Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Is that a fly speck on my crystal ball?

Here’s a wonderfully disturbing thought: With the plethora of remakes and parodies in current popular culture, can you envision a not-too-distant future society where people no longer recognize the original source material being referenced or remade? Instead, members of such a culture would point to an older parody and say, “This is what they are referring to.” Or, will the original piece of literature, television, film, etc, attain such mythic status that it becomes part of the collective consciousness, and people will say, “Oh, that old plot again! Why can’t they come up with anything new?”
Will Solomon’s proverb, “There is nothing new under the sun” reach a sort of cultural critical mass? What’s next after reality TV? Higher-tech sensory experience in the virtual reality world? Virtual possession?
Retro/rerun/nostalgia culture is already an industrial behemoth. Oddly, a large part of the fan-base for such merchandise as out-of-print TV shows and music are people who were too young to have experienced them the first time around! Nostalgia by proxy? Is it possible that there will eventually be a nostalgia for great literature? Will a future society’s edgiest pop culture participants be a bunch of civilly-dressed individuals reading Chaucer, Dickens, Shakespeare, etc?

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