Monday, September 09, 2002

Evidently, I am the only one who thinks that Shift's 10th Anniversary Collector's Issues blows chunks.

I guess I should explain myself. Especially as my largest beef with the issue's epic 12,000 feature The Simpson's Generation makes outrageous claims with little in the way of facts or arguments at all to back them up. So here it is.

1. Chris Turner, the article author, says:
To the uninitiated, The Simpsons might seem an unlikely vehicle for social change.

The article opens with the scene of a crowd of university kids in a Kingston pub enjoying an episode of The Simpsons. It's a nice image, but a false one. Watching TV - even good TV - is anti-social event. According to the author of Bowling Alone, research suggests that TV watching may be one of the most anti-social forces that has affected society.

And even though The Simpsons "gnawed relentlessly at every hand that ever fed it", you can make a stronger case that the success of the Simpsons strengthened the influence of Rupoch Murdoch and his FOX Network than the whatever 'social change' its satire-fed fans can be found responsible for. Not that Chris mentions what actual social change The Simpsons has caused.

2. I'm hoping, in short, that we can all agree that no mass cultural phenomenon since 'The Simpsons' debuted in 1990 has had the impact that it has.

Abandon all hope ye!
How about this: The Spice Girls. The Spice Girls demonstrated that girls under the age of 19 were interested in buying music and that if combined, little girls combined could have seriously big wallets. Now when I walk through the mall, I see 'Jacob Jr.', "La Senza Girl' ... ok, I'm not saying that this is a great thing, but it is a new thing, a 90s thing, and its bigger than The Simpsons.

And I think this change is bigger than just a new niche marketing demographic being developed. For example, last week, the Canadian Women's Under-19 FIFA World Cup team played before 48,000 fans. Unless you were a female athelete in the 80s or earlier, I don't know whether you can truly the sheer magnitude of what sort of change this event represents. I think its awesome.

But its not occuring to 18-34 males so its not worth even mentioning. Not by Shift at least. Sorry Buffy.

I have assembled these details like threads, patches of fabric, formless pixels. I've put them together into a whole. It is wish fulfillment. I hope something will come together.

This article was 12,000 words of unfulfillment. Turner mentions Radiohead's 'OK Computer', three or four movies that he likes, The Onion, and then concludes that these catalogue the variant strains of unease and dissatifaction of our time. Oh and get this:

At any rate, it is this ideology - and the indifference verging on contempt that it shows towards any human need that cannot be bought or sold, that cannot be measured by polling data, that does not in some way contribute to per-capita GDP or the balance sheet of a multicorporation - it is *this* ideology that created the preconditions for the rage of a Kurt Cobain, the angry sarcasm of The Simpsons.

Neocons made Nirvana? I don't think so. If you read a cross-section of the music journalism dedicated to Kurdt (and I'm embarassed to say that I have) there is *no* mention of political economy. His parents' divorce (coupled with a family of history of suicide and depression) is considered the "official" source of rage. And as for capitalism fueling the "angry sarcasm of The Simpsons" - well, that would explain the dearth of Simpsons merchandise then. [Oops. I blame captialism for that angry sarcasm].

"The Simposons Generation" is not a social history of the nineties. This is what psychologists call 'projection'

And to think he's ta-ta-talking about my generation. I wish he would just f-f-f-fade away.

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