Anne Tagonist (tagonist) wrote,
Anne Tagonist
tagonist

The internet ate my subculture

After a long discussion with my boss in which we both admitted we were out of new ideas for TIP and pretty much need to just keep plugging until something comes up, I had a question. Did something happen, about four or five years ago, to completely destroy american public culture? Because it seems that way. I remember weekly, or biweekly meetings of medic groups, Earth First, anti-war coalitions, radio stations, even vague-ish non-issue centered affinity groups looking for something to get mad about. I remember having a list of contacts to call when you wanted to make something happen. I remember flyers...

What happened?

One of the characters in a book I'm reading publishes an underground paper. I used to do that- it was pretty okay. We covered a lot of local news, distributed newspaper-looking newspapers in churches and convenience stores, made a fairly good show of staying on top of stories in the scene and out. I don't think I could do that again. Not the hours or the arguments, that part was fine. I just don't think enough people read. Or rather, I think they read blogs instead, mostly written by their friends, and regardless of the value of the content. I don't think you can get anyone's attention any more. And that was five years ago. What happened?

There's a new movie made by a local kid called Young Jewish and Left that was panned in the free paper. The reviewer quoted the filmmaker saying "we're trying to build a movement where we can be ourselves" and responded "we see the being ourselves part, where's the movement?" It reminds me of dance parties and identity masturbation and the idea that "if I can't dance I don't want your revolution" can stand alone as a guiding principle. I mean, why bother with the rest of the stuff when the dancing is so fun? Americans have substituted identity consumption for discourse for two and a half generations, why stop now?

Dance parties? Five years ago. More or less.

What happened?

Is it totally trite to blame MySpace? Or Friendster? Or hell, livejournal? The timing is right. They keep everyone "connected" without having to, y'know, do anything together except catechise our daily living and fuck. Memoirs are now the best-selling genre of new book. Coincidence? We can get all the kudos and sexiness we need without ever leaving the house, without ever extending ourselves beyond our individual choices of which job, which identity, which sound card, which sex act we prefer. Narrativize it, publish it, let the appreciative comments pour in...

Shall we dance?

A
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  • The Tightwad's Small Truck

    I adore Amy Daczyczyn's The Tightwad Gazette. Don't you? Looking back after more than a decade, there are a number of observations I could make…

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