Thursday, September 1, 2022


New York Times opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg fretted the other day that our nation is in the gross depths of cultural stagnation, which is another way of saying that no one is getting excited by much new music, new authors, new movies, new visual artists. It's gotten to the point where we could say that "boredom" is the new cultural condition of things, the unintended consequence of the consumerist boom of the post-war period that never ended, despite what varied social scientists would have us think. Increased consumer demand intensified the research into more brutally efficient means of technological expertise and application to manufacture, distribute and deliver goods to consumers. The internet accelerated all this, to be sure, availing us of goods, nearly anything we desired, in quantum leap time. Now, in a pandemic that is still not over and with a population that had to spend unnatural amounts of time at home, the millions of us sought to distract ourselves with impulse shopping, insane amounts of streaming, the whole shot. Materials that used to amuse us and stand as symbols of how up to the millisecond we were now becomes evidence of the psychic entropy each and all of us became embroiled in. More than mere muscles had gone flabby, and our toys began to depress us.  Boredom settles in surely when everything is available to you at the instance you want it. There is no adventure in seeking new music anymore, there is no sense of actually discovering something obscure that's very cool, dangerous, going against the grain and mores of the time. We are in a situation of Marcuse's famous idea of "repressive tolerance", that by allowing the marginal voices, the dissenting notions, the philosophically malcontent full rights of expression and indeed making it easier for the nonconformist's works are easily available under the guise of a free press, they are revolutionary potential of these cranky, experimental, iconoclastic to inspire an audience to effect change in the System is neutralized. Punk rock, polka, country western, rap and The Last Poets become genres, matters of taste, not as vehicles to inspire and enliven the imagination. All the digital access to every book, movie, TV show, record album every created, instantly, creates the ennui of availability. Too often when getting the full of run of albums by Gunther Schiller, say, interest dissipates and the attention span requires something else to distract it for a moment. It seems to be the case that what we're talking about is commodity fetishism, which is the mere acquisition of things for having them and no more.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated due to spam. But commentaries, opinions and other remarks about the posts are always welcome! I apologize for the inconvenience.