donderdag 10 januari 2008

same game different name

A while back Grant McCracken wrote an interesting post about geeks and playas..

I would propose that they are not ying and yang of popular culture, but momentary features of a larger thing. They just happen to capture a timeless mass appeal want and need in a way that fits: getting laid that is...
Larger thing
They both belong to what can be called (as stated by Mr Bruckheimer the producer) the process-culture that we are currently living in. People love to know the how and the what of stuff. If say the 80's and early 90's where the era of High concept ( as invented by the late Don Simpson) the late nineties and 2000 are the age of process (or as John Grant called it, the age of Apollo).

Constant change
Playa/pimp and geek in the this era = the martial arts expert/businessman/sports hero and funny sidekick in the 80's (think nick nolte and eddy murphy, tom arnold and arnold Schwarzenegger, maverick and his sidekick in top gun, sam malone and norm). Bruce Willis in Die Hard could be seen as the transitional form from modern to post modern hero..(but that is a different post for another time).
But the playa and the geek have a method to their is not pure action..more thinking on your feet. The difference is complexity. The story behind the story. Like MTV's Made show, Do you wanna come in, Heroes, Sopranos, Lost and all the other examples. In the 80's people wanted the hero to win, now we wanna know how he does it, why he does it and what he is doing when he is not a hero. but a hero is still a hero.

Sign of times
It swings back and forth, complexity and simplicity. In times that are good, people are laizes faire, in times that are rough, they want a sense of control. In areas of great data supply we want to be able to make sense of it all, where as in area's where there little data around people want to be able to visualize a better ending, not worry about the pitfalls of how to get there. Not yet anyway.

Would be interesting to see what the top American shows around the world are, and to compare them to the feeling about the future in countries around the world.
I would not be surprised to see a correlation between optimism + lack of data and a need for result shows (like top gun and rambo, which are still huge movies in eastern Europe) and on the other side pessimism + data overload and a need for process shows. If anyone has some is more then welcome.

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