Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Why are people so hard to please?
That's the relevant question of the text generation.
1996. New York City. The internet in it's infancy, the pre digital revolution still a year away. Life is calmer, no IMDB. Art is in post modern mode, movies are still in a transitional stage between blockbusters and indies.
Flashforward to 2009, to 2010. Negativity has gone wild, digital. Our consumption for communication has given us more options to display our distaste. Things are lamer, that's for sure, but so is our ability to feel pleasure in pop culture.
Are we fed up with things or have we given up making them better?
People are harder to please. They want more than before, in their food, in their looks, in their movies, in their facebooks. Communication has led to parallels between our needs and our wants, and made them the same thing by stripping away critical perspective for the perils of negative thought.
Go to any IMDB board and it's filled with hate, some justified, most troubling. Don't like Transformers? don't watch it. Hate Lady Gaga? don't write it. And that's what we're doing: we're driving our art forms into the ground by being so hyper critical. Bloggers are a nasty bunch in particular, the stuff of venom and vitriol directed at anything that is deemed uncool or in need of improvement. We all wished something was better, but we rarely focus on that because our taste, internet taste, has conditioned us to look at the wrong side. It's the backwards way of thinking.
Critiquing something, dissecting it for our own purposes has been the biggest change in communication in the past ten years, and it's all because the access to communication and communicating it got convenient. Imagine for example a day without internet, without text messaging, without twitter, facebook. Your brain will start thinking what it's missing, like a drug. We've become hooked in a paradox that's affected our thinking. It is not the image of reliance that I talk about, but the idea that our outlook towards life and our attitudes towards enjoyment and criticism have become blurred.
Do you remember Total recall? Quaid wanted escapism from his daily life. He went and got sold a dream, except that now WE are Quaid. We can project who we want to be.
It is true that the quality of our entertainment has gotten more desperate and less pleasing, it's a sign of the times that things have to be this disposable without thought and appeal to as many people as possible, and suffer in thematic richness as a result. Transformers 2 was 2 1/2 hours long, way longer than necessary to sustain the fun on such a thin story, but people don't go to it for story: it's to see shit blow up good. And on those grounds it succeeds.
Movies have gotten too simplistic for deep thought, but it's the audience who jumps to thrashing as a means to demonstrate their own sense of entitlement. People are losing social skills. I can barely write something before hordes of opinionated people who have nothing better than complain tell me their opinions are better. Majority rules.
Being a cynic is fashionable, predicated on the moral fiber by which the skeptic's sensibility comes from. The dissatisfaction with HOW you perceive something is not the same of how it exists, the train of thought that shapes perception is affected by inner prejudice or mental rejection. Following something through with logic and thought is not the way most people communicate this day, witness the compact ways our living has been reduced to. Twitter, for example, narrows down blogging to short bytes, just the way people like it.
Cynicism is really bad these days, being constructive is something that requires time and effort, and something to say. Dissing something because you don't like it is perfectly valid, it's the trend of dissing that is the problem, and a direct link to the digital age points to how we experience something is how we feel about those things.
I gather the lack of excitement in today's movies, music, and art has a lot to do with this. Since instant access to any information has rendered the imagination handicapped, people think less and suck in more at a faster pace than it takes to make a rational argument for why they feel bad about something. It happens to me, when I go to the movies and have to sit through another film trailer that gives away the entire movie I cringe, it makes me angry. So is Will Ferrel's face. Or Jonah Hill. But that's only my opinion.
We face uncertain times, in a world going through a mid life crisis. It informs who we are, there is a lot wrong with it, but also a lot of right. It's up to you to decide which way your status resides. Everyone's got an opinion, but do they really matter if the beacon of light is lost in a sea of gray?
Point is we bitch too much, and enjoy less from what we should. The attitude in our social behavior is impacted since the dawn of facebook and blogging, and these are all consequences of our consumption. Facebook is great to keep in touch with friends, but bad for airing out your dirty laundry. Some things are best kept private, but the itchy trigger of the keyboard keeps us saying. I blog about what I like and what I don't like, but at least make you feel like you don't have to take a shower afterwards. By being balanced at least the karma points are in favor, and dishing out punishment less severe.
Really, arguing with people on the internet is at best retarded and at worse lesson giving. We could stand to learn a few pointers from Fletch, and not from the rest.
There's always twitter, which puts these sorta things to rest...onto the next.