Return to Main Page

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Culture is why cheese stinks

Social commentators often complain that too much of what we laughably call modern culture is influenced by what is wrongfully perceived of as pop-culture. I say wrongfully because pop-culture as we have understood it in the past no longer exists. It used to be that a particular trend or fad or celebrity would arise, attain popularity, grow stale, recede and fade out. That is no longer the case. Thanks to the internet, nothing EVER goes away now. Anything and anyone can be preserved forever, resurrected time and again for nostalgia, for ironic reasons or as kitsch, long after the context of the time and place of it's origin have ceased to be relevant.

What that means is that modern culture isn't merely influenced by pop-culture anymore, it IS pop-culture. And pop-culture is it. It's gone beyond a simple veneer and begun to penetrate so deeply into the organism of society itself that it cannot be extracted. The fact we all understand what a meme is is proof enough of that.

After all, language is the lynch-pin of social structure. Communication is the bedrock of all human interaction. And what's happened to the way we communicate? It's been increasingly reduced to a series of quips and external references to (... wait for it...) pop-culture. Song lyrics, movie quotations, advertising blurbs, slogans, jingles, these are the core elements of the new vocabulary, situational parity is the new syntax. It's grammar based entirely on the accuracy and applicability of the reference. Irony has been reduced to inflection and satire is now little more than bad puns.

What's that mean going forward? Hell if I know. Orwell predicted a society where people talk to each other all day long without saying anything of significance at all, using volumes of words to express simple ideas. I wonder if we may go farther than that and wind up like that society in that episode of ST:NG that speaks only through metaphor and analogy?

Did you see what I just did? We're well on our way... Darmot and J'laad at Te'nagra...


Post a Comment

<< Home

All Contents © 2005-2009 Digital Dharma. All Rights Reserved. All opinions expressed are correct.