Friday, August 8, 2008

Cheer up, David Brooks!

It's not all bad! True, you've fallen victim to the " will/has already changed our culture! Everyone is a now!

With all due respect (I am unsure of exactly how much respect this is, but I'll wing it for now), good fucking LORD Mr. Brooks.

"...over the past few years, there has been a tectonic shift in the basis of good taste." Tectonic?

"...on or about June 29, 2007, human character changed. That, of course, was the release date of the first iPhone.

On that date, media displaced culture. As commenters on The American Scene blog have pointed out, the means of transmission replaced the content of culture as the center of historical excitement and as the marker of social status."

Now, I think this *might* be hyperbole, but it's at least some kind of bole. Since when is culture displaced by media because of a few thousand iphone owners and some blog commenters? Everyone knows that blog commenters are a level below lizards, IQ-wise. In fact, I'm not even sure what it would MEAN to say a medium has displaced culture. They aren't the same kind of thing! Let's review: a medium is the way in which content is relayed between the creator and consumers. What occupies a medium, if it's not content? And why do you think people care so much about new mediums if they don't care far more about the content they'll now be able to access?

Hang on, that was my money shot: If there were no TV shows, there would be no TV. If there was no written works, there would be no Kindle. If there were no amatuer porno, there would be no youporn.

"This transition has produced some new status rules. In the first place, prestige has shifted from the producer of art to the aggregator and the appraiser. Inventors, artists and writers come and go, but buzz is forever. Maximum status goes to the Gladwellian heroes who occupy the convergence points of the Internet infosystem — Web sites like Pitchfork for music, Gizmodo for gadgets, Bookforum for ideas, etc."

Mr Brooks, you need to get out of New York City. First of all, of the three sites you mention here, I have only heard of Pitchfork (and I hate it). Second, the "aggregator and appraiser" is in no way held in the same kind of esteem by anyone as the creators of content; this is a wacky idea that not only do you show now evidence for, but exposes you as one ignorant of what it means to be esteemed for something. I don't enjoy reading reviews in the same way I enjoy going to concerts; they occupy different spaces in my consumption matrix (you're fucking right I said consumption matrix). For example, can you imagine someone saying "Oh, yeah, I listened to their new album, but it wasn't as good as the review of their new album. That rocked!"

Come on. I know only of a small population of deeply ironic and brooding hipsters deep in New York City somewhere that actually judge one another on how quickly they're able to discover new things and then discard them. The rest of us have the dignity and self-respect to (gasp!) continue to like things we like!

I can take the most extreme parody of the tendencies of a tiny group of unrepresentative weirdos from New York and proclaim a "tectonic shift" in human culture too, but straw men are SO last week. Adbusters did that already.

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