Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Newest Big Thing

The mindset that upholds this as something worthwhile must be eradicated if the human species is to survive.
Note: I wrote this in early June of this year.

~~*~~

A good story is forever. Maybe. For a few folks, at least.

If we like a movie, Kye and I will go and see it again, and maybe again after that. Rogue One, inarguably the best Star Wars film ever (to this point), we saw four times in the theater. When the price for the DVD drops a little, we'll buy it and watch it again and again and again ...

We're always on the search for "forever" stories, movies, and songs or albums. Such a habit puts us squarely at odds with the suburban mindset, which is solely concerned with the new and trendy. Rogue One wasn't trendy ten days after its release. It was already "old" to people with this toxic, consumptive mindset.

It's a mindset a mile wide and an inch deep. And it's destroying this planet as I write this.

Great stories are timeless. Treated and respected properly, they become lifelong companions. Again, this goes directly counter to the suburban mindset. Everything is expendable. Nothing is irreplaceable. The Newest Big Thing is all that matters; and it matters for less time than the lifespan of a day moth once it's given over for public consumption.

The idea is consumption. The idea is to be the biggest pig you can be so that you can brag about it later. But you also need to be trendy. You need always to be looking for the Newest Big Thing and buy it/see it/listen to it before everybody else. It doesn't matter if the movie or album or, much more rarely these days, book, is great. If it's considered the Newest Big Thing, it already is "great," even if it's nothing but a runny, stench-filled, rotting pile of maggot crap.

Advertisers employ psychologists to brainwash you, the brainless consumer. In effect, they employ expert mind-fuckers to fuck with your mind ever more, making you, ever more, a slave to advertisers' wishes. Read the article if you don't believe me. It's from the American Psychological Association!

And you, the brainless consumer, the suburban you are, go along and get along with this with a piggy little smile plastered to your bloated face.

How pleasant.

I'm convinced after decades of observing this disease in action all around me that if the human species is to survive, even to the next century, that mindset will have to be eradicated. Permanently.

~~*~~

We don't tell folks that when we find a great TV series that we watch it over and over and over again. The few times we revealed such information were enough to keep our mouths shut forever afterward.

"You--seriously--you've watched Lost six times now? Why?"

"You can't live your life in stories, Shawn. It's not healthy." (An actual, word-for-word quote from a girlfriend who still stalks me thirty-five years later. She said it after my fourth or fifth viewing of The Breakfast Club in the mid-80s.)

"You seriously need to update your DVD collection!"

(Because "updating" is the only thing that matters in the end to these people.)

"Why on Earth do you still listen to Pearl Jam?"

You get the idea.

In writing, the pressure is always on to cater to the masses and their Newest Big Thing. For many, perhaps most, writers, this is precisely what they do. And so you get waves and waves of sewage, most of them emanating from the "romance" (read: porn) cesspool. It's the only reason sites like Smashwords continue to exist. "Romance" (read: porn) is what pays the bills. It's the Newest Big Thing.

The summer blockbusters, so called, are just a few days from being released. For most of them, their suburban Newest Big Thing Approval Badge will expire and turn to dust within forty-eight hours of their premiere. A few might make it to a week; maybe one or two will go past that.

Maybe one will be great and worth owning. Maybe. And if we end up owning it, a year from now the suburban consensus will be, "Oh my God, you still watch that?"

~~*~~

Of course, the Newest Big Thing extends its greasy fingers into everything else, including clothing and fashion. And food. And patio settings. And automobiles. Even religions and religious practices like meditation, which is, again, the Newest Big Thing, just as it was back in the 60s.

That's another feature of the Newest Big Thing. Often it's a retread. It's already been done. Advertisers know that the suburban herd's collective memory is very short, and retreads are way cheaper and safer than anything completely original. Just put a new title on it, spin the concepts to match modern suburbia's latest appetite, connect it to something else they want (yoga pants, for example), make them feel like idiots for not wanting it NOW-NOW-NOW-NOW! and serve steaming hot!

And those dumb fucks buy it. Every time.

Maybe you're one of them.

~~*~~

I don't have a lot--at all--but what I have I treasure. And no, it's not, as suburbans believe, because it isn't much and so I'm terrified to lose it, but because those things have tremendous intrinsic value to me, something suburbans can't wrap their minds around, even when it comes down to "things" like their marriage or children.

We don't seek the Newest Big Thing, Kye and I. We seek greatness. We seek timelessness. We seek stories, be they in books or television series or movies, that move us and educate us and inspire us every time we watch them. If one does, we buy it. And so our DVD collection grows very slowly. Our music collection grows very slowly. Our book collection grows very slowly. We rebel against planned obsolescence, which has infected every nook and cranny of this hateful fucking society, and has infected the minds of most people, whether or not they are even aware of it. Some are, remarkably, and don't care. They are willing slaves.

The Newest Big Thing is almost always a tsunami of utter shit.

Don't you think it's time that you deprogram yourself from wanting it, mouth stretched open to its limit, eyes wide, as it gathers and curls over you?

~~*~~

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