You Say You Want a Devolution?
December 8, 2011 8:15 AM Subscribe
Everything feels old.
There have been no radical changes in style, culture, art, and fashion over the last 20 years—a stark contrast to every other two decade period going all the way back into the 19th-century, Kurt Anderson
argues in Vanity Fair
. Every 20 year period marked a drastic and unmistakable shift in cultural appearance with the exception of our current quarter century.
The article, in full, is nuanced and concedes some things have changed a lot, technology mainly, but other things which used to change a lot - fashion, pop culture, etc have remained fairly much the same over the past 20 or 25 years, a distinctly unusual condition since the 19th century. Compare our last 20 years with: 1957 to 1977. 1932 to 1952. 1902 to 1922.
Anderson is not the first the notice it. Simon Reynolds recent book Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past
) has been getting
, looking at the question through the world of music. Culture has always remixed, but currently genuine innovation, genuine future-now, is just the pasts future remixed into a sort of perpetual groundhog day. There are underlying structural reasons for this, as argued in the above essays.