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Posts Tagged ‘Ted Gioia

“To choose the wrong strategy is a serious matter”*…

This year’s movies look a lot like last year’s movies

The estimable Ted Gioia suggests that we’re living in a time without a counterculture…

These are the key indicators that you might be living in a society without a counterculture:

• A sense of sameness pervades the creative world

• The dominant themes feel static and repetitive, not dynamic and impactful

• Imitation of the conventional is rewarded

• Movies, music, and other creative pursuits are increasingly evaluated on financial and corporate metrics, with all other considerations having little influence

• Alternative voices exist—in fact, they are everywhere—but are rarely heard, and their cultural impact is negligible

• Every year the same stories are retold, and this sameness is considered a plus

• Creative work is increasingly embedded in genres that feel rigid, not flexible

• Even avant-garde work often feels like a rehash of 50-60 years ago

• Etc. etc. etc.

He then illustrates his point with a series of 14 tweets: “14 Warning Signs That You Are Living in a Society Without a Counterculture,” from @tedgioia.

* “To choose the wrong strategy is a serious matter. All the movements that only play on liberation, emancipation, on the resurrection of a subject of history, of the group, of the word based on “consciousness raising,” indeed a “raising of the unconscious” of subjects and of the masses, do not see that they are going in the direction of the system, whose imperative today is precisely the overproduction and regeneration of meaning and of speech.” — Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation


As we ferret out ferment, we might recall that it was on this date in 2008 that a worker using a blowtorch to warm up some asphalt shingles at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park neglected to check that all of them had cooled before he left, and a three-alarm fire broke out. It destroyed three acres of the studio’s back lot tour (including “New York Street,” “New England Street,” and the attraction known as “King Kong Encounter”).

But worse, it obliterated Building 6197 and its contents– between 40,000 and 50,000 archived digital video and film copies were destroyed along with 118,000 to 175,000 audio master tapes belonging to Universal Music Group. Among the artists whose masters were destroyed were Nirvana, Elton John, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Beck, Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Eat World, Suzanne Vega, Les Paul, The Surfaris, and Bryan Adams.

The Courthouse facade (part of an often used town-square movie set) is visible to the left of the smoke plume from the 2008 fire.


“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”…

Richard Whately’s 1843 book on whether Napoleon actually existed deserves to be turned into a documentary. It is either (1) an extreme example of skepticism, or (2) satire, or (3) satire of an extreme example of skepticism, or (4) a straightforward debunking of Napoleon’s existence, or—and my preferred interpretation—(5) the first example of French deconstruction…

Faulkner argued that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Ted Gioia (@tedgioia) offers a timely historical example: “Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Buonaparte.” Via his wonderful newsletter.

* Voltaire


As we contend with conspiracists, we might we might recall that it was on this date in 1804 that Napoleon Bonaparte was in fact proclaimed Emperor of France by the French Senate– at least in part an unintended consequence of Britain’s declaration of war against France (again), exactly one year before, in response to Napoleon’s “activities” in Italy and Switzerland… (Napoleon formally crowned himself “Emperor Napoleon I” on December 2, 1804 at Notre Dame de Paris.)

Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of Napoleon (1812)


Written by (Roughly) Daily

May 18, 2021 at 1:01 am

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