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    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010 edited
    Now, this may be just me, but the world seems to have got less weird lately.

    The days leading up to the turn of the millennium weren't just dark, they were positively bugfuck with a mixture of apocalypse fetishism, psychedelic monstrosities, anally probing aliens, cults, crop circles and craziness busting out into the mainstream just about everywhere.

    Now, of course, you do still get all of the above. But that's the trouble. It's all just watered down versions of all of the above. Serial killers, perverts and abductees are all just a bit rubbish these days. It's like they're not even trying. And even Julian Cope sounds like he's been stuck on repeat since 2004 or so, like he's well on the meds, when his missives used to be outstanding slices of mad cool.

    And not to take yet another shot at a popular target, but whilst kids bestseller lists are full of tales of darke creatyres, they're all totally fucking nutless, with vampires just standing in for the 'Aristocrats' of Jane Austen type stuff and 'Gypsies' and 'Swarthy types' of Enid Blyton.

    Even the bloody 'Otherkin' just aren't entertainingly mental any more, and they've all decided they're 10 foot blue 3D motion captured effects now, not folktales filtered through fairytales via Disney and anime, as they used to be (although, the dragon dildo website's copy writer did cheer me up for a while, and no way I'm finding that site to link to for you lot whilst I'm slacking here at work... find it your damn self).

    So, here's me clinging to and the Anomalist's and my beloved Centre for Fortean Zoology except they all just aren't doing it for me and I either need a bigger hit, or they've subtly switched to decaff weird, not the proper stuff.

    Has everyone just grown up? I have to admit, people like Ben Goldacre, Derren Brown and Penn and Teller hold my attention far more these days, when dismissing ridiculous claims than the makers of said claims do, not because I've got any more or less of a 'skeptic', but because the nutters just aren't doing it for me, and I'm not rooting for them anymore because they're boring, not because they're actually nutters.

    So, please use this thread to discuss the empirical of levels of weirdness in the world today, providing examples, charts, graphs, diagrams and images of centrifugally examined Sasquatch stool samples.

    I'm not interested in debates between proponents of parabugfuckery and science-ists, I only want teh gud wierd.

    The really good weird. Seriously. I shall throw a giant hissy strop if someone posts a picture of an orb or a mainstream news report about a funny shape in the sky. If it's something a news anchor would make a pithy comment about on seeing, rather than tearing his eyeballs out over, or resigning on the spot, shitting his suit, and saying 'well, that's it, you may as well all do it in the road, as we're all fucked now' and meaning it, then I don't care.

    Those of us who used to breath this stuff are suffocating.

    Aerate us.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    You know how Coilhouse says it's a love letter to alternative culture (because it doesn't exist anymore), well, I think that's what you're seeing.

    All of that stuff that was so edgy and cool and has been splashed across the tabloids, so now even regular folks know what A Rusalka is (OK, maybe not that), or about Crop Circles, or the things you mention above. The X-Files dragged this stuff into pop culture, and now it's passé... until remakes start up in five years or so.

    Then again, maybe They are putting something in the water that makes us less inquisitive, and you're resistant to it.

    I personally think Katie Price is an Elder God... but everyone thinks I'm mad.... meh.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    Did you see the second X-Files movie? Are you even aware it existed?

    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    Thoughts coming straight through fingers here...

    The X-files, in the 90s, didn't make this stuff pop culture, it's what it was and the x-files held up a mirror to it. You'd often get stuff in the X-files that was lifted wholesale from alt.alien.visitors and the x-files' narrative about the greys vs the clones and the supersoldiers and the alien database culled from smallpox vaccine samples wasn't authored by the script-writers, it was pulled straight out of the zeitgeist, and people really, really, really, really believed it, before it was even on TV. Dark Skies was the programme that probably did the most 'accurate' take on the 20th century Alien narrative that started with Betty and Barney Hill, was exploded by Whitely Strieber and coloured by Bob Lazar, rather than the X-files, but that's the point. But it's all just faded like morning mist at noon. There's no 'narrative of the weird' anymore. The 'birther' and 'truther' shite doesn't count, because really, it's just dull.

    I have to admit, I haven't given Coilhouse the time I should have, but even that concept depresses me slightly. Maybe all this is my loveletter to it though. Or eulogy.
  1.  (8392.5)
    No millennial pressure.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    What he said.


    Come 2094 we'll all be worrying about nanite enemas from Beta Centurii, and quantum fuckery that does/ does not happen when you turn the bedroom lights off. Or Sarah Palin's thousand year old tits.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    Yeah. No cold war either. And the 2012 stuff is fairly half-hearted.

    I'm almost-expecting something to happen, or be imagined, which will take the place of all that.

    Is the future really over? Not just 'not the future you expected', but one with absolutely no milestones ahead?
    • CommentAuthorSpenceball
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010

    Looks like we need to take this bull by the horns and create another pandemic of fear. I vote for finding some scientist to tell people that the earth is actually losing air- and we won't have enough to breathe by 2035. Get all the presses rolling. Then people will get weird again.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    Weird to think we're catching up to Blade Runner (2019). Minority Report is set in 2054.

    Suddenly a Philip K Dick tangent Universe doesn't seem so bad when Palin running for President and insane UK austerity is all we have to look forward to...

    Of course, we'll never catch up to A Scanner Darkly – it's set 'Seven years from now...'

    I fear I've gone off topic.
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    Even in my head it sounds a bit trite, but here's an idea:

    The 90s were, in a lot of ways, a good decade. Tech boomed, first world economies generally looked good (unless you were in Japan), the Gulf War went ok and didn't turn into another Vietnam, the internet started to go online, Clinton rode his bike around the White House, etc. In this climate, people turned their interest to weird things - to find something compelling to worry about, you had to stretch - obscure conspiracies about governments in league with aliens, abductions by strange grey creatures, time travel experiments gone awry, and so on.

    Come that fateful day in September 2001 (plus the USS Cole bombing in 2000, not to mention the US African Embassy bombings in 1998). All of a sudden, the priorities for worry and speculation were different. I imagine that these days the first stop on the conspiracy theory circuit, for someone who has only just realized a proclivity to disbelieve authority, is the 9/11 Was An Inside Job topic, followed by Obama Is A Terrorist, and whatever else. Aliens come a distant second - these days, if you're worried about being abducted and subjected to bizarre and unpleasant procedures, your best bet is the CIA.

    In summation: Another fucking casualty of the (War On) Terror.
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    Weird. I was just thinking about something similar this very morning.

    Music when I was growing up (like, a little kid -I'm 40, btw) was "soft rock"*, things like Bread and Badfinger and James Taylor and ... what have you, which gave way to Punk which was pretty diametrically opposed to all of that. Cut to the '90's/00's, - "It's Tough To Be A Pimp", everything's all bitches-this and ho's-that, WHEN DID WE GET SO CYNICAL? Answer : the Eighties, which is when Nuvlear Armageddon was a very real possibility.

    You'd think, with all our tech whiz-bangery, we'd be able to locate a measly chupacabra, wouldn't you?

    *-For the most part. I'm thinking of Top-40, A.M. radio kinda stuff. Songs were about Love, not Intercourse With You.

    This probably made no sense....
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    '1999' by Prince from Sign O' The Times is (as far as I'm concerned) about hedonism in the face of nuclear annihilation. A more classic 80s pop song you couldn't hope for.

    That is to say you raise a really good point Mister Hex.

    When did people really lose faith in politics? Perhaps it's when we thought all the people in charge wanted nothing more than to vaporize the planet because of ideology and commerce. The Cold War really f*cked us up.
  2.  (8392.13)
    Geekification. Everyone's online, the fantastic is possible. Humanity has slowed down light and teleported particles, and it's not even front page for most newspapers, let alone top headline.

    Plus, a lot of the millennial cranks are now Tea Party cranks. They've found a new outlet for their anti-Christ LOLz.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    I actually just started re-watching all of the Xfiles off of nextflix last weekend for this same reason.

    I used to think my slight facination with cryptozoology was odd but damned if there wasn't a whole show on the chupacabra on the National Geographic channel last week. It's just all out there now. The only messed up (for me) stuff I see anymore that's out there are the hostel/saw slasher movies, etc.

    Back in the day (crap didn't even realize I wrote that until it was too late) it wasn't easy to get to the weirdness which made it fun. It was a vhs someone brought over to your house. It was a newsletter someone actually mailed to your house. Or it was out there on usenet or a bbs. I feel like after writing that I'm one step closer to being on a rocker on my front porch telling stories.
  3.  (8392.15)
    The internet's doing the same thing that newspapers did for the British public in the 1800s - drawing them away from urban mythology and hearsay, and bringing a sort of era of enlightenment to the public at large. I dare say that access to so much knowledge at the push of a button means there are far less crazies in the status quo who would otherwise have been inclined towards being batshit insane (this is of course a huge generalisation).

    We're also largely desensitised to the outright scientific fucking miracles that take place almost every day. Completely artificial bacteria made by man? A milestone that marks the beginning of a path towards custom-built bacteria that will be able to target cancer cells and HIV and destroy them outright? That will one day be able to make renewable fuels out of a few arbitrary elements? Meh, fuck that. Maybe I'll be impressed when it's sentient and I can have sex with it.
  4.  (8392.16)
    On topic, please, all.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010 edited
    James Hetfield of Metallica said, in 1998 or so, that metal hadn't gone away, it just wasn't the mainstream anymore. It's always there, bubbling under the surface, waiting for its turn. It's a good thought for this topic, I think. Just because Art Bell is semi-retired doesn't mean people aren't still talking about weird shit. You just have to poke around for it more if you want to find the really outlandish stuff.

    Interestingly, I think less of the weird is coming from fiction (or fiction pretending to be nonfiction) but from science itself. We're coming into a lot of things that we used to consider science fiction--as is the way of things--so now we're just in a lull where we're trying to find the impossible. People think it's entirely possible that entire gene sequences can be built and replicated in a lab (because they can) and that one day in the near future we could be producing clones for organ harvesting (because we're pretty fucking close already).

    What's more weird than a warehouse of mewling abominations that live solely so we can harvest their ears for burn patients? What's more weird than having the knowledge that more than 50% of the mass in our universe is unobservable and may, in fact, not actually be there, even though by maths it should be?

    I think this is a big reason Tesla and Lovecraft and all that shit is becoming so popular lately. There's really nothing that the public wouldn't believe inside the realm of science, and the only things that seem interesting to us are the ideas so far-fetched as to seem impossible. (Throw some cosmic dread on that for the Lovecraft flavor. Non-Euclidean geometry? What the fuck is that?)

    Nobody bats an eye when Doktor Sleepless begins infecting people with a virus that makes them see angels, but as soon as his parents get devoured by extradimensional beings, then it goes from being sci-fi to flat-out weird. Nobody's afraid of the cartoon mad scientist, everyone's afraid of the cartoon mad scientist that believes in fucking Cthulhu.

    ETA: I apologize if I'm reiterating what people are saying, and I especially apologize if I'm being off-topic. I was typing this up and once I had finally finished not sounding like a moron, there were two more posts, including the one from the landlord.
  5.  (8392.18)
    Personally speaking, most "weirdness" in the sense I think you mean has kind of lost its fascination for me. It seems like there's a sort of zenith of weird that anybody can reach in their search, beyond which the scope of possible random mixtures, distortions and exaggerations of culture/reality just come across as a muddy mix that's a bit banal and pick-and-mix-unimaginative. It's been a long time since I've said "that's just weird" and really meant it, although I'll come straight to this thread on the next time it happens! I also feel that getting a grasp on reality (as rationalists and sceptics like the people mentioned do) introduces a more subtle and disturbing type of weird that's all the more odd because it's in line with reality rather than a flagrant distortion of it.
    I don't know if there's been a general migration away from the weird that doesn't involve my personal filters though?
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    I was going to call out the shift in the last decades bogeyman/men but @256 beat me to it. We went from looking at the skies and our machines for signs of something going horribly awry to fearing our neighbors would drive a bomb to a bustling metropolis, instead of wondering if the government is conspiring to put mind control substances in our food we're freaked out that it's rewriting laws to suit itself and screw us over, and instead of fearing someone or something will reach through the computer and take us over we fear that our identities will be compromised for such banal use as theft.

    It's the lack of millenial pressure, sure. Also, this new century/millenium/whatever really has brought a shitload of things to ponder and worry about and aclimatize to. What I see is that we're adapting to the New World. Give us a (figurative) minute and we'll soon find the cracks that lead to something really mindbending. (Remember the "your problem is you live in a reality-based world"? Yeah.)
    • CommentAuthorbobsyuncle
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010 edited
    Maybe we're all just not looking for supernatural bogeymen in our closets so much anymore because there are plenty of real ones out there. You know, crazy fuckwhits blowing shit up, flying planes into buildings, shooting up hotels in Mumbai. The last decade has been more about real weirdos doing real weird shit just because they take old religious texts way too seriously. You want weird? The richest countries in the world can't even get one bugfuck bearded crazy out of his cave.......huff pant rave.....