Weirdness in the Strange Times
[b]Weirdness in the Strange Times[/b]
Ironically, there's no true weirdness left in the Strange Times. It all changed flavor when strange became commonplace. I reckon this happened within the last ten years, as the information age is kicking into high gear. So many people are defining their own norms that there is no real abnormal anymore. We're eclectically ecstatic, subculturally pragmatic.
Culture is additive, it keeps building on itself. I recently saw this terrible vampire movie. It occured to me that this particular retelling of the Vampire Archetype was told with all the other vampire movies in mind. Lost Boys, Anne Rice, Blade, all that crap was considered when they made this year's terrible vampire movie. The teenagers who are just now getting into vampires have identified with this particular twist on Brahm Stoker's 1897 novel. Stuff just keeps getting more complicated. I mean, 370 movies were released in the year 1995. By 2005, they were making 549 movies per year. By 2015 we'll be [i]drowning[/i] in cultural reference points.
I posit that on average, kids growing up today have a lot more varied experiences than those who grew up 50 years ago. I grew up in the 80s and my childhood mythology was filled with robots and cowboys, lasers and swords, communists and dinosaurs. In some ways it was a synthesis of everything that had happened in culture up to that point. The battle between communism and democracy happens in the subtext of every episode of GI Joe. In your mythology are robots good guys or bad guys? It largely has to do with the accidental intersections of culture and upbringing. Everybody gets imprinted differently -- increasingly differently as the decades march on. There is no "average" left to represent.
So if we want to find the Weirdness in the year 2008, we just have to look around. Pick out some random pedestrian and I guarentee he has talents and tastes and interests which are vastly different from yours. There is a fractillian chasm between you and even your closest of friends. How can you judge me weird for obsessively collecting boxes full of hundreds of the "do not eat" silica packets that come with new shoes, when you haven't missed a women's basketball game in ten years? And you think I'm weird? It's a wonder we can even communicate.
People seek out others with their particular quirks and interests. And when a group of people get together, their cause becomes "legitimate", it becomes "real". These groups attract newbies, they become a location for discourse about these topics, and their very existence perpetuates itself. This is the Strange Times and no niche is too weird to acquire a cult of fanatics. That's why there's a "Furries vs Klingons" bowling tournament in Atlanta. That's why even conspiracy nuts have their own subsects of horrormirth