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    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    Re: No Millennial Pressure
    20 Premises
  1.  (8392.22)
    I think your definition of "weirdness" is far more narrow than mine. I'm persistently startled by the weird things that have been happening in the last few years.
  2.  (8392.23)
    Top things that killed the weirdness.

    1) Monoculture. When everything is the same everywhere, what is weird?

    2) Repetition. When something new comes along, it's generally copied, satirized almost in uniform. Lady Gaga springs to mind at the moment.

    3) And the worst? Acceptance. The Breakfast Club angst kids had is drying up, or at least harder to come by. Most the kids now are part of the broad internet culture, listening to all kinds of music, dressing in a myriad of ways, learning that they share so much of the same ideas, doubts, desires, etc.

    You really have to stretch the boundaries to be weird now. Perhaps a good example is the modern Hipster...

    Why create something like this for no other reason to be weird or different? I mean, they had to put effort into looking like that. Unfortunately the irony is running out on them rather quickly.

    I understood the hatred Spider Jerusalem required to work to be the same thing many others need to function and appreciate themselves; A unique outlook no one else has and a public acknowledgment of that uniqueness, usually brought forth by sneers, gasps and wide-eyed shock.

    I suppose one could always move to certain parts the Southeast. There's still plenty of 1950s/60s uniformity in areas that would allow modern weirdness to permeate forth and be appreciated...
  3.  (8392.24)
    You really have to stretch the boundaries to be weird now. Perhaps a good example is the modern Hipster...

    Agreed. When I watched Lady Gaga’s new Alejandro video I was amazed to see how much of it could have come right out of 1990s underground/alternate/porno comic catalog from SQP or Kitchen Sink Press. And as weird as Gaga is, she’s also the queen of mainstream pop. We’ve just hit a point where being really weird isn’t possible without also being really annoying.
  4.  (8392.25)
    Where's the weird gone?
    Same place it always was; away from the eye of the pubic, doing it's own thing where it doesn't have to worry about people giving a damn and ruining the fun. Time change, people change, the weird's likely changed as well, as what we thought of as weird when we were a kid becomes more mundane and looses some of that spark. Some of it's growing up. We know there's a man behind the curtain, stage magicians aren't really magic, and there isn't a Santa. We no longer expect to see the strange, so we no longer see it. Some things are like a first roller coaster ride. You can never get back that first moment.

    Most of it, I think is ourselves, and that sense that there is nothing new under the sun. We convince ourselves that we've done it all, seen it all, or known someone who knew someone who knew someone... we loose the ability to imagine the horrible and the wonderful, the infinite possibilities...and the world becomes a SSDD, same old dull grind.

    And even with the internet and all it's glory, sometime you just have to go out into the world, look at it upside down, backwards and sideways, before you'll get what you want. Or what you think you want. You don't find those marching to the beat of a different drummer by listening to a drum machine all day.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    My theory: A lot of the weird stuff from the 90's was a rehash of the 70's obsession with the occult. It's all seems benign, if not quaint, now that we know about things like Godzilla bukakke, extreme body mod, etc.

    I remember absolutely loving exposes on "REAL teen vampire cults", "is YOUR CHILD a SATANIST?" and all the other fear-shlock the evening news magazine-format programs would broadcast. The over-exposure at the time actually added another level of enjoyment for me.
  5.  (8392.27)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    I find the new government a little weird, sorta creepy you know. UK government that is. Can't put my finger on why exactly . . .
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    The weird grew up and moved to Florida. We have tea parties, oily beaches and a new law that says I can't ride my bike on city streets. I'd rather have Chupacabra and Bigfoot setting up house in my spare room centrifugally examining their stool samples than some of the real world weird that is coming out of every corner now a days. I do agree though that vampires and werewolves are being turned into emo wusses for 12 year old girls to fawn over. Thank god for zombies.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    yes..the zombie outbreak is the fantasy that keeps me going..weird?
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010 edited
    yes..the zombie outbreak is the fantasy that keeps me going..weird?I agree that as you age weird can just become.. crap? it used to be cool to be weird but now...seems kids prefer to carry a knife than a Satre novel.Maybe we overdosed on performance art in the 80's..i forget that for something to be weird was usually an uncomfortable experience
    • CommentAuthorales kot
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010 edited
    @Oddcult: Kenji Siratori is pretty great. I wouldn't call him weird, but that's probably just because I don't use the word that much. Hardly at all.

    3AM: The world is a place where violence seems to be everywhere -- and is taking on new meanings -- from September 11th type stuff to the Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo to Israel: is your book a response to this? Are you trying to find out what language can do with this new world? Are you positive about the world or is there something too negative about everything now? Do you think as a novelist you should try and answer such questions such as 'How should we live', like Tolstoy thought novelists had to?

    KS: We must control a different vital language cell in the world, so the world is exposed to more physical gene dub. I practice hardweb of the creature intensity as the data mutant of the world -- the new world is resisting our evil gene dub with the era respiration byte. The echo archive. As all the data of the human body flow backward to our global hardweb.
  6.  (8392.32)
    Perhaps my suggestion wont answer the interesting questions raised by everyone but may offer another train of thought as a possible example of how we think about 'the weird' now.

    I often go on a digital dérive. Through my fingers, I embody myself into the screen of my laptop and see where I end up. I occasionally stumble across things like or which make no sense to me. They're brilliant in their weirdness.

    Now I can appreciate that they're neither spectacularly mind-fuck weird nor will they ever physically infect you with anything [so says the Linux user, apologies if any of you visit those and get screwed] but that's my point. With the advent of the all-encompassing digital, we have newly nuanced weird to find. Those flutters of signal that when you call someone and all you get is some long, dark growl after they pick up that seems to stop when you talk and respond to you after a moments silence. It is these corruptions and malfunctions that open up to give us an entirely new element of weird.

    One last quick example: at a conference the other month on Cultures of The Body, I brought up the posthuman practice of implanting magnets into fingertips [for digital culture's affect on the body and the other/the inorganic becoming an everyday part of our organic lives, if anyones got the inkling] and everyone there held their breath after I'd finished. I could tell just by looking at these excellent people that a good proportion felt that what I just said was outright weird. The conference attendees were all either dancers, academics, writers or artists but only the one philosophy student of the group seemed to enjoy it. He was weird in all the best ways. We find The Weird in the nuances of liminal experience - whether that liminality be the organic/inorganic, the traditional clashing with the new or simply an unexpected experience of The Other...I think it's still there, we just have to know how to look.

    The weird has never been truly open for everyone to see. If it were then writers wouldn't have so much fun finding it and readers wouldn't have so much fun discovering it through the works. It always takes an enquiring mind to find his or her own weird - it is as @Rootfiremeber said, away from the public eye...look at it upside down.
      CommentAuthorPurple Wyrm
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010 edited
    Maybe we just got jaded. When I was a kid I was fascinated with the weird - read everything I could get my hands on about the occult and paranormal. Stuff like the Bell Witch, Gef the talking mongoose and possession victims throwing up pins would give me an addictively visceral shudder of horror - could such things be?

    But I read too much. Burnt out the weird receptors in my brain. Nowdays you could show me a video of a crop circle appearing in solid concrete and a four headed David Bowie jumping out bearing a birth certificate proving Barack Obama was born on Saturn, and I'd just say 'meh'.

    Edited - I misspelled the mongoose's name :)
  7.  (8392.34)
    @ Ben

    Jodi is weird, yes. It generates far more nostalgia for me, though. It reminds me of a busted Atari 800. :)

    On the latter part, I definitely agree that the weird involves enjoying time alone and becoming content with one's own interpretations of life, the universe and everything.
  8.  (8392.35)
    FredG- explain this no bike riding law to me. I'm baffled. Certainly fits into my idea of weird!
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    I remember this news item being pretty explosive in 2006: a UFO sighting at the Chicago O'Hare airport. And as quickly as it appeared, it dissolved into the collective unconscious.
    • CommentAuthorjonah
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    I just wanted to say I have been feeling the same way lately and it's nice to know other people feel the same way too. On the other hand it's harder to write the feeling off as one of a cranky nerd. I get this feeling every few years. In the past at least it has been a real push to my creativity. I have to try harder than ever (though not yet succeeding) to make something I truly consider weird.

    What do we have now? Post millennial anxiety? Info-shock? The future is scaring the shit out of people so they look to the past for stability? That would explain mustaches, I guess.

    I think that when(if) language translation software is up to snuff we will see some really amazing things. Culture clashes seem to have a way of spurring good ideas. Artistically and musically there has been a conversation going on for a long time, but as far as language goes progress has been much slower.

    I know I'm going all over the place on this, but how about drugs? A new drug usually shows up with weird outbreaks. What is the drug of the '00's?

    What about the 80's? I don't really recall them (too young). But a lot of people that were adults then seem to think it was a pretty shitty time. Plenty of awesome "weirdness" came out of them. The 60's had tons of really terrible shit happen, but was also quite "weird". It appears to me that in general conflict has appeared alongside spurts of weird and maybe even helps it. Why that seems to be less true now is a good question!

    I used to get my info of the weird mostly from newsgroups on a dial-up modem when i was about 14 (27 now). The demographics have really changed in good ways. Back then most people online were a bit odd. I wonder too if the current ease of access to so much information has made it feel less important for me to seek out the "alternative". I remember it felt like treasure hunting. Ordering bootleg VHS tapes, mail order zines and strange unfriendly software to install. Now there is google, I dunno. It is quite possible I just don't know where to look, but the internet now feels like a vast body of water that is only a few inches deep. I'm not nostalgic for configuring TCP/IP or anything like that though, don't get me wrong.

    @Ben Gwalchmai
    I mean timecube is 13 years old. Maybe the slickness of web 2.0 is hurting the weird? Is there a higher expectation for the information to look professional? I also have to take into account that when I first started using the internet it was like a massive brain dump of all kinds of cool things from the past and now that things are at a more sensible level I have unreasonable expectations.

    @Val A Lindsay II
    The mono-culture is a "western" one, right? Is it possible for people to fight back you think, or is it over? Hipsters I don't think look weird. To me they are retro as all hell. Shock and offend me, please.
  9.  (8392.38)
    One problem with Weird in pop culture is that it's worn as an outfit. Weird isn't something to put on or take off, it's a state of being. Lady Gaga or the hipster kids in the picture above aren't weird at all, they just don't know how to dress themselves. (Says the guy wearing jeans and a t-shirt)

    Two of my favorite forms of media have a good supply of weird- comics and video games. Jim Woodring's Weathercraft isn't normal by any stretch of the imagination, Ted McKeever is back with Meta4 as of this week, Tales of the Beanworld had a new release this year, etc. It's normal to us (or at least a decent percentage of us) because we're used to it.

    Thing I find weird- the way the world is being sanitized for your protection, won't everyone think of the children at all times? Why would people do that to themselves? It makes "magnets in the fingertips" (which makes perfect sense to me) sound downright normal by comparison.
    • CommentAuthorShannonC
    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2010
    There are lots of weird thing out there still, always have been, always will. We just think it should exist on screens at the end of the work day for our entertainment. The problem isn't that we're tired of aliens, the problem is we're tired of looking. Our society is not Mulder and Scully anymore, we don't go looking for weird things. We build platforms for aliens to land on, now, for godsake. We're Weird's shitty friend - we expect him to come over, bring the drinks and the party, leave when it is past our bedtime and clean up after himself on the way out. We could be arsed to put any effort past reading our google feeds, and then we get upset when the wierdest thing that Boing Boing can offer us is 'Cakes That Look Like Meat!' Start with 'Conan! What Is The Best In Life?' posts Mr.Ellis makes if you want to increase your weird intake with minimal effort.

    Someone above on the thread mention contemporary vampires fiction as an example of how lame 'weird' has become. They got lame when they got sexy. They've always been sexual, as a rule, but they were never sexy until they became a form of mainstream entertainment. It wasn't the Romance or Young Adult genres that turned Count Dracula into Edward Cullen, (although they've been courting him like a fang-toothed Mr.Darcy,) it was the desire for vampires to be made into popular entertainment as the concept became more popular in the public, and one way to ease a pants-wettingly terrifying monster into the lime light is to put him in a tight pair of tight fitting jeans and a leather jacket. And people are reading that, and enjoying it, much like how people like to read about desserts shaped like drumsticks. And you know what? Whatever humps your dog, man. If you enjoy it, all the power to you. Have your cake.

    But if you don't? Don't blame the Hipsters. If you're bored with the Edward Cullens and you miss the Fox Mulders, it's your own faults for not finding/writing something better yourselves!
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2010
    I wonder what would happen if you stuck someone from 1995 in front of today's Internets. I'm not sure whether it would freak them out completely, showing how immune we've become, or whether they'd already be used to the kinds of things that are common today.

    I'm afraid I can't even really be bothered with the BME zine stuff anymore. Anyone can fuck themselves up in a vaguely artistic way, but so what? I think that any political points about body ownership have been made and virtually anything that can be done to a penis, has been done (that's not, by the way, a challenge!).

    Maybe the whole environment we're working in *is* so fucked up that we just can't tell the difference any more? Maybe we've all turned pro, as St Hunter might have put it?

    Even that Human Caterpillar film thing made me wonder 'wasn't that on the WEF some time back? I'm sure I remember that...

    But yeah, point taken about not having to look for anything any more. There's no dark underbelly, that appears when you hear that popping, hissing and beeping tone of a diallup modem connecting and it feels like your hit is about to slide sideways into your system.

    I'm here at work, in a modern office, and within minutes I can get to any number of the kinds of things that I used to have to take a train to various well-hidden bookshops to locate, and I can probably arrange a hook-up for even the most esoteric kind of kink.

    Is this why all the cool kids have gone back to knitting and making bloody cupcakes? Because there's just no point trying any more?

    I wonder if I should be careful what I wish for...