Friday, February 22, 2013

Signs of the Times

1993 Apple Advertisement
I recently inherited a batch of old Rolling Stone magazines from the early/mid 90s.  And they're hysterical.  The clothes, the pop culture, the cutting edge technology (see right)...everything.  I giggled all the way through them.  Which makes me wonder, why is expired pop culture so funny?

In my work, I obviously have a healthy (or not) obsession with the past.  But that all exists in a memories of moments/The Way We Were/ documentarian sort of way - I hope.  It's when we look at pop culture at large that it becomes so very entertaining.  And even though we know perfectly well, we ask "What were we thinking?"  The answer of which is of course - the same as it would be today.  We're thinking that we're awesome, and forward thinking, and interesting.  And we might not be right.  

Trends, in general, are destined to be a train wreck.  They're like those ideas that you get when you've had too much to drink that seem awesome at the time.  "I'm going to climb on top of that building!"  It won't be until later you remember that you are neither a) Spiderman, b) fully in control of your fine or gross motor skills, or c) properly stretched out or limbered up.  Trends are the same way.  Hasty.  Immediate.  But still a little awesome.  I can't wait until the future looks back on the 00s and asks, "Why the fuck did they all have stupid sayings on their t-shirts?"  Or, "Why does every d-bag in the world have aviators on?"  Actually, let me make a disclaimer: I hope aviators last forever, because they're the only sunglasses that look good on my big giant face.  

Anyway...I can't help but think about the nature of trends, and all of the things that we do that will NEVER, EVER stand the test of time.  Bubble tea?  Please.  No one wants to chew a drink.  Hipster glasses?  Nope.  Even Buddy Holly gave up on that one eventually.  $5, 1000 coffee beverages?  Not unless fat diabetics become the new chic.

But I guess, when we come down to it, no trend is unthinkable so our wildest ideas of what could happen are, in fact, possible.  Nothing is unthinkable, which is reassuring in a way.  We, as a culture, could come up with some crazy creative things - and we will.  And we'll hold them tight until the next great idea comes along, and we'll keep going.  

Because at the end of the day, these things don't last forever because they become the identifiers of an individual era, the signs of the time.  At the heart of it all, it really is a fun custom.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm still trying to wrap my brain around Gangnam Style.

No comments:

Post a Comment