Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The End of Common Musical Culture

Ta-Nehisi Coates mourns it:
I'm not much for nostalgia, but one of the things that sucks about getting old (at least for me) is an end to a common musical culture. I think I have, like, one friend that's waiting to hear what TV On The Radio is going to next. But for the most part it's an individual experience. We're all our own DJ now. For better or worse.
Well, it's not just music. It's television and movies and books too. And it's mostly happening due to social trends that have been in the making for the last seventy-five years at least. At one point, music was almost entirely a communal experience. But decades of advances in making music more portable has made music far more individual than it used to be. Additionally, as with television, there are simply far more choices now than there used to be. As it turns out, lots of choices plus individual tastes is a recipe for nonpolar and idiosyncratic tastes in culture consumption. Perhaps it's obvious in retrospect.

I think it's got to be a good thing, though, that one can now easily find communities devoted to the same things you are in a way that wasn't really possible ten or twenty years ago. The internet truly is marvelous.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.