Author Topic: Death of the Common Culture or How the Internet Will Destroy Civilization  (Read 5743 times)

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Offline nacho

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I was also thinking last night (and by that I mean "sitting in the dark, drinking, and waiting for Person of Interest to download") about how you, RC, might be blaming society (or the internet) for your own addictive tendencies. All this stems out of falling down Youtube and Wiki holes, playing bedazzled, and getting lost in blogs, right? The infinitely terrifying time sink of the internet at large.

But let's look at the psychology of it. You have an artistic mind. Art -- whether it's making films, writing screenplays, writing books, publishing books, or whatever -- takes a huge emotional toll. Each project is painful, and it's all -- no matter how professional you are -- the act of "emptying out," if you will, the contents of your soul and/or very personalized psychosis.

Now, in the days before the internet, writers and artists procrastinated through other means. Drugs, booze, women... Or even mundane shit like household projects, train spotting, whatever. It's all the same. The need to put off the work, the bone-deep malaise that settles in, with a thousand different faces, at the start of the blank page, half way through it, and when you've finished it.

If the internet wasn't right there, you'd be doing something else to put it off. It's been the same story forever. Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Gogh... They all did everything they could to put off their work and freaked out about it in dark corners. They didn't even have a TV! Every artist has that kind of story. Whoever copied down the Epic of Gilgamesh probably spent 70% of his time on some hobbyist woodworking project snarling to his wife about how he can't get any work done because the world sucks.

Offline Reginald McGraw

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I think that, yes, our common culture (for the rich elite like us) is very Internet-based. However what causes us to shudder there is that we think about cat videos or David after Dentist and think, "I don't want that to be our common culture!"

Offline nacho

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Well, you could mad-lib that sentence and replace "cat videos" and "David after Dentist" with "Abby Hoffman" or "rock and roll" or "silver standard" or "Bolshevik" or "fifth estate" or "continental congress" or "heliocentrism" or "islam" or "huns" or "mongol" or "Jesus Christ."

I don't mean to draw a direct parallel to all those heady things with Youtube garbage... The point is that they are all the results of a long chain of weird ass, experimental, anti-cultural ideas.  Of course, you have to take the good with the bad as you evolve. That's human nature. And sometimes sweeping world-changing revolutions go wrong. Certainly, for all of them, it's a hard road, and not always well embraced. And that road is often paved with the equivalent of cat videos. Or Messiahs more interested in starting fuck cults than delivering a message.

Offline monkey!

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I read all of that whilst eating Domino's pizza ordered online.
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline Reginald McGraw

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Do you have the Domino's Tracker over there? It's why I order Domino's over almost any other company.

Offline monkey!

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Tracker...? Nope.
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline nacho

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Maybe the Frogs call it something else. Here, you can sit online and watch the progress of your pizza with a little bar that lights up. Order, prep, bake, out for delivery! Woot!

Offline nacho

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Oh, and, there's animation of a little guy making your pizza. You know...for the kids.



And me.

Offline monkey!

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Oh, no. I just drink wine until it arrives.
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Crazy busy, so i haven't had time to settle in and reply.

Yes, my own  addictive procrastination tendencies are partly to blame for my cynical attitude. However, I've also noticed that internet memes have become our common culture. I suppose is just the evolution of media, but there's always that arrogant hipster who insists that whatever new breakout meme is "soooo two days ago."

We don't experience big events in real time as much as we used to. And again it's because much of what there is is niche. And the internet has saturated the culture with so much crap, that it's hard to recognize what really matters. What's going to last? What will stand the test of time? Will we remember Lady Gaga or The Avengers movie a hundred years from now. Hell, twenty-five years from now?

But yes, I really just need less internet and more drugs, booze, and women.

Quote
Porn-Brain Study: Erotic Movies Make Brain Regions 'Shut Down'

Read more: http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/health/porn-brain-study:-erotic-movies-make-brain-regions-%27shut-down%27#ixzz1tuaZ7Tnk


Offline nacho

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I'm avoiding that link!

Though the porn I watch is far from "erotic."

Offline nacho

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Also, you need to emulate me. Then, after a while, you have no idea who's running for president (besides the incumbent), and you don't know who or what the TEa Party is until they spit in your face, And, sadly, you don't know who Kate Upton is.

I live in a completely sealed bubble...broken only by a major death or interruption of my commute!

Now -- there's a yardstick for you. If the news is so big that it breaks through my self-exile, then isn't that the common culture? All we need to do, simply, is to ignore everything and pay attention to the trees (not the forest).
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 12:25:28 PM by nacho »

Offline RottingCorpse

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I didn't know where to put this article, but it's a fantastic read. Makes me want to read this lady's book once I get through my giant stack in 2031.

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170316-whatever-happened-to-generation-x

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Whatever happened to Generation X?

It’s a familiar and ongoing feud: baby boomers in one corner and millennials in the other. It seems the two generations are constantly at each other’s throats. Less familiar, though, is any mention of that other generation, the one born in between the boomers and the Millennials. Whatever happened to Generation X? Where has it been, that lost generation of people now aged between 35 and 55, first identified back in 1991 by author Douglas Coupland? How has it evolved, and what, if anything, can we learn from it today?

Those were the questions that occurred to British Gen X-er Tiffanie Darke, whose book Now We Are 40: Whatever Happened to Generation X? has just been published. Working in the media, she would attend regular meetings with advertising agencies. “They were completely obsessed with these two groups,” Darke tells BBC Culture. “The job-for-life boomers with good pensions, who are rich in both time and cash, and the anxious millennials who are financially less secure, but tech-savvy.” After a while, she began to think: “Hang on, what about me? What about the in-between generation?”

Back at the start of the 1990s, Darke was doing a ‘McJob’, working in a pizza restaurant to raise money in order to travel around India. Coupland’s book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture “articulated exactly who I was,” she recalls. The book characterised the Gen X-ers as listless, cynical and anti-establishment – characteristics that resonated not only with Darke and her friends but millions of others around the world. The ‘loadsamoney’ culture was seen as uncool and uncouth by the Gen Xers, who went travelling to broaden their minds, favoured jobs in creative industries over the more ‘yuppy’ sectors, and gave birth to rave culture, the movement fuelled by techno music and – in part but not completely – the drug MDMA, that swept through Britain in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. It was the “3rd Summer of Love”, declared the magazine I was working on at the time, The Face – with waifish newcomer Kate Moss on its cover.

Ravey days

Darke was at the centre of that culture, and remembers it primarily for its loved-up, hedonistic joyfulness and sense of inclusivity – it appealed across all boundaries of class, race, gender and sexuality. She was even present at the impromptu, now notorious all-weekend rave at Castlemorton, Worcestershire, which was eventually shut down by police. It was a cool, rebellious culture, and one based on a “liberal, egalitarian mindset” she says: “At a rave you would talk to anyone, everyone was equally valid – crusties and travellers would be there, plumbers, homosexuality was celebrated, black music was celebrated. And it evolved organically and slowly,” says Darke.

It was a pre-digital time, so in order to meet up you had to actually be there physically – Tiffanie Darke
“It was a pre-digital time, so in order to meet up you had to actually be there physically, at that bus shelter, in that field or warehouse.” In 1994 the UK government passed the Criminal Justice Bill, which made the spontaneous gatherings illegal. But this just spawned more organised, monetised events, says Darke. “The scene became very mainstream, it tore through the whole country. It was even credited with putting an end to football hooliganism once it had reached the terraces.”

Still, the party continued throughout the 1990s, with grunge music in the United States and, in Britain, Britpop, Brit Art, the rise of the ladette and Cool Britannia. Vanity Fair declared: “London Swings Again!” The reason the Gen-X sensibility was strong on tolerant values, and evolved so organically and successfully, in Darke’s view, was because it was based on real connections and hard-fought experiences. “You had to put real time and effort into belonging to the scene. Now with the internet and social media it’s too easy, too promiscuous, you can join and leave 20 tribes in an hour,” she says. “No wonder millennials are having a huge identity crisis.” Hence the rise in “slow artisanal crafts, like cross stitch or cheese making or micro brewing. It’s a counterpoint to fast technology.”

Though a “blessed time” it was not always rosy in the Gen-X garden, and Darke also describes in her book how women in particular were “cannon fodder” in the evolving story of work/life balance (or lack of it, in most cases) and to some extent also in changing gender politics. Nor does she gloss over the sometimes harsh realities of life as a middle-aged Gen Xer. But she is adamant that her generation is or certainly should be “giving back.”

In Darke’s opinion, Generation Xers should be on a mission to provide a “bridge” between millennials and boomers, especially now that it has largely gone from being anti-establishment to being part of it. Generation X can play a healing role and help promote tolerance, is Darke’s message. “We all need to remember what was important in the pre-digital world, and before the toxic smartphone culture. I’m as guilty as anyone of that, it’s alluring and addictive, but it’s important to look up.”

All grown up

Tiffanie Darke’s appraisal of the Gen-X story is convincing and passionately expressed. But how does the original creator of the term Generation X see its evolution – and where we are now? Canadian author and artist Douglas Coupland is now 55 and so at the more senior end of the generation he wrote about all those years ago. In his recent book of essays Bit Rot, Coupland writes: “While I may sometimes miss my pre-internet brain, I certainly don’t want it back.”

Once we go, there’ll be no living memory of the analogue era – Douglas Coupland

What does he or doesn’t he miss about it? “I’m not being coy: I don’t remember it,” he tells BBC Culture. “I started forgetting it about two years ago and now it’s all gone. Sometimes I can trick my brain into thinking it’s the 20th Century by reading a book, but the moment I stop, I’m right back to here.” Though the fact that Gen X straddles the analogue and digital eras is, he says: “A sacred trust. Once we go, there’ll be no living memory of the analogue era.”

So does he think that algorithmic culture has surpassed or will surpass human intuition? “Actually, yes. I know you’re supposed to say ‘no’ and cheer, ‘Yay humanity!’ But intuition is doomed.” Having been artist-in-residence at the Google Cultural Institute, he gained an idea of “the magnitude of it all. If we’re alone in the universe, then it’s by far the largest thing ever built in the universe.”

So how would he describe Generation X’s trajectory? “I’ve never discussed Gen X that way, but I like what Tiffanie Darke has done. It’s as good as it gets with generational observation; she’s crazy smart,” Coupland says. “Conceptually, Gen X went from being the bash-it-with-a-stick pińata generation to being the serious generation that is heir to the greatest generation – my parents’. Boomers haven’t changed a bit. In as much as there is a Gen X, it’s paying for school bills for their kids and nursing care for their parents. There’s not much free time to be either pro or anti-establishment. They’re too busy working themselves into the grave.”

Coupland feels “neutral” about millennials, he says. “I will say that pretty much everything they say about millennials is what they said about X except that millennials seem unable to cope when things don’t go their way.” And does he envisage our culture accelerating at the same pace it has been in the past few decades? “Yes, faster actually. Data is the new time. The Cloud is the new infinity. It’s all really happening right in front of your face.”

But we certainly shouldn’t be afraid of what the future holds, in his view. “No. Things are actually pretty good right now,” he says. “We’re just conditioned to using alarmism as our default setting. I’m not in the least bit worried, nor should you be.” His optimism may be be less evangelical than Tiffanie Darke’s, but it is no less persuasive  – and soothing. As someone who has been described as “clairvoyant”, what does Douglas Coupland think the future holds for Gen X? “A really good bottle of Pinot Gris, a comfortable bed, good wi-fi, and nobody around to bug them.”

If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

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Offline nacho

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Very cool.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Don't let the politics in the sub-title turn you off? This is amazing tragic read about psychosis in the modern era.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/10/death-of-a-dystopian