Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Consumeration and Cred

We’ve shifted from seeing ourselves primarily as makers of things, craftspeople of one variety or another, to seeing ourselves primarily as consumers
... I'm not saying that this sort of referencing ... is bad writing or poorly conceived. I’m arguing it isn’t writing or conceiving at all.
It’s scratching an itch that we have somewhere.

Oh my, this was a Lightbulb Moment for me. It's one of those things we know but don't "realize" in general, and it's the very shape of our lives. See also: memes. There is some kind of truth in this observation well beyond comedy. Memes live as something more than comedy, they're indicators - we point to those things we want to make sure others know we have seen, just as we post pictures of those things we want to make sure others know we have eaten, people we have met/known/hated/adored/had sex with ... We've gotten awfully pointy in my lifetime. (Oh yeah. I did that on so many purposes.)

I would say this, though: this is more about cred than about advertising our consumption. We get to the cred BY pointing out the references that signify whatever area of the cultural landscape we wish to live upon. For my part, I get my cred by NOT knowing certain references - I am old, I have earned the privilege of never having heard of all the recent 20-year-olds who have died tragically and had articles written about them. I have earned respite from the effort of keeping up with what on fleek means, or who is doing what on YouTube or anywhere at all. I have earned the right not to have an Insta, and to have some fuzzy idea, "Is Snapchat over?" or be entirely surprised that Grey's Anatomy apparently was not canceled like seven years ago or something.

Nobody gives a hang what anybody else is eating, or quoting, or in-meme-ing about. They are interested in, culturally, where somebody stands. If someone is familiar with my political/comedic/subcultural/art cred, I'll be interested in references they might make I don't already know. We judge by where someone places themselves on these social, virtual maps - they just quoted the third Doctor or the Stones or (not Taylor) Swift or Childish Gambino or the Christian Bible or made a Left Shark joke or hollered back to All Your Base, and I love them for it: we share this.

Our consumption is a signifying - UNIFYING - communicator.

Pretty deep, even if it isn't writing.

I need to go marinate in some Trek now.

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