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Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather count down the 1000 most consequential moments in pop culture over the last decade. (Spoiler Alert: 999–875 all involve Ashton Kutcher.)
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- “Think Tank: What do the Storm Troopers Think of Vader?” from Overthinking It
- “Toward a Theory of Television Snackability” by Matthew Wrather
- Toward a Juggalo Theory of Value, Part 1 and Part 2 by Peter Fenzel
- Oreo tweets about the blackout
- “Juggalo”on Wikipedia
- “Fenzel on Dragonball #5: The Passage of Time” by Peter Fenzel
On Matt’s point about subgroups often imitating the outgrouping strategies of the culture at large, I was recently listening to an interview with a PhD student who wrote a thesis on military defense capabilities within anarchist societal structures.
I hope that I’m not straining my self to the point of pulling an intellectual muscle by connecting these two thoughts, but since the grim, Dickensian specter haunting this week’s podcast seems to be the 2016 election and since the kind of bullying, shaming and gatekeeping tactics utilized by nonhegemonic sorts are really just war by another name, I think that some of that research about decentralization applies.
Specifically, there was some interesting stuff that seemed to defy traditional military doctrine about discipline and the chain of command and imply that actually cooperative self-management makes combat units more flexible. Lots of fun ideas like indigenous peoples who were resisting colonizers thinking to practice forms of agriculture that allow them more mobility and intentionally complicating their own languages to be more difficult to understand for outsiders. Apparently sociologists working for NATO did studies that included war games which backed up this idea as well, including giving lower-ranking commanders more authority over tactics.
My personal takeaway from this, as well as every “hip” tech company’s takeaway from this, is that top-down problem-solving approaches are often less effective than simply removing the “top” and letting the “down” solve its own issues organically. Not always, mind you, and the jury’s still out on how that approach would work for something like, say, a government. (This isn’t just an excuse for an anarchist rant, I promise.)
But that that also leaves us alone with our more significant issues if the culture itself is broken in some fundamental ways that either don’t stem from hierarchy or which demand the eventual re-creation of hierarchy by the will of the groups involved. In other words, yes, capitalists created racism and liberal governments are bad at solving it but eliminating either or both doesn’t necessarily solve the problem now that it exists. Because even the systems of racism can be enforced by shockingly small groups of individuals, working towards their own ends.
This is especially relevant thinking, I hope, since this decade’s-end pop culture podcast wound up circling the idea of a general dissatisfaction with the culture, pop or otherwise.
Looking forward, all of the polling on Gen Z seems to show that they’re practically sharpening their knives for a socialist takeover. It could be an even wilder 2029 podcast, who knows. But no matter what they build from our ashes, I’m sadly not convinced that the scars aren’t self-repeating, even at the most microscopic of levels.
Also, all of this talk about Ashton Kutcher and not a single mention of Mila Kunis? This was her decade to throw away after Black Swan and she threw it away HARD with Jupiter Ascending.
It does amaze me that companies (and, more obviously, fascists) keep trying to push the idea of top-down monocultures, even when studies like you mention keep verifying that the better investment is always diverse, broadly-empowered groups. Add in how much money is spent on anti-equality propaganda, and it’s hard to imagine equality being anything but (eventually) inevitable, just based on the hard-headed return on investment…
I support the dislike of The OA. I know a lot of people loved it and were disappointed when Netflix cancelled it, but I gave up on the show in frustration when the big plot to poison the bad guy was foiled by…the bad guy poisoning himself, somehow derailing the plan.
That’s about all I’ve got, though. I really should dig further into the old blog posts, at some point.
The prequel to Magic Mike XXL (or, in the vulgate, Magic Mike 2050) is of course, Magic Mike 2049. Surprised you guys forgot.
Back in 2011, just about the time when I started listening to Overthinking It, I used to live next door to a Juggalos. They were nice to my wife and myself, but mean to each other. They had lawn chairs and wooden cable spool as furniture.
They were not bad neighbors, but were evicted from the apartment complex when one roommate stabbed another roommate during a party.