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: Where's the weird gone?
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May 2nd 2011
Not really, I think this kind of topic has come up once every 6 months to a year for over a decade now.
I think the reason has been mentioned a few times - those who stick around long enough get burned out trying to find that next bit of weirdness to maintain the "high" even as our immunity grows, meanwhile The Weird is chewed up and regurgitated as pap (someone mentioned CSI and
has made a career out of mining the borderlands for plot fodder and did it well, I remember "
Fur and Loathing
" in particular, but recently it is a game of "spot the inspiration" like the Ickian "
" and the Heaven's Gate-like "
"). It does seem like new generations of sensation seekers/weird hunters come on through finding some exciting new (to them) nugget of nuttiness but it often gets shot down by the more jaded "been there, done that, got the brand on my genitals" crowd (something I've seen, well possibly without the genital branding but you never know).
I also suspect this post-911 world, with its short term austerity misery and medium term climate apocalypse, might be looking for something less... esoteric, more confrontational - a punch in the mouth rather than a tickle of your third eye (something the right in America may have caught onto a few years back, but the demonstrations against cuts and tyranny suggest everyone else is catching up quickly). However, you'd also think such times might call for new myths and stories to take our minds off such unpleasantness or to help shape our response to it. I suspect cleverer folks than me have already applied their considerable collective brainpower to such questions...
So what can we do?
Giving up and walking away is a legitimate option, although it seems a bit of a waste of your time and effort. Instead you could:
Dig deeper - information overload has made a lot of us feel like we've seen it all before and, in some ways, we have. We now have a large dataset of unusual encounters, strange happenings and the like, which does lend itself to analysis (how come the more we know about "alien" encounters the less it seems quite so straightforward?). Of course, you can always dive into the media-saturated memosphere and indulge in some synchromysticism, although I still can't confidently say what it is all about (although I still follow The Secret Sun -
the posts on Jack Kirby
Go back - in his rush to find the next new oddity it is easy to overlook the classic cases or older reports that got ignored at the time (especially those that seemed too weird, as they didn't fit with the prevailing theories at that time) but which might benefit from a big dose of hindsight, especially as it is easier to spot patterns reoccurring when you can look back over the decades of cases.
Make stuff up - which could go a number of ways: you could go all
and just create an elaborate conspiracy theory and pass it off as fact (although I wonder if it could work today with a more cynical/media savvy audience) or you could create a work of fiction (presented as such), after all if people are going to be gutting The Weird for story ideas you might as well get in there first and use your knowledge to make a better job of it. It might be you could also spot emerging trends and stay ahead of the curve: get in, do something clever (some kind of Neo-Borgesian mindfrot) and get out before popular culture catches you up - leave them sucking on your fumes, looking out of date before they've even started. Comics are a good medium for this as you can turn them around pretty quickly if you've got willing partners (or unwilling ones who you can keep away from a phone).
However, you could just hold on for a few years - 2012 will be a damp squib (probably) but I can see The Weird starting to ramp up in expectation of... something happening and it will be worth keeping an eye on, if only to see if it spins off a suitably odd morsel amongst the reheated New Age silliness that tends to accrete around such events.
Or none of the above, by its very nature The Weird is unpredictable and it might just catch us all out with our pants down and a hot piece of metal singeing our nether regions.
May 3rd 2011
Anyone interested in weird should check out Stacey Richter, if they haven't already. She's been around for about a decade now and writes some of the craziest shit, that still gets into all the lofty literary journals and wins pushcart prizes.
This is not her best story
(in my opinion) but it's the only one I can currently find for free online. Others to check out would be "Goal 666" and "The Cavemen in the Hedges."
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