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Death of the Common Culture or How the Internet Will Destroy Civilization

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I'm swamped with shit to do so this is going to be curt.

Nacho and I have had a back and forth for weeks about the lack of a common culture. Basically I've come to the conclusion that the internet which was supposed to save us had made everything suck from horror movies to politics. Nacho doesn't disagree necessarily, but like to see how close he can get me to pissing on a cop car.

Anyway, the brunt of my argument is that we have no common culture anymore because everything is a niche. No more Who Shot JR?/ Who Killed Laura Palmer? moments. No common ground for anybody to agree upon.

Anyway, I ran across this and thought it valid to the "no common culture/why the internet sucks when it was supposed to be awesome" argument.

The irony that it comes from Cracked.com is not lost on me.

--- Quote ---4 Awful Ways The Internet Is Tainting Everything Else
--- End quote ---


We're blaming the internet for what it always did from day one and not the fact that the Beatles are selling sneakers and MLK is selling cell phones? That's the death of culture.

And how about today's news that 20% of US adults do not use the internet at all? And that the trend is showing a departure from net usage among adults?

Certainly, in my own group of friends, I know people who do not use the internet at all (or only in a very limited capacity). And I know three people who have "downgraded" their smartphones to normal phones. That's something I've been hearing alot of lately.

I would put forward the argument that blaming the internet might be a bit of projection on your part. You're too plugged in, and therefore assume it's the problem (because, yes, it does feel wrong and unnatural, doesn't it?).

So that rounds back onto my belief that the death of common culture is a larger, more social problem rooted in the government, corporations, and our own complicity with them.

Watching the seventh Doctor episode Paradise Towers (based on High Rise by J.G. Ballard) right now and it hit me -- Jesus! RC needs to read his Ballard! Ballard was writing about how technology is destroying us (and our common culture) as it advances beyond our capacity to live normally way back in the 70's Specifically in three of his bigger novels:

High-Rise: A Novel, about a futuristic mega apartment complex with all the comforts built in -- supermarket, rec center, etc -- so it's completely self contained and has the latest techno whiz-bangs. Inside, humanity devolves into savagery, and the residents become part of a sort of uber-Lord of the Flies tale.

Concrete Island: A Novel in which a man crashes his car into the dead zone median strip between highways and goes native. (This was the inspiration for the Korean dramedy "Castaway on the Moon" which is watch instant on Netflix. In that, a man jumps off a bridge, fails to die, and wakes up on a junk-filled island in the middle of a river running through a major city...and goes native.)

Finally, we have Crash: A Novel which, in my opinion, Cronenberg ruined. He focused on the twisted sex and not the overall lesson of the book -- that mankind cannot survive our crippling dependence on gadgets and technology.

Reginald McGraw:
I would argue that choosing the "No Internet" option immediately makes you a dinosaur. (Probably in the same way that I feel someone who says "The [Democrats/Republicans] are the big problem with our country!" has little to add to any political argument.) Those people are choosing to decline in relevance and impact on whatever "common culture" there might be. They are saying (in our generation's terms) "No, no microwaves and VCR clocks are just too much information for me to cope with. I'll stick with cooking on the stove top and who cares if my VCR blinks '12:00' all the time?'" Yeah, maybe they will find some way to assimilate back into the mainstream in a limited way, but not in the sense of participating in how culture is steered.

For a growing percentage of people, "There's an App for that," is how we solve problems. Certainly not a perfect solution by any means, but to overlook it as a fad is naive. It is a mass testing of a new way of operating and I believe that it (like microwave ovens) will eventually find it's place in less manic, more productive ways.

I do see the current "common culture" of America as seemingly rooted in sit-coms and viral YouTube videos, but hey, isn't that what "Cult Culture with the Freaks" is all about?


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