Saturday, November 11, 2006

Creative & Non-Creative Consuming #2

In my initial post on the concept of "non-creative consuming" I wrote about the diminishing returns proffered by massive amounts of conferred value. Trends created by popularity are socially valuable up to a point, but after a certain critical mass the results metastasize and we converge on narrower and narrower ranges of possibility and fewer, less interesting choices.

An obsession with box office grosses hasn't helped Hollywood produce better movies that more people want to see, its produced a risk-averse environment that increasingly clings to remakes and sequels. The motion picture industry still looks down its nose at television, only now it does so in the hopes of finding a show that engenders enough nostalgia to rationalize the cost of turning it into a movie.

Zero-sum outcome popularity battles in reality TV series, box office grosses and VH1 "greatest" countdowns, we've become a culture obsessed with popularity and the idea of "the best". Socially constructive drives up to a point but taken to far and they become culturally unhealthy and destructive. The technology needed to create just about anything has never been cheaper and more empowering and increasingly it is used to do make more and more of the same things.

In classic times there are no great artists, only great works. In decadent times there are no great works, only great artists.

I don't fault companies that produce the products. It's the fault of consumer's no being very interesting or thoughtful in their consuming.

Digital technology was supposed to help people find more things suited for their particular tastes, and it has to some degree. What surprises me is how some of it has even more powerfully reinforced "this is what everyone else has bought" shopping. Think Amazon.

Here is my non-creative consuming pick for installment #2: Tattoos. Particularly the lower-back "anters". See my post of "Ass Antlers".

And for your creative consuming edification here is a site devoted to helping you find books, movies and music that are off the beaten path: Headbutler

Head Butler is founded on a simple proposition: There's so much New Stuff you need help finding the Good Stuff.

If you're like most smart, curious people, you're drowning in media. Open any magazine or paper, turn on any TV or radio station, and you're bombarded by news and advertising that tells you what to think, what to buy, what's really cool and what's totally hot. It's too much. You can't keep up. Or even catch up.

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