Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A question for all the cultural studies people.

So, as I've spent more time on Youtube in the past 3 days than I have in the past 3 years, I'm going to illustrate a question with a pair of videos.

the Weakerthans - the Reasons

Postal Service - We Will Become Silhouettes

So, it seems (not just from these two videos, but also from things like the design of the iPod) that we're cannibalizing the past enthusiastically in these last days, viz, the fake 50's Weakerthans video, with it's choreography and costuming and the 70's Postal Service video. See also fashion - the 80's revivalist trend (tights, jewelry, Christ-awful haircuts) and the continued existence of hippies. In music, even, Belle & Sebastian basically picked up where the 60's left off in pop music, and made the words weirder, and the Killers basically tried becoming an 80's rock band on their last album.

Even when we're not stripping it for parts, it seems like we're living up to the past's expectations. If you read comics from the 80's, dystopian ones*, the youth of the future are depicted wearing tights and mohawks. Well, we covered tights when we talked about 80's revivalists, and I work with grade-schoolers with mohawks. Beyond personal fashion, look at our appliances - the iPod is a space age dream, all white and smooth and plastic. It looks like a TV remote from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even beyond all the iPod related space-agery, appliances are being made out of brushed metal - another space age shibboleth.

So, basically, does this mean anything? Have we run out of original ideas? Were our forward looking grandfathers right about the future? If we are living in the future, can I have a personal robot?

*The one coming to mind here is Dark Knight Returns, but there are others that escape me at this hour.


Emma said...


Matt said...

<4, which is a superlative heart. But no ideas about the question? Please?