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Rex Sorgatz

Screenplay idea: Man gets amnesia and reconstructs his life from blog comments he wrote. Short film -- he kills himself after 11 minutes.

feb 27
2007

Snack On This

The cover story on the new issue of Wired is Snack Attack!, a mini-manifesto on the notion that culture is becoming more bite-sized. I wrote three short pieces for the compilation -- on t-shirts, lists, and link blogs. These happen to be three things I'm ridiculously qualified to prattle on about.

Snack Culture is a notion that, once stated aloud, seems almost obvious: society is speeding up, so of course culture reflects that acceleration by providing smaller, easier-to-consume bits. Just think about ringtones and texting, iTunes and Twitter, online profiles and speed dating -- nuh doy, right? Aren't FlashMobs just really nano-protests? Isn't H&M just fashion in fast-forward? How about the mashup -- couldn't we argue that it is simply a way to consume two songs in the time it takes to listen to one? (I remember an episode of Star Trek: Next Generation in which Data was listening to five Mozart symphonies at once. This seemed like utopia to this attention-deficient teenage mind.)

Steven Berlin Johnson's decent counterpoint, Snacklash, makes a compelling argument that miniaturization is actually an illusion created by surplus. But his points about movies and music (old media) seem to crumble with recent inventions (new media): games, startups, webisodes, memoirs, gossip, widgets, highlight reels, and all the rest -- just let your mind wander and you'll think of some.

Some bite-sized notes on the items I wrote:

T-Shirts
I've had this theory for a while: the t-shirt is becoming its own legitimate form of media. Whereas t-shirts used to be a retroactive way to classify yourself in a social group, now t-shirts seem to broadcast news. From Wii tees to Dick in the Box halter-tops, the t-shirt is the nano-ist of nano-publishing.

Lists
It's strange to be known as the list guy. Since at least Nick Hornby (or Letterman?), it's become easy to be cynical about cultural lists. But lists are like malls -- we may hate them, but they can never perish in the age of micro-niche. Lists have a mathematical elegance, an efficiency. Lists are ways to editorialize, to predict. Lists are nostalgia and futurism at the same time.

Link Blogs
Stacks of links, neatly organized, precise and discrete: you have your version of beauty, I have mine.

1 comment

Just saw this. Great idea. Cool package. Nice stories, Rex.

posted by TimGreen at 1:13 AM on March 3, 2007




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