers in culture waiting to be explored.

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The Evolution Of The American Pioneer
Pinterest

For centuries, individualism has been a long-standing tenet of the American persona. From our conception as a place for religious freedom and discovery two-hour long history of exploration across the western plains, the United States of America has always been a place for people with the pioneer spirit. Today, however, there are no wide-open stretches of land to explore anymore there's no Louisiana purchase to forge across and no Oregon Trail to traverse. However, it is still clear that the exploratory spirit of Americans will never die; it merely is transformed from exploring lands, to culture and trends unknown.

It is a uniquely American belief that music, art, television shows and all other aspects of culture lose their worth when they become commonplace, well-known, and consequently "basic." I'd argue that most people I know are familiar with that aggravating feeling of flipping through the radio and hearing the familiar sound of a favorite tune being sung by one of your favorite, previously unknown bands. Your stomach drops as you realize the group's songs are tickling the ears of million all of a sudden, and they are no longer your unique find, your untapped source of music and entertainment. I can still remember when I heard one of my favorite bands, Walk the Moon, being played over the airwaves. This once all but anonymous group was now being played on the radio and sung along to by my little sisters. Of course, there was a feeling of joy I felt knowing such a great band had found success, but I was still overwhelmingly upset knowing I wasn't unique for my discovery of a band once unknown. Yes, this view may seem a bit pretentious, but it does, after all, represent the individualistic, pioneering spirit of Americans, thus time in music and culture, not in rugged exploration of a country uncharted.

So, when our special, untapped discoveries become popular, it no longer seems like a mysterious frontier you've discovered, and you are no longer that brave pioneer credited for forging across popular culture and media and coming out on top with findings only you can be credited with. Yes, along with this idea being pretentious, it's also a bit hyperbolic. and yet, still rather relatable to all of us champions of American individualists who arrived too late for the days of covered wagons, but not for this more modern form of discovery. We may not be any Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant," but at least we have some modern form outlet of inquisition and exploration in the best way we know how.

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