Swimming Against The Tide
“Never bet against the side that’s having the most fun in a culture war.” – PDB
Politics is downstream from culture, said Andrew Breitbart, and he was 100% correct. Politics can try to dictate culture, but a counter-culture soon pops up and forms a resistance. This was true in Soviet Russia, it was true with the hippies in the 60’s and it’s true today. Thanks to crowdsourcing and multiple streaming platforms, everyone can watch what they want to watch, and support the artists who produce the content that they want to see. The deer now have guns, and we’re darn near everywhere. For example, I spent hours in my youth scouring the bins of Zia’s Record Exchange and Eastside Records, looking for rare import tracks from my favorite artists. Now pretty much everything is available on YouTube, Last.fm or other platforms. Animé, (or as I knew it, japanimation), was a rare thing indeed in my younger years. We’d spend $75 or more (in 19080’s money) to watch a poorly dubbed VHS copy of Nausicaä, now there are entire film festivals dedicated to Miyazaki’s works.
This bottom-up approach to culture is starting to affect major institutions like the Academy Awards and organized sports. Why should I care about what films a bunch of critics tell me are the best ones of any given year? I can watch what I want, when I want it. My allegiances are built on common interests that I share on social media or the friends I have in my immediate vicinity, not to sports team that’s located in a nearby zip code. My culture is crowd-sourced and community-based, not dictated at me, top-down, from the “experts” who know better than I do what’s best for me.
The stream is starting to wash away the deadwood. What will come next? I don’t know, but it will be exciting to watch it as it happen.