This is a topic that is WAY too huge to try and cover in a single issue of PCR, but it is one that has been banging on my door with increasing frequency lately.
AUGUST BIRTHDAYS Shelby McIntyre, Aug 9, 40 yrs. Nolan B. Canova, Aug. 13, 54 yrs.
Much of PCR's most popular content is devoted to nostalgia, there's no denying that. Trying to find what's enjoyable and interesting in the here and now seems to have gotten much more difficult for many of us, especially in these troubled times, double-especially for those of us old enough to remember when it was better and simpler.
Or was it? The computer revolution changed the world and brought more information to more people than anything since the printing press. It has also changed the way TV, movies and music are created and consumed. Pop culture fandom, formerly a cottage industry (of sorts) for decades has been institutionalized and incorporated.
As people age, their desire to return to "better times" is a natural part of the process. In my lifetime, I have seen many generations of young people who, approaching the age of thirty, suddenly wake up and ask, "What the hell are these kids listening to/watching these days? What happened to all the great stuff I grew up with?" I call this their "pre-mid-life-crisis crisis". When they eventually reach forty, they've all but given up on the idea that any new pop media will prove exciting or inspirational.
Estranged PCR contributor Andy Lalino (Oddservations) made a career of promoting his opinion that nothing worth a damn came out of Hollywood after 1987. It was frequently debated how much the DVD revolution and technological inovations (CGI effects, etc.) had to do with the way movies are created and marketed, but Andy, and those like him, knew that, regardless, it would never be the same again, and that's all that mattered.
Recently, a message board poster in his mid-30s conveyed his devastation over finding his life-long passion for professional wrestling ebbing away due to the current set-up in the creation and promotion of the sport. He then determined nothing in pop culture is worth a f**k anymore.
I myself haven't watched television regularly since about 2002, the year I gave up cable TV. I haven't collected comics since about 1993, around the same time I gave up on anything new in the music field appealing to me. I do, however, still enjoy going to the movies and find that some of the greatest product ever has been produced in the last ten to twenty years (the '90s was sparcer).
I think I've addressed some or all portions of the thorny issues related to the changing face of fandom over the years. To me, it all has to do with what I call your hot ten years, roughly the age between 8 and 18, when you become aware of pop culture as a consumer and discover what your passions are. This is followed by a secondary ten years when your collecting and trivia knowledge becomes more fine-tuned. As 30 approaches, this tapers off as the national pop landscape begins to court a younger generation. Once you hit 40 and beyond, your demographic is no longer a prime mover and shaker which can lead to bitter contempt and a resulting embracing of nostalgia. Collecting anything new begins to taper off in favor of collecting things old.
The baby-boomer generation enjoyed an extra ten years or so of controlling the pop culture landscape because of the sheer numbers in our ranks (I never imagined the surviving Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zepplin members still touring in their 60s), but eventually, we, too, will have to settle for Jimi Hendrix posters in our retirement homes.
I'm sure today's teenagers still find lots to like that is new and current. However, I've run across many who, even at their tender ages, agree that things were better in the past!
The simple question: Does everything truly suck now, or does it just seem that way?
First up is Vinnie Blesi, a former regular PCR columnist who's making a one-time comeback to address this issue.
But looking at the charts on emusic.com shows that Michael Jackson and the Boss rule. The Sheeple have spoken. Why should any film studio or music label promote good original music or film when they have a winning formula now? Look at box office numbers in this age of recession. People are desperate for an escape. While this should be a bumper crop era for fantasy and science fiction, we are instead treated to tripe like “Transformers”, “The Hangover” and now an animated Guinea Pig movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
In the 1930’s, America experienced a similar growth in film and music, as people sought to escape from their financial woes through escapism. That era eventually blossomed into giving us some of the finest films and writings in American history. I have little faith that this recession will give birth to nothing but tweets.
Hopefully, in this formulaic derivative time in music and film, some young punk asshole will punch through the barriers of conventional media conglomerates and create some real art that would make Stanley Kubrick proud. And I don’t mean some idiot on YouTube.
A New Columnist Joins PCR
So, I'm walking around my local Publix Supermarket earlier in the week. I was in the back, just passing the frozen foods and picnic items, nearing the organic potato chips. Out of the blue, a man I figure to be at or about 40, but with a definite fanboy look, approaches me, and asks, "Aren't you the Crazed Fanboy?" I am awestruck, and I'm not kidding. To think that whatever dubious notoriety I ever had has finally resulted in being recognized in public!
He introduced himself as Jason Fetters and said he and his friends are long-time fans of this website, most notably the Creature Feature Database section as they are all fans of Dr. Paul Bearer. Ah, the instant bonding of the Bearer elite, eh? He then asked if I'd ever considered running a column on Japanese or Asian pop culture. I remarked that a former columnist, one Peter Card from Orlando, had a limited run on such a topic many years ago, but I'd done nothing like it since. Jason offered his services and, what the hell, I took him up on it. So....
The first installment of The Asian Aperture (my title for it, as we never discussed it) is in this issue! I hope you like it. Next week's installment is already "in the can"!