Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Living Strong

I still have my Lance Armstrong bracelet on. It went from novel, to trendy, to mainstream, and now I believe it's post-trendy. What happened?

In the beginning, these bands were symbols of Armstrong's effort to raise awareness that young people get cancer. Someone very close to me fought cancer (and won!) at the age of 30. She actually received her diagnosis on her birthday. Since then I've known other people with cancer, some who are still fighting it. So, I wear the bracelet to remind me of them.

Along the way, bad things happened around the edges of the message. Some things happened for the best of intentions like bracelets for tsunami support, bracelets for school fundraisers, bracelets for AIDS, or diabetes, or whatever. Somethings happened for simple old fashioned human greed. Google "lance armstrong bracelet" and the top ad is for a company marking these up 400%.

The original message got drowned out , to the point where my five-year old tells me, "Dad, you're not cool, you only have one color. Someone in my class has ALL the colors." Maybe the trendiness will go elsewhere, and the only bracelets you see will be the ones that represent the original message. or maybe, those singning the original tune will get tired of the dissonance first, and when the the trend goes, there will be nothing left.

So how do you keep a message, a concept, from being drowned by its own success, when its such a good idea everyone wants a piece of it?


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