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    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011
    I think the gaming issue has side-tracked from what I was trying to say with my first comment, that basically I cannot see anything from Western Culture having that long a shelf life - except as a sort of reminder of how the West blew it and apart from that if anything from our current era does survive to the middle of the century then it's more than likely going to something born out of the Chinese sphere. Certainly I can't (currently) see the dominant US/Western cultural hegemony surviving that long anyway.
  1.  (10371.42)
    Well, we're talking about looking fifty years ahead, not three hundred.

    When I look back to the history of fifty years ago, and even 100 years ago, a huge part of sustained culture does revolve around entertainment--so I don't think it's unreasonable that video games take more prominence as a main cultural signifier. I would probably agree, though, that the expansion of various forms of entertainment--along with forms of communication, and other things--might lead to a more general view of culture of this period, as in "video games were neat" rather than "that Bioshock game, we remember that one".

    Interesting idea and discussion so far.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011
    I don't buy into the whole 'Chinese culture will destroy Western culture' thing at all myself.
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011
    Am I the only one who hopes will live for years and years? Already over 12 years strong...
  2.  (10371.45)
    There needs to be a zombocom preservation society.

    And yeah, where's the whole "The West Is Already Fallen" thing coming from? That sounds more than a little alarmist to me.
  3.  (10371.46) theres no way to say this without making someone mad. i just read this thread and i have to say it sounds kind of ridiculous. SYSTEM OF A DOWN and BIOSHOCK? is this what people think will last into the future? i think we have seen enough in the past decade to realize that theres SO MUCH STUFF happening that we, the nerds who live for this stuff, cant even catch all of whats happening right now. the average person doesnt get cultural references older than maybe 10-15 years, with a big gap, then back to whenever their childhood was.

    sure, there will be people like us, but i still buy vinyl and hate e-books. we are going to be the continually dwindling minority. my guess is that by 2060, ever-increasing speed of disposable culture and everything layering over each other will have rendered everything older than a year or two as part of cultural waste for everyone but a small slice of stubborn retro minded people.
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011
    See, that's why I'm still kind of stumped to come up with anything other than a collaborative dictionary.

    The AK47 was an inspired choice, though.
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011
    In fact in the stated timeframe: A pair of collapsed skyscrapers will definitely be cultural mainstays in 60 years' time.

    (And even there I just started getting doubts. Do people still remember the Berlin Wall?)
  4.  (10371.49)
    Culture is manufactured anyway, isn't it?

    The only reason we read things like Moby-Dick today, or worship movies like Citizen Kane, is because someone else years later took notice and said "Hey, wait a minute..."

    I'm speaking in terms of separate cultures, not a world culture, which doesn't exist yet. And I'm not optimistic (pessimistic?) enough to think it'll happen anytime in the near future.

    I'm also speaking mostly of art here--in terms of broader cultural context I tend to suspect 2000-2010 will be more grouped in with the late 90s as "Net 1.0".
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2011
    @joe.distort Yeah, you are right that many of the entries posited in this thread aren't exactly on the scale of Citizen Kane or Mozart. I wouldn't underestimate their value, however. The longevity of a piece of work depends on what circles you are running in. Bioshock is going to last much longer in the game development crowd than it will in the consciousness of anyone outside of that group, though outsiders will still be affected by it as it continues to influence the design of games that come after it.

    (Also, in case you haven't noticed, video games are What I Do, so they are my first point of reference when approaching these sorts of debates).

    @taphead: Time to make you feel old: I was two years old when the wall came down. While I definitely don't remember that event the way I remember the towers, the impact that event created is not going anywhere (mostly due to it being a staple of high school history classes these days). The towers will most likely live on in a similar way, due to the way the influenced the next 10 years of global politics.

    @lamcommander Re: "Net 1.0" - Web 2.0 was a term that started being bandied about starting in 2004. I'd say a huge portion of site design practices are well in to the second, or even third generations of design. Look at the differences in interface design, technology used, and general philosophy of sites like early-era Myspace compared to modern-day Twitter. Barring some sort of major ground up restructuring, the movement from one generation to another is such a spread out and iterative process that I doubt we will ever reach a point where the average person will be able to "that was net 1.0, and this is net 2.0".
  5.  (10371.51)
    @Morac: I intended a "Net 1.0" more in terms of now vs. fifty years from now, when it's not hard to imagine our whole idea of the internet having completely changed into something else--kind of like the Metaverse being a successor to the internet in Neal Stephenson. Less of a tracking-incremental-changes thing and more completely-different way. Granted, I didn't explain any of that in my previous post...
      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2011
    Well, I didn't totally love the movie, but I think Scott Pilgrim will probably come to be seen as a quality property which characterises a lot of the cultural preoccupations of the last ten years in some style. I almost want to punch myself for writing that. I'm not saying it's not flawed, just that when people looking back in fifty years are trying to identify the characteristic cultural artifacts of the last decade, Pilgrim covers a lot of the bases. Maybe that's not quite what Vornaskotti was asking though.
  6.  (10371.53)
    That's one that, again, I think academics and casual cult historians will definitely look to, because I suspect that it will eventually turn out to predict quite a lot of future stylistic trends. Similar, perhaps, to how Tron stayed sort of submerged in the public consciousness--I think part of that can be explained by the later emergence of a more refined cyberpunk aesthetic.

    It's interesting to consider what the actual creators of new media will look to as well. I mean, Art Nouveau is still largely ignored critically, but commercial artists keep returning to it as a style because it's just such a goldmine. Similarly, Tim Burton is still basically just cribbing the notes of Fritz Lang and the other German Expressionists, so even though most people probably haven't seen Metropolis (tragically) the actual aesthetic is still around because modern creators DO still pay attention to the past.

    That's, of course, even harder to predict than the original question.
      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2011
    As if by magic, filmcrithulk just posted a HULK-SIZED review of The Cinema of Edgar Wright which does a much better job of articulating the case for Pilgrim's significance.

    The whole thing is well worth reading.

    Spaced's second season was aired in 2001. As cultural artifacts go, that show is a gem which will surely outlive us all.
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2011
    An interesting question.

    I recently came across a tv guide from 1982, previewing the new fall season. The only show I remembered was CHEERS. (And MANIMAL, of course but it only lasted one seaon. One magical season.) One very interesting thing was the "tv at a glance" page - there were a startlingly few number of channels (compared to now) and no specialty channels at all. The Big 3 networks were absolutely dominant. There's something that's changed within my lifetime that seems small and yet monumental at the same time.

    What will "survive"? The Beatles and the Stones but not the Kinks or the Dave Clark Five. Hell, not even the MC5.

    We don't really have a unified culture anymore so it's hard to say.

    Then again, I'm predicting that this time next year, we'll all be huddling in a shell-hole, eating cold rat and hoping the robots don't kill us so I might be the wrong chap to ask ...
  7.  (10371.56)
    Mass culture is (was?) a phenomenon of the 20th, maybe also 19th century. Before that most culture was geographically local. (The supposed mass culture from earlier times (e.g. Shakespeare) is just bits of local culture that were taken from The Globe to the globe.) what's becoming different is that "local" is being defined by something other than geography. So far language is still one of the factors, but that'll diminish with auto translation.
  8.  (10371.57)
    It's hard to say what'll truly last. I mean, I'd like to think that Mario is such a cultural icon now, he'll be just as famous in 60 years as Mickey Mouse is today. But gamers are a flighty lot, and while that fat plumber will no doubt be part of HISTORY, it's hard to say whether he'll be as appreciated or referred to, or indeed played.

    Tomb Raider is a good example. Back when it came out, and for a good bit after that, it was lauded as one of the most important games ever. It helped bring games into the mainstream. Where is it today, though? How many current, young gamers give a crap about Tomb Raider?

    Really answering this question is hard, since the way pop culture spreads has changed so much with the Internet. Stuff gets popular and forgotten again at such a rapid rate these days, it's hard to say whether it takes the same for a property to have a lasting impact today as it would 60 years ago.
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2011
    I really don't think any of the games being mentioned are going to be remembered in 60 years in anything like a mass cultural way. I don't think any games will be, other than the few from the first wave of video games being a thing (probably only things like Pac Man). Everything else that followed, every single thing, is niche. The large culture doesn't know a thing about Bioshock now and it won't know anything about it in 60 years.

    Same goes for Scott Pilgrim. Not known now, except by niche. Won't be remembered.

    When you are talking about cultural artifacts that might be remembered across six decades, you need to look for things that transcend niches already.

    Pixar films, for example. Disney Princesses. Sitcoms like The Office, maybe, might be remembered.

    That's culture pumped full of preservatives.

    The things being talked about here are more like fresh picked perishables. More nutritious, but it rots quickly, and is replaced by other newer things.
  9.  (10371.59)
    It's my understanding that Citizen Kane wasn't exactly a work with broad-ranging appeal when it first came out... Why assume that what is niche is going to eventually fade from memory? I mean, this cultural preservation stuff doesn't happen magically through random thought flow. People keep works alive. And, perhaps more powerfully, corporate entities keep works alive. In fact, a better question might not be "what will be remembered?" but "what are we going to keep reminding people of?"

    What should be preserved? Because once we have that list, we can begin the task of preserving.
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2011
    What you're missing is that Citizen Kane is highly regarded within the film industry and among cinephiles, but is pretty much unknown in the wider culture. People might know the name, maybe that it had Orson Welles, if they are particularly cultured they might know Rosebud was a sled (spoilers!), but that's it.

    Kane is held up by film critics and historians as foundational as so many technical and compositional techniques in modern cinema were invented or done with inspired skill in that one film.

    I really think the gaming equivalents of that are all the first generation arcade games, or maybe World of Warcraft. Everything else is iterated or derived from those roots. I guess that doesn't account for first person shooters, so maybe put Doom in that list. But in 2060 I do not believe anyone but game historians will know anything about Doom.

    And gaming, despite it's massive market, does not have the depth of cultural penetration that film has. It just doesn't. Films easily cross cultural boundaries and linger in people's minds their whole lives, are rewatched across generations fondly. Video games are tied too closely to constantly obsoleting technology. There are 18 year olds today who are watching and enjoying Casablanca for the first time. In 2060, do you really think an 18 year old is going to even be able to fire up Bioshock, and if he did, that they will find it the equal of their current generation game experience?

    Maybe the character of GLADOSS has a chance to be as culturally famous as 2001's HAL, if the dialog from the Portal games had an impact on a generation of young creatives.

    I don't think gaming's culturally impactful era has arrived yet.