“The recipe is simple. Find some peculiar global trend—the more arcane, the better. Draw a straight line connecting it to the world of apps, electric cars, and Bay Area venture capital. Mention robots, Japan, and cyberwar. Use shiny slides that contain incomprehensible but impressive maps and visualizations. Stir well. Serve on multiple platforms.”—Evgeny Morozov: The Naked And The TED | The New Republic
“Today, clothing sold in shops comes with labels that instruct the owner in how to wash and care for their garments. Wouldn’t it make more sense if the garments had enough on-board intelligence to tell the washing machine how to treat them, so that it was impossible to accidentally damage an item of clothing? (Or if your phone could identify itself to the washing machine, and the washing machine could call you to extract the phone from the pocket you left it in, rather than giving you a soggy, expensive, and unpleasant surprise?)”—How low (power) can you go? - Charlie’s Diary
Typewriters. Polaroid cameras. Turntables. Things. Great big clunky things that, despite the obsolescence suggested to them by the feature-creep of what our ancestors called “tele-phones”, they endure. Is it simply a fetishisation of the way things used to be? Possibly. The analogue world presented to us by That Show With The Suits And Secretaries And Smoking is so alluring.
Things are no more prevalent than in the office, in the lair of the stationery. In theory, all you need is a computer, a big hunk of glass and aluminium screaming light into your face all day long. But the dream of minimalism, of the paperless office, continues to be undone by stationery, the Apps of the twentieth century nestling into the corners of our offices. Anachronism be damned.
“The rise of the bobos in the 1990s (when creativity became lucrative and money became cool) put a new kind of pressure on the true bohemians. Now they no longer stood in opposition to mainstream culture, as the beatniks did to the company men or the slackers did to the business boys. Now they looked exactly like it. Mainstream culture had come to them, and it drew them to itself. Et voilà, the hipster. Instead of having to get a haircut and a new wardrobe, not to mention a new set of friends, if you wanted to go over to the man, you just kept doing what you were doing, at gradually higher price points. Hence the hipster as Bobo-in-training, bohemia merging imperceptibly with the bourgeoisie.”—The Entrepreneurial Generation - NYTimes.com
I recognised something else happening - I thought I saw a generation realising that it was now Top at Culture. 30/40 somethings were suddenly seeing the stuff they liked, that they grew up with, was now the dominant cultural stuff. Their favourite things are now ‘officially’ mainstream, dominant culture. It’s not alternative. It’s it.
It made me think of Things Can Only Get Bitter and its hypothesis that a generation turned away from politics and decided, instead, to get good at culture.
It made me think of the global success of house music. It’s so good and so overwhelming because it can absorb anything, any musical culture, in a way that rock never could.
It made me realise that the boomers have been gently elbowed aside.
“As long as you are not a citizen of the United States, you will be richer in 2052 than you are today. But only slightly so, unless you live in China or BRISE. I can add some detail: you will be much poorer than you would have been in 2052 if a benevolent dictator took control in 2012 and forced through the necessary investments to keep everyone employed and global warming below plus 2°C.”—8 Ways The World Will Change By 2052 | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation