A long fucking time ago, my friends.
Now along comes Patton Oswalt—of all people!—with a cri de coeur on the subject, and it turns out we’re mostly saying the same things.
Thank you, Patton?
Here are some choice quotes from his article in Wired magazine.
[P]op culture is nerd culture. The fans of Real Housewives of Hoboken watch, discuss, and absorb their show the same way a geek watched Dark Shadows or obsessed over his eighth-level half-elf ranger character in Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the method of consumption, not what’s on the plate.
Everything we have today that’s cool comes from someone wanting more of something they loved in the past.
[This] doesn’t produce a new generation of artists—just an army of sated consumers.
I especially like his word “thought-palace”: the space in our heads that we populate with art and memories and fantasies.
Side note: Even people who talk about books are often talking about stupid geek/pop mash-ups. Like, have you ever looked at Boldtype, the books section of Flavorwire? Typical article: What songs would be on Holden Caulfield’s iPod, if Holden Caulfield had an iPod, and if he was hip to The Smiths and Belle and Sebastian? Listen to the mp3s here! What the fuck, right?
Anyway, Patton Oswalt says we need to ratchet up this geek/pop action until it “swells and blackens like a rotten peach and then explodes, sending every movie, album, book, and TV show flying away into space.” I’m down with that. But I think instead of exploding, it will just start to bore us. Video mash-ups, tongue-in-cheek T-shirts, comic/movie/toy tie-ins—boring.
And I can already tell you what comes next. If the geek/pop schtick doesn’t make you FEEL anything anymore—or if it never did in the first place—then try some Blake Butler. Try some Jesse Ball. Try some Lindsay Hunter. Right now you could be reading some good, indie fiction that I promise you is more exciting and more original than the geek/pop stuff that’s been dulling us since (according to Patton Oswalt) exactly 1987.