Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry


Sometimes I think that modern culture is a bit like the city of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is a vast sprawling metropolis thriving with people but one criticism I hear about it is that it doesn't have a city centre or focal point. The features it does have are too spread out and there is no central hub. Other major cities that are smaller have main central features like New York with Manhattan but L.A has areas of the city that specialise in things but they have no central rallying point. When you see people in cities across the world coming together, you'll see Londoners in Trafalgar Square, New Yorkers in Times Square, Venetians in St Marks Square, Catholics in St Peter's Square but where is the central point in Los Angeles? Perhaps this is why the city historically has had so many problems with racism and segregation, because areas of the city contain large amounts of one ethnic group whilst being portrayed as no go areas for other ethnicities.

This is what modern culture feels like. There is no communal rallying point because everything is so spread out and diverse. You know all those memes that you see with things like "If you grew up in the 90s you probably did this", what will they say about life today in 10 years time? When there were less ways to entertain ourselves before the internet or smart phones, the chances are we probably all did the same things. Less TV channels meant we all watched the same things. Everyone watched Friends because there wasn't much else on. We all did TFI Friday or The Word on a friday night because odds are we were drunk and it was funny. TV hasn't been able to replicate that elusive post-pub TV magic for years despite throwing things like the Friday Night project and it's various clones at us because people don't do that anymore. They finally resorted to bringing TFI Friday back but I doubt that will attract a young audience as much as it will 30-somethings trying to recapture their youth.

You hear about the huge viewing figures that TV shows used to get or the millions of copies a number one record sold whereas today a 'hit' is lucky to count sales in the thousands. Nowadays finding a good TV show to watch is like falling down the rabbit hole. Got a TV? Get Freeview. Your show isn't on Freeview? Get Sky. Not on Sky? Get Netflix. Oh, it's not on Netflix? Better get Amazon Prime or some other subscription package. People complain about the BBC licence fee but are quite happy to fork out an additional £79 for Amazon Prime just to watch the one popular show they have. Instead of coming together, it feels like everyone goes off to their own little niche and does their own thing.

The irony is, culture is diversifying and people are homogenised. Everyone looks the same, sounds the same and listens to the same bland music. Where is the fire? The anger? The punk attitude that rebelled against the blandness of life in the 1970s, picked up a guitar despite being unable to play it and spit in the eye of convention? Where is the urge to change something or try something different? I may sound like an old bugger but I liked it when you could tell what social tribe someone belonged to by the clothes they wore. I liked the distinct look of punk, goth, metal, mod, new romantic, hippy, grunge, baggy, raver or sports fan. It gave you a clue as to who you might have something in common with. Give me a line up of 5 people in distinct outfits and tell me to choose one to talk to, I would know which one I felt comfortable approaching. Now when everyone dresses the same, how can I tell who likes the same music or TV shows? Who else feels like a loner, an outsider, a reader or an introvert? Old diverse dress codes gave you more of a clue. Now everyone looks the same and wears their feelings on their Facebook profile. Cultural icons of the past are now logos on Primark tshirts and someone wearing a Ramones shirt might not even know who The Ramones were.

Culture is like an iceberg. What was once all together has now fragmented and melted into the fabric of society. I am glad that in the face of major world events, we can see how people can come together or rally behind cities experiencing tragedy but I miss the unity we once exhibited in what we listened to or watched.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 15th, 2015 03:32 pm (UTC)

The past was a great place for straight, white, young guys with normal tastes. The fragmentation of culture offers something to those who didnt quite fit.

Nov. 16th, 2015 01:08 am (UTC)
This is all true, said everyone over 40.

OMG, TFI Friday actually scares me now, 50 year olds acting like teenage kids, it's horrific!!

I am almost ready to pay £6.99 a month to see all 4 series of CatFish and I do not pay for telly!! I watch 4 or even 10 year old episodes of Mock The Week all the time!!
Jan. 2nd, 2016 12:03 am (UTC)
The times are changing, without you.

Youth culture is becoming more digital, fluid and diverse than even a decade ago, just because your experiences were different, doesn't mean that youth culture has dissolved into homogeneous mush.

Also, "Cultural icons of the past are now logos on Primark tshirts and someone wearing a Ramones shirt might not even know who The Ramones were."
Really, are you for real? I doubt The Ramomes, Run DMC etc, really care if the person wearing their logo shirt is a fan or not; either way they get paid.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )