Friday, July 3

The sadly not so naughty noughties.

Three posts I noticed today with some communal desultory, even morose tones.
A mixture of nostalgia with a lack of faith in the future based upon the experiences of the last decade.

The first two are sparked by the demise of 80's/90's Pop Icon Michael Jackson.
The first, an Airlock Alpha opionion piece dubbed "Death of a Sci-fi icon" talks about how Wacko Jacko secretly, and inadvertently, did a lot for the Sci-Fi genre becoming more mainstream. It also does a pretty good job of waylaying some of the usual critique against the man. I still prefer mine for being more succinct:
No-one who's not lived his entire life in the lime-light from age 5 can adequately judge Michael Jackson.

A good read in iteself but for me t's just a prelude to the next article:
"Did the Internet Kill Pop-culture?" by Photics, a site I not often share stuff from as it's all about Guild Wars which means there's Nichts neues am Western Front most of the time.
This article gives a good summation of how life in the 80's and 90's seemed so much more fun than during the last decade with some pretty strong arguments why this isn't just a case of Nostalgia just not being what it used to be and which factors may be contributing.
The title already hints at the Internet.

The third article, by Tobold, is called "Are we still having fun?" and goes on about a lot of people being disaffected to a lesser or greater extend with the current MMO-scape and are only capable of being positive about games that are upcoming. Not sure how that is much different from 2008 or 2007 for that matter. 2007 afterall was the year of MMO's comming out which had been broadsided by the launch and subsequent success of WoW while in mid production whereas 2008 can be seen as the year of MMO launches of games that got their funding in the wake of WOW's success yet didn't manage to equal the results. Somehow this time it feels different. Maybe because it's a feeling people have been having on and off for the last three years successively.

What all this has me wondering is how much of this is a true depiction of the naughty noughties or just a reflection of the current economic crisis affecting our outlook? Certainly if one looks at MJ's career over the past three decades, there's a definite difference between the 80's and 90's on the one hand and the 00's on the other hand. But is it a good comparison to our own lives (for those of us over 30)? And the Internet in all it's faceless, anonymous glory? It is sure to have a social or cultural effect. And not just in a sense that it's not likely to throw up an anonymous Icon but through some of its other less-than-savory uses of the Internet.

People (il)legally downloading 20+ hours of entertainment overnight and deleting anything that doesn't grasp their attention within a few minutes while they're doing something else on the PC in the mean time potentially miss out on a whole lot and actually contribute to lower ratings of shows, mvoies, albums e.t.c. Part of this is truly a matter of the publishing bussiness still needing to catch up with the technology of the times, but there's a shifting code of morality involved as well, in conjunction to the previously mentioned anonimity (e.g. no accountability) and a decade without real Icons to look up to. All of it spells dilution of something. Spirit maybe?
What was the Sign of the Times of the ##'s? Reruns, remakest sequals and prequels. Rehashing of what has gone before. In that sense the last 3 years of MMO's are clearly examplary.

One can turn onto a real bleak road if one wants to. But what do you think?


  1. Wow, did one visit to London do all that to you?

    The past always looks better. We have the nice habit of mostly remembering the good times. I am cherishing the past, but I don't use it as a comparison of the future or the now.

    I am not particularly interested in what anybody thinks about MJ. He made some great songs and video clips, and now he is dead.

    I didn't really read through the second article, but the internet did not destroy pop-culture. The internet destroyed 80's pop-culture. Now we have a different pop-culture. And music is not that big in it. I might not completely get it, but it is therefore not automatic worse.

    Music is a left over of 80's pop culture. I think Glastonbury this year shows how weird things are. Some of the biggest artists were Bruce Springsteen, Madness, Blur and The Specials. All bands that had their haydays 20 years ago.

    How can any teenager enjoy music if their parents are still jumping up and down with them? So they created a new pop-culture they (the parents) can't join. We (the 30+ folks) are the parents generation now. But thanks to the internet and our way of life we haven't really passed on. Which is actually really nice for us.

    The problem is that TV and movie (and even music) makers are a bit at a loss. It looks like pop-culture is broke. Maybe through the internet. But I think it is more broke because the old generation hangs on too much.

    The new pop-culture lives elsewhere. It is all shortlived junk in my eyes. Maybe it is not completely there yet.

    Reading it back, I am not sure I agree with myself. But I think I have a point regardless.

    Now turning this back to MMO's. Tobold is too WOW minded for me. But he has some point. And I like his conclusion that blog readers/writers are the unhappy bunch. There are still loads of people having fun with what they are doing. Including me. MMO makers still have mch to learn. The genre is not dead. Not dead at all.

    Pop-culture is just changing the world too fast at the moment, and nobody knows yet what they really like. I think this is great time to be in.

    Where are my shades? The future's too bright.

  2. And what is that weird 1x1 pixel gif doing at the bottom of the post? Big brother listening in?

  3. WHile I think you have some good points, I really, really think you should have read the second article as well. You missed the best points as a result and are arguing at cross purposes as a result if you ask me :-)

  4. And Big Brother is Zemanta.

  5. Ok, I read it all. It has some interesting views as well. Some overlapping with some of my ramblings. His post is had actually a more positive outlook on the future than yours. And as usual when you get a bit gloomy my pink glasses appear out of nowhere.

    Still I don't think we need major icons like Michael Jackson anymore. We need ...

    I don't know what we need. Hell, I barely know what I need. So how can I declare what the next generation needs.

  6. The media has changed massively because of the internet but I think it's less about a broadening of choices and more about availabilty of knowledge and a platform anyone has access too. The media itself has to take as much responsibility as the internet Pop has always been pop but not as clearly transparent, that transparency means easier exploitation. The more knowledge and insight you have the easier it is to do. The public have become increasingly involved in the 'democratisation of talent' (lol) and it's limited success, theres a glut of talent spotting contests, they have gone from a small panel of expert judges to a wide panel of us, as with any democracy you get what you vote for, the people get the talent they deserve. Short lived, throwaway and easily forgettable, much like the majority of the interwebz.

    Originality and a real longevity of talent is alive and well it's just harder to find amidst the mass of crap, theres just simply so much more, the good stuff needs hunting down, you need to exercise your exploring skills to find it, your peer groups and social circle should be able to help with a quest marker or 2.

    Big shiny super bands/acts are rare and getting rarer, dinosaurs almost already, can't think of anyone, there are those more currently famous for their lifestyle than talent that have sprung up in the past 10yrs but I'm struggingly to think of anyone that could gain the media status of jacko etc who could sustain that status....

    I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, things change, I'm ambivalent about it tbh.