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Go With The Flow
“Never bet against the side that’s having the most fun in a culture war.” – PDB
Politics is downstream from culture, said Andrew Breitbart, and he was 100% correct. Politics can try to dictate culture, but a counter-culture soon pops up and forms a resistance. This was true in Soviet Russia, it was true with the hippies in the 60’s and it’s true today. Thanks to crowdsourcing and multiple streaming platforms, everyone can watch what they want to watch, and support the artists who produce the content that they want to see. The deer now have guns, and we’re darn near everywhere. For example, I spent hours in my youth scouring the bins of Zia’s Record Exchange and Eastside Records, looking for rare import tracks from my favorite artists. Now pretty much everything is available on YouTube, Last.fm or other platforms. Animé, (or as I knew it, japanimation), was a rare thing indeed in my younger years. We’d spend $75 or more (in 19080’s money) to watch a poorly dubbed VHS copy of Nausicaä, now there are entire film festivals dedicated to Miyazaki’s works.
This bottom-up approach to culture is starting to affect major institutions like the Academy Awards and organized sports. Why should I care about what films a bunch of critics tell me are the best ones of any given year? I can watch what I want, when I want it. My allegiances are built on common interests that I share on social media or the friends I have in my immediate vicinity, not to sports team that’s located in a nearby zip code. My culture is crowd-sourced and community-based, not dictated at me, top-down, from the “experts” who know better than I do what’s best for me.
The stream is starting to wash away the deadwood. What will come next? I don’t know, but it will be exciting to watch it as it happen.Published in Culture
I don’t believe he was.
I believe that thanks to the politicization of every lever of cultural influence (media, academia, entertainment, education, etc.) and the left’s controls of those levers, politics has an outsized influence on culture. The stream is backing up and the swamp waters are rising.
“A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” – Rule #6
“A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” – Rule #7
It’s a definition problem. The barrier between “culture” and “politics” becomes incredibly fuzzy in a society based on ubiquitous decentralized electronic communications. How does one define a “politician” in such a paradigm?
One could update the aphorism to say that there is no stream. Politics and culture are simply the same lake.
The growth of communication, social media, etc. generates ever more fragmentation, and smaller more diverse communities. This aspect of modern society, if left alone, will end globalization.
Opposed to this are the big institutions that are pushing globalization. They are big government, big media, big “experts” who want total control. Fragmentation threatens their control, although it also divides the opposition to them.
I don’t know which will win, globalization or fragmentation. I desperately hope for fragmentation.
Which is awesome.
(The music scene in the early 70’s was so great that even the third-tier bands had some great material, but only now do I have time to explore them.)
The downside is that there’s no longer a business model.
Which means there’s very little new material.
I feel that you’re confusing globalization with globalism.
Globalization is the process whereby ubiquitous decentralized electronic communications and vastly less expensive international shipping are breaking down the economic and cultural barriers that exist between nations all across the planet. Technological advances make this process inevitable.
Globalism is the idea that there must be some sort of centralized planetary governmental authority to regulate globalization. This is not inevitable.
You know, pop culture is a sewer. The free market often leads to a race to the bottom, doesn’t it?
We end up with popular trash, filled with violence, foul language, and pornography. This is celebrated by the libertarian-types because Liberty, and celebrated by other Leftists because it denigrates traditional values.
I don’t have a great solution. There was a time when starry-eyed tech utopians thought that the Internet was going to bring us all together. That sure didn’t happen. Many proposed solutions, though, can seem as bad as the problem.
Twas ever thus. That’s how free competition works. All sorts of different people create cultural products, the majority of it is crap, and the best stuff is that which gets remembered a century later.
You think everything that was published in 1923 was high art? Puh-leaze.
“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”
– Socrates –
(On the other hand, one could counter that Socrates said this right before a bunch of Macedonian goat-herders were able to conquer Greece, thereby illustrating that Socrates wasn’t wrong.)
There is an enormous amount of new musical material released online every single day. So much musical material is released daily that it’s virtually impossible to quantify.
You used “japanimation” in a sentence. We are related, after all.
They haven’t gone anywhere.
Yes and no. It depends. There’s a lot going on.
The current popular trash you refer to is heavily promoted by the left, not only to denigrate traditional values, but to create a new normal of misery.
If you know how it’s made, it’s extremely easy to quantify.
Point taken – Thanks.
Forgive my ignorance, but who or what is PDB?
Pabst Doo Blibbon.
I think we should let 300 pound NFL linemen run the country. They are the only group that consistently praise God when asked about their success.
I had a similar argument millennia ago when Clearchannel was threatening to GeorgeWBush-ify radio. Apparently the thought amongst my more progressive friends (many, sadly, who’ve turned out to be idiots) was that a “Christian” corporation was going to own the airwaves and all we’d hear on the radio would be pablum. My reply was, “[being heavily involved in alt-punk-metal-etc music writing for 15 years] …there is no way I can even finish listening to my personal music collection, and mainstream radio has always sucked – that’s why we don’t like it, remember? And why aren’t you listening to WFMU?” Silence.
I applaud the near-infinite collection on YouTube. And there is plenty of new, interesting, avant-garde stuff out there, just got to look!
I still get, even from my kids, the “how do you find this stuff?” You just have to look…