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A millennial’s hymn to Generation X
October 25, 2019 | Financial Times | by Janan Ganesh

Thought-provoking article by Janan Ganesh arguing that the Gen X cohort are passing through life without having left anywhere near the kind of societal impact of either their larger numbered predecessors, the baby boomers, or their larger numbered successors, the millennials.  Generation X have avoided embracing big ideas,  or embracing nobel causes or political zeal.  lack of passion, big vision, no protest movements, no electoral shocks, etc.  Ganesh argues that Generation X's unpretentiousness--their unwillingness to  made a big splash--is standing them in good stead...."No living generation has shown less interest in changing the world. As a result, no living generation looks wiser today." This is because those who are wildly engaged in causes today (e.g. populism, climate activism, etc.) look like utopian true believers.  By contrast, Generation X'ers look like healthy, sober, sceptics....representing a certain hardheadedness or tough-mindedness or prudence.  Even Generation X' popular cultural touch points, movies like Pulp Fiction and Fargo are really more about the  particular and personal rather the evincing a larger societal message.
Ganan concludes by arguing that it is a category error to misinterpret Generation X's circumspection for mediocrity or ineffectiveness. Many tech company founders are Generation X members. " It is just that these gifts were seldom deployed in public life. The cream of the generation chose business and the arts over politics," Janan
mistrusts vision. Sometimes, vision results in blameless people having to pack their things in the night and flee their own country to survive. I like caution. I like moderately countercyclical fiscal policy with a view to 2.25 per cent annual growth over the period, thanks.
'90s  baby_boomers  demographic_changes  generations  Generation_X  Janan_Ganesh  millennials  popular_culture 
october 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | What Does It Mean to ‘Look Like Me’?
Sept. 21, 2019 | The New York Times | By Kwame Anthony Appiah. Mr. Appiah is a philosopher.

Minorities can find it gratifying to see people who resemble them on-screen. But resemblance is a tricky thing........It’s a formula that we turn to again and again to affirm the value of inclusion, especially in the realm of popular culture: the importance of people who “look like me.”......The “look like me” formula appeals because it feels so simple and literal. We can think of a black or Asian toddler who gets to play with dolls that share her racial characteristics, in an era when Barbie, blessedly, is no longer exclusively white. The emotions it speaks to are real, and urgent. And yet the celebratory formula is trailed by jangling paradoxes, like tin cans tied to a newlywed’s car.......For one thing, nobody means it literally. Asians don’t imagine that all Asians look alike; blacks don’t think all blacks look alike.....What the visual metaphor usually signifies, then, is a kinship of social identity. ....the complexities don’t end there. When it comes to representation, two cultural conversations are happening at the same time. One is about “speaking our truths” — about exploring in-group cultural commonalities......e.g. the cultural conversation put on by comedians whose jokes you “get” — the in-group references that resonate with you, that trigger a knowing “nailed it!” smile......That’s one way of “looking like me.”.......What films like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther deliver is a way of “looking like me” that’s as much about aspiration as identification. We say that their characters look like us; maybe what we mean is that we wish to look like them.....What these fantasies ask is, Who gets to tell you what you look like? It’s not a representation of identity so much as it is a renegotiation of it.......How identity relates to identification is, of course, a complicated matter.........The truth is that our best stories and songs often gain potency by complicating our received notions of identity; they’re less a mirror than a canvas — and everyone has a brush. It takes nothing away from the thrill of feeling represented, then, to point out what the most ambitious forms of art and entertainment are always telling us: Don’t be so sure what you look like.
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How did children develop self-worth and an identity before movies and tv? People have to stop looking to mass and social media for self-esteem.
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The trouble is that racial and ethnic iconography, including color, eye shape, nose length etc . govern our responses to people the second we see them.
cultural_appropriation  cultural_conversations  culture  emotional_connections  identity_politics  inclusiveness  Kwame_Appiah  paradoxes  popular_culture  representation  self-identification  self-worth  visible_minorities  visual_cues 
september 2019 by jerryking
Review: A reminder of why 1999 was the best movie year ever
June 22, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by BARRY HERTZ.

Brian Raftery’s new book, Best. Movie. Year. Ever: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen, both an exciting and dubious proposition. We are barely halfway through 2019, and yet I feel as if I’ve already read everything that I could possibly need to know about the cinema of two decades years ago. (Admittedly, this is because I’ve written more than a few thousand words about the era myself. Hey, these pages aren’t going to fill themselves.) By this point, don’t we all know why Galaxy Quest and Go and Run Lola Run and American Beauty are important to today’s cultural firmament, in one way or another? Thankfully, the answer is: no.
'90s  anniversaries  annus_mirabilis  books  book_reviews  cultural_touchpoints  films  generational_touchstones  movies  popular_culture 
june 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | The Best Year of Our Lives
April 6, 2019 | The New York Times | By Ross Douthat.

There’s a theory of human psychology that holds that the time you enter maturity becomes fixed in your mind as a civilizational peak — with everything since a falling-off that conveniently matches your own stagger toward the grave. Thus it doesn’t matter if you came of age in the Great Depression or some other nadir; because you were 18 then, it must have been a golden age......I’ve been thinking about how good we had it lately because we’re 20 years out from 1999, and the cultural press is thick with reminders that it was a pop-culture annus mirabilis — from the premiere of “The Sopranos” that defined a golden age of television, to the yearlong cascade of brilliant movies .....from a Hollywood not yet captive to the superhero era......Widen the aperture a little, so that the “Xennial” cultural era covers 1995 to 2005, and you get everything from the perfection of the sitcom (late “Seinfeld,” season one of “Friends,” the silver age of “The Simpsons,” “Arrested Development”) to the peak of HBO (when “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” and “Deadwood” and “Sex and the City” were all airing). Oh, and those were also the days when George R.R. Martin could publish three “Game of Thrones” novels in five years, inventing all the good parts of the TV show’s plot in an end-of-millennium rush.....cold hard economic data also suggest that ours was a uniquely blessed coming-of-age: a time of low unemployment, surging productivity, strong working-class wage growth — and all without a huge overhang of public and private debt.......a statement about generational experiences, Alter was basically right. If you were born around 1980, you grew up in a space happily between — between eras of existential threat (Cold War/War on Terror, or Cold War/climate change), between foreign policy debacles (Vietnam/Iraq), between epidemics (crack and AIDS/opioids and suicide), and between two different periods of economic stagnation (the ’70s and early Aughts).
'90s  op-ed  Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez  annus_mirabilis  coming-of-age  cultural_gatekeepers  films  generational_touchstones  golden_age  millennials  movies  noughties  popular_culture  Ross_Douthat  television  shared_consciousness  shared_experiences  The_Wire  wage_growth 
april 2019 by jerryking
How the nineties are coming back to haunt us - The Globe and Mail
March 10, 2019 The Globe and Mail | CHRIS FREY, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Don’t call it a comeback, it’s been here for years: Our nostalgia for the 1990s obscures the story of how the decade created the crises of the present.....the nineties....is...a decade we have a hard time remembering right.....No matter how well or harshly you judge the decade’s music, films, fads or fashions, this recycling is largely to be expected, given nostalgia’s tendency to follow something like a 20-year cycle......Pundits may wax on about how unprecedented our current political times might seem, but they’re not without their moments of woozy déjà vu – signal events and moments of the nineties recast and remade.....So much of that decade’s politics – decisions made, issues unaddressed – haunt our current times more than any other. From societal issues of race and gender to the global economics of trade, from the radical transformations of the internet to the corrosive effects of growing political polarization, so many of the destabilizing forces that mark this current period in the United States and much of the West were either incubated, unleashed or amplified during that time. .........The ultimate revenge of the nineties is probably that the man now occupying the highest office of the United States was, through much of that decade, its most notoriously failed businessman – bankrupt and abandoned by his lenders, his name reduced to a punch line on late-night talk shows.......Which is entirely the point. In the introduction to his 2008 essay collection Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, the historian Tony Judt argued that, in time, we would come to regard the period between the fall of communism (1989-1991) and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 as “the years the locusts ate: a decade and a half of wasted opportunity and political incompetence on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Quite suddenly, Mr. Judt argued, we fell under the notion that history could have little to teach us, except in the most narrow triumphalist sense. “With too much confidence and too little reflection we put the 20th century behind us and strode boldly into its successor swaddled in self-serving half-truths: the triumph of the West, the end of History, the unipolar American moment, the ineluctable march of globalization and the free market.”........Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich, who, with his populist-tinged “Contract with America,” led the GOP in 1994 to seize control of the House for the first time in 40 years......had the more lasting impact on the tenor and style of U.S. politics.....in the cover letter to a memo from 1990, entitled Language: A Key Mechanism of Control, he endorsed a call for his Republican colleagues to brand their Democrat rivals as “traitors”, “pathetic”, “corrupt”, “radical” and, of course, “socialist.”........The decision by the FCC, in 1987, to stop enforcing the Fairness Doctrine.... had unleashed a boom in conservative talk radio. By 1991, Rush Limbaugh was already the most syndicated radio host in the United States.......One of the quainter predictions made in the nineties, no doubt influenced by the post-Cold War mood, when the West thought it had triumphed over authoritarianism, was that the internet would inevitably lead to more political freedom around the world.
'90s  demagoguery  foreshadowing  fractured_internally  gridlocked_politics  Newt_Gingrich  nostalgia  partisan_politics  political_polarization  popular_culture  reboot  revivals 
march 2019 by jerryking
1999 at the movies: The year of living dangerously - The Globe and Mail
BARRY HERTZ
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 1, 2018

it is easy to call 1999 the last great year at the movies.

Or at least that's the (convincing) argument made by Canadian television writer Phillip Iscove and his American colleague Kenny Neibart in the pair's new project, Podcast Like It's 1999. The series, available now on iTunes, aims to dissect all 250 major releases of that wonderful, overwhelming year – before, as the pair put it in their debut episode, reality television, HBO and the internet divided everyone's attention.

"It just feels, and has for a while, like a seminal year for movies. It's undeniable,"

.....Which brings up the question of whether 1999 is a true watershed moment, or perhaps more of a generational touchstone for those currently active and wielding power in the creative industries......Raftery’s book is not satisfied until it delivers the definitive portrait of one astounding year at the movies from those who were there, watching along in the dark.
'90s  anniversaries  annus_mirabilis  books  book_reviews  cultural_touchpoints  films  generational_touchstones  golden_age  movies  popular_culture  turning_points 
february 2018 by jerryking
A Former Superagent Bets Big on a More Diverse Hollywood
October 8, 2017 | The New York Times | by Calvin Baker who teaches at Columbia University and is the author of four novels, including “Grace” and “Dominion.”

The offices are in a rapidly transforming corridor of Los Angeles. The work of up-and-coming artists adorns the walls; the soundtrack is classic rap, and the work force looks as harmoniously multicultural and gender-balanced as America imagines itself. These employees aren’t just betting their fates on the movie business but on interlocking shifts in demographics, culture and technology. Macro, King believes, is in the vanguard of a new cultural universe, one made possible by the shrinking space between technology and film. “We’re building a global company for a new majority. We won’t be the only one.” He begins listing mighty firms that fell (MGM, Blockbuster, Time Warner), noting new entities that sprang up seemingly from nowhere (Netflix) and theorizing what the landscape may look like decades from now — before going abruptly silent, to keep from tipping too much of his own hand. “Well, you can imagine,” he concludes, cutting across several lanes of rush-hour traffic on the freeway after missing an exit.

King is not the first to see the problem of diversity in popular culture;
Hollywood  diversity  inspiration  producers  popular_culture  digital_media  talent_representation  packaging 
october 2017 by jerryking
The Not-So-Glossy Future of Magazines -
SEPT. 23, 2017 | The New York Times | By SYDNEY EMBER and MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM.

Suddenly, it seemed, longstanding predictions about the collapse of magazines had come to pass.

Magazines have sputtered for years, their monopoly on readers and advertising erased by Facebook, Google and more nimble online competitors. But editors and executives said the abrupt churn in the senior leadership ranks signaled that the romance of the business was now yielding to financial realities.

As publishers grasp for new revenue streams, a ‘‘try-anything’’ approach has taken hold. Time Inc. has a new streaming TV show, “Paws & Claws,” that features viral videos of animals. Hearst started a magazine with the online rental service Airbnb. Increasingly, the longtime core of the business — the print product — is an afterthought, overshadowed by investments in live events, podcasts, video, and partnerships with outside brands.

The changes represent one of the most fundamental shifts in decades for a business that long relied on a simple formula: glossy volumes thick with high-priced ads.

“Sentimentality is probably the biggest enemy for the magazine business,” David Carey, the president of Hearst Magazines, said in an interview. “You have to embrace the future.”.......experiments are part of an industrywide race to find some way — any way — to make up for the hemorrhaging of revenue.

Hearst recently introduced The Pioneer Woman Magazine, a partnership with the Food Network host Ree Drummond that was initially sold only at Walmart. Its new travel publication, Airbnbmag, is geared toward customers of the do-it-yourself online rental site, with distribution at newsstands, airports and supermarkets. Meredith has started a magazine called The Magnolia Journal with the HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Even Condé Nast, the glitzy purveyor of luxury titles, has recognized the advantages of outside partnerships....debuting a quarterly print title for Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand, with a cover featuring a topless Ms. Paltrow submerged in mud from France.
magazines  generational_change  brands  Vanity_Fair  print_journalism  churn  events  partnerships  sentimentality  digital_media  journalism  Hearst  Meredith  publishing  advertising  decline  experimentation  trends  Condé_Nast  resignations  exits  popular_culture 
september 2017 by jerryking
Book Review: The Dozens | Darkest America - WSJ.com
August 24, 2012, 4:29 p.m. ET

No Shades of Gray
From minstrelsy to freestyle rap, the critical labyrinth of black popular culture

Article
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By PRESTON LAUTERBACH
African-Americans  popular_culture 
august 2012 by jerryking
Henninger: The Age of Indiscretion - WSJ.com
April 25, 2012, 6:48 p.m. ET

The Age of Indiscretion
GSA partiers in Vegas and Secret Service revelers in Cartagena make it clear that discretion is dead.

By DANIEL HENNINGER
Daniel_Henninger  scandals  discretion  humility  etiquette  public_decorum  popular_culture  personal_responsibility 
april 2012 by jerryking
Voice of Influence
Oct. 07, 2010| TIME| By Richard Stengel. Fareed's worldview
comes in part from being a naturalized American citizen who was born in
Bombay and grew up outside the U.S. in what was then decidedly the
developing world. His academic background — a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D.
in political science from Harvard — also gives him a set of analytical
tools that few have. "Most journalists ask the 'what' question very
well," he says. "My training is to ask the 'why.' "s. "I'm not in
journalism to play parlor games with elites. I want to help people
become more thoughtful and engaged about the world." ...Fareed is one of
the foremost public intellectuals of our time. He connects the dots on
foreign policy, politics, the economy and the larger culture to make
sense of the world's most important ideas and trends. And he does it
with a subtlety that is nevertheless clear and accessible. For him,
politics and international affairs are complex and gray, not black and
white.
Fareed_Zakaria  profile  sense-making  foreign_policy  politics  economics  trends  popular_culture  public_discourse  journalism  public_intellectuals  connecting_the_dots  engaged_citizenry  worldviews  5_W’s 
october 2010 by jerryking
Surviving the Age of Humiliation - WSJ.com
MAY 5, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By JEFFREY ZASLOW.

THE BEST DEFENSE

* Expect the worst. If you run a business, assume disgruntled employees will make accusations about you. If you're a teacher, expect to be badmouthed by angry students on RateMyProfessors.com. If you've endured a hostile divorce, keep your guard up, and be ready to mop up spilled secrets.
* Get up to speed. You may be written about on blogs, Twitter and other social-networking sites. Learn exactly how new media sites work, who uses them and how you can be adept at it, too
* Reframe the discussion. Actor Alec Baldwin wrote that he felt great shame, and even thought of suicide, after an angry voicemail message he left for his 11-year-old daughter went viral. He eventually channeled his feelings into a book about fathers' rights and divorce, which allowed him to explain his outburst and weigh in on the debate over custody issues
* Have thick skin. Ignore efforts to hurt you on obscure blogs or websites, as these often dissipate on their own. As for cyber-bullying of children, parents tend to overreact—calling other parents over minor incidents, making things even harder for their kids at school—or under-react, not responding to serious incidents. It's best to tell kids: "Together we'll find the right way to deal with this—to help you and not make things worse.
* Fight back. Thomas Jefferson believed that the best way to combat critical speech was to speak out yourself. Start your own blog or post your own comments. If it's vital that you defend yourself, do so forcefully, without fear and with self-confidence.
personal_branding  reputation  etiquette  civility  public_decorum  popular_culture  Jeffrey_Zaslow  humility  reframing  humiliation  problem_framing  serious_incidents  Thomas_Jefferson  worst-case  thinking_tragically 
may 2010 by jerryking
How to Ruin American Enterprise
12.23.02 | Forbes Magazine | by BEN STEIN. An itemized
list of things--all offshoots of a societal collapse of values--that
would destroy the American business spirit.
howto  Ben_Stein  U.S.  satire  humour  celebrities  threats  popular_culture  collapse-anxiety 
october 2009 by jerryking
National Affairs
The magazine, focuses on the bloody crossroads where social
science and public policy meet matters of morality, culture and virtue.
Recommended by NYT columnist David Brooks.
public_policy  government  popular_culture  economics  politicaleconomy  David_Brooks 
october 2009 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: Crisis creates opportunity? Yeah, whatever, sounds good
September 12, 2009 | Globe & Mail | by Karen von Hahn.
Book review of Exploiting Chaos: 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During
Times of Change, by management consultant and chief trendhunter.com
trend hunter Jeremy Gutsche.
book_reviews  chaos  creating_opportunities  crisis  innovation  Jeremy_Gutsche  popular_culture 
october 2009 by jerryking
Trendspotter gets help from a Calgary carpenter
Sept. 2009 | - The Globe & Mail | by JANETTE EWEN,
Special to The Globe &Mail. Interview of Jeremy Gutsche, founder and
chief trend hunter of the popular style website, TrendHunter.com.
Trends  pattern_recognition  Jeremy_Gutsche  websites  blogs  popular_culture 
october 2009 by jerryking
The Tragedy of Michael Jackson - WSJ.com
JULY 15, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by BILL WYMAN. Great music, poor life decisions!
Michael_Jackson  reflections  victimhood  music  popular_culture  obituaries  op_ed 
july 2009 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - In Search of Dignity
July 6, 2009 | New York Times | By DAVID BROOKS.

From JCK's notes in the late 1990s:
{"Individual expression" and "self esteem"}--can be a lot of B.S.
"feelings" can be a mask for selfishness
We live in a time when leaders and citizens have abdicated character, courage, & conscience.
There is no shame in our culture anymore.
Saving one or two stranded starfish, even if you can't save them all!
==========================================

there's a difference between being insecure and lacking self-esteem.
public_decorum  etiquette  popular_culture  personal_responsibility  David_Brooks  dignity  insecurity  personal_behaviour  bullshitake  self-esteem  selfishness 
july 2009 by jerryking
The Arts Need Better Arguments - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 17, 2009, WSJ article by GREG SANDOW.

The arts are going to need a better strategy. And in the end it's going to have to come from art itself, from the benefits art brings, in a world where popular culture -- which has gotten smart and serious -- also helps bring depth and meaning to our lives.

That's the kicker: the popular culture part. Once we figure that out, we can leave our shaky arguments behind and really try to prove we matter.
strategy  funding  fine_arts  value_propositions  contemporary_art  art  artists  economic_stimulus  imagination  creativity  open_mind  ideas  popular_culture  cultural_institutions  prosperity  creative_class 
february 2009 by jerryking

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