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  1. ☮♫♥ Gay Male
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    Default The Devloution of Human Culture

    Original article

    This is only the first 1/6ish of the article, which spans three pages found in the link above.

    I'm going to begin by saying this is absolutely phenomenal, brilliantly written article, and you should all really sit and read it when you have the chance, given it concerns the very fabric of our cultural existence. It presents an argument detailing, as you've read above, the "stuck," near-paralyzed elements of humanity's cultural makeup in rehashing past decades, outlining very clearly how and why this has happened. This particular argument is one I've theorized silently to myself over the past 1-2 years, and just recently have started sharing with close friends and family: that almost every aspect of contemporary civilization has been stuck in a cycle of historical reptition for the past 20-30 years, and that this year, this decade, perhaps, are pivotal defining moments in the cultural history of our species.

    Kurt Andersen concludes his article characterizing the two sides of the near future, one to which the pendulum will swing:

    In addition to general discussion about the content of the article itself, my argument is that we - and must - are headed towards bringing about the former, towards igniting a cultural renaissance the likes of which the world hasn't seen since the 14th century. Many of the "doomsday" prophesies of 2012 are argued not as denoting the "end of the world," but rather the "end of the world as we know it," a time when our planet experiences a great rebirth. Could this be a cultural renaissance? Given the tension of the verge, of the near-breaking point we are to overwhelming, world-sweeping newness, I feel this could definitely be the case.

    Apologies for the long post, but for a topic such as this one's thoughts and comments should express the gravity of the situation.

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    Reading the article now, but in the meantime I should note it has already lost credibility by saying Adele is in any way comparable to Mariah Carey.

    EDIT: Thinks Wicked is based on a movie.

    EDIT AGAIN: Now I've read the article. Personally, I don't see this as that much of a big deal. Let change happen naturally, don't let it happen in a panicked rush of "oh my god we need to be contemporary", because then we get garbage like Lady Gaga who go for nothing but shock value (fashion and music) in desperate bids for attention and it'll take things down a bad road. I'd rather progress is made properly than in a half-assed attempt just for the sake of progress.

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    I read through most of it, but...why does it matter? People can do whatever they want. As long as it doesn't affect me, they can be as pants on head retarded or boring or whatever else they want to be if it makes them happy. Popular culture has always sucked, ever since civilization was first formed. Just be glad we aren't Romans, having festivals based on drugging a large assortment of animals to be as pissed off as possible, then letting them loose in the city to rape and devour as many people as they can within the time limit. I can ignore some boring douche in a crappy outfit, thank you very much.

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    The ''drastic'' changes they pointed out in the past didn't seem drastic to me. I could literally look at their examples and point out how they weren't ''drastic'' changes. You take this and that and change its form a bit, and that's ''drastic'' change?

    Sure, the change to now from 1992 might not be as much as before, but that doesn't mean past changes were drastic. We're more refined, generally speaking, now than in the early 90s, and definitely 80s, as far as appearance goes, so is that not enough? Do we really need to move rapidly into something else? Can we? I'm sure if you asked the author of that article what they believe we should appear as today compared to 1992 (Their example), they wouldn't know what to say. Why? Is there supposed to be a ''drastic'' change? If so, what would it be? They couldn't answer, because there is no answer.

    Is the majority of society today supposed to look like a piece from a sci-fi movie? A drug-inspired design from Lady Gaga? There is no answer. We move at the pace we move in. We'll change over time, whether rapidly or slowly. Sure, you can see some people taking old pieces as influence, or even trying to revive them, but we've always done this. In their own examples from the past I can see how the people of that time might have taken certain aspects from even earlier styles to become what they were at the time.

    At the end of the day though, why does any of this matter? Our appearances don't mean a damn thing.

  5. Can of Soup Male
    IGN: LunaMimosa
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    I find the corporate influence a good reason for this. This stagnation though, if you guys haven't noticed, goes beyond fashion alone.

    The current generation of games has been FPS flooded for the past 10 years.

    The movie scene is overrun with 'reboots' of series (Transformers, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Smurfs)

    Music speaks for itself.

    Whils the article has very good points at a macro-level influence. It fails to take into account the actual innovation itself since 1992: The internet and our connection to the rest of the world. Think about it, in the past, for something to really take off, it had to start in one area, win over just the people in that area. From there, like a slow wave, influence everyone else.

    What can slow this progress? Dissenters of trends online as well as the ability to NOT see your trend of interest not taking off in other developed areas. In the past, you couldn't hear other people as loudly as you can now. A good idea needs time to grow on people before they can follow it willingly,but when there's such easy access to opinions rejecting it, those ideas get stomped down by crumudgeons trying to make sure THEY are on the forefront of all good ideas. After all, no one likes rejection and that's what popular culture is all about.

    So yeah, in general, I blame people being insecure and seeing what goes on in TV/other parts of the world as well as people who complain about everything new. But only because our ability to see/hear the opponents of innovation is better than ever before. We're stuck with a ton of runners who won't take off blindfolded like we used to, but instead just kinda step forward, look to the left or right, then step back like a chicken the second someone even raises an eyebrow. Dissapointing everyone else who was ready to follow him or her.

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    The roman's didn't have Jersey shore?

  7. ☮♫♥ Gay Male
    IGN: FrozNlite
    Server: Khaini
    Level: 200
    Job: F/P ArchMage
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    Well said. The two elements of your statement are beautiful:

    • The insecurity of the general populace is (and honestly, has always been) atrocious. In other words, the vast majority always operates as a group of lemmings, or sheep in a herd, blindly following the one thing, person, or trend that has enough support and influence to garner their attention. People don't choose for themselves because they're too preoccupied with what everyone else might think of them. This goes for anyone in any social group, because any social group is defined by some sort of identifying standard(s) which are recognizable in its members.

      Now this isn't to say general insecurity is inevitably paralyzing, but that it is inevitable. It's possible, therefore, to produce the "wildly new and insanely great" and have it become popular and successful, provided enough of the general majority is willing to take off their blindfolds and confidently support what they enjoy (so in that sense, sorry Rick, but love my Gaga).
    • Oh people who complain about the new. Definitely one of my biggest pet peeves. Will explain more below.

    People complaining about the "new" is what we've already had in half this thread, and is definitely one of the strongest counter-forces against progress. Rick, this is where I'll have to disagree with your post as an specific example of what I'm trying to say in general.

    Can anyone provide us with solid, irrefutable evidence that every public aspect of Lady Gaga's existence is done merely as a "shock value desperate plea for attention?" I feel that's quite the daunting task, given the fact that none of you are Lady Gaga/are close enough with her to be privy to her private thoughts and feelings.

    Now that's a pomegranatety argument. Regardless of proof none of us can determine the true intentions behind everything Gaga does. What is a good argument is that none of that matters. Gaga is a prime example of the avant-garde, an artist creating for her vision of the future world, not for anyone or anything in the present. The key idea here is that the avant-garde artists create within the scope of their futuristic predictions; their works reflecting what they believe as the end result of the direction of the world.

    So how are we to receive their art? With open minds, critical perspectives, yet above all, humble appreciation. Rick, you call Gaga garbage, and after talking with you personally about her, I know your critiques are justified. I like her, and can also provide critiques that are justified. But what I think we should all do, regardless of whether you like the avant-garde or not, is to respect that they created it in the first place. Where would our world be without their contributions? It was the work of the avant-garde in the past century that helped create the modern and post-modern movements. It was the work of the avant-garde that allowed us to question our preconceived notions about everything.

    Oye. If you chose to read that or not, here's the tl;dr:

    Whether you like an avant-garde artist and/or the works they produce or not, appreciate and respect the fact that they created them in the first place. Without the works of the avant-garde our contemporary world would not have developed the way it has, and will not proceed along a path of true, original innovation.

    Final comment: to those who say things like "why does this all even matter," "our appearances don't matter," etc.: you all have personalized avatars and signatures. If appearances don't matter, why have them in the first place? You clearly care about the individual customization you can make to your online profile, so there's one appearance that matters.

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    Uh, pineapple, I spent 30 minutes typing a response to this at college library. Now I'm home and I don't see my post?

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    Aren't those the things that have mostly changed the world in the past 20 years? To me, it's like saying that the world's appearance (transportation, vehicles, airplanes, etc. aside) from 1880 to 1910 has hardly changed.

    I don't really get what that means then. What's appearance supposed to be? Is he saying that creativity has been lacking? That there's little to no innovation in other areas that aren't electronics?

  10. Default

    I'd say it's pretty hard to judge a change in culture while you're in the middle of it. You can't possibly see what changes in music, fashion, etc. could happen within the next few years. And just because the change hasn't been noticeable enough doesn't mean it's not there. It's way easier in hindsight to notice the similarities and dissimilarities in culture between the 1920s and the 1940s, but when you're actually living in it, how can you take into account all the subcultures and minuscule changes in style? You can't just say, "this x clothing is in style now", because the current style is always being redefined. With something like culture, it's too easy to point at Madonna and Gaga and say one's just a repeat of the other. It's oversimplification.



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