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Old 06-12-2005, 03:04 AM   #1
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Is America culturally relevant anymore?

Last five or ten years? Are we producing much of anything that is cutting edge, provocative, intelligent, original that isn't indie and/or animated?

Not so much of a criticism as a question. I don't watch much TV and I hardly ever go to the movies. But just by following other media, it seems that most of the tv shows are really insipid sitcoms or reality tv that is voyeuristic, cheap to produce (therefore cost effective) and eliminates the need for writers. (Where are the writers?). Mainstream movies are sequels or remakes of movies or tv shows that don't need to be remade. We don't have musicians as much as we have pop creations.

I haven't seen any interesting new writers with prolific potential (ie lots of thick, well-written, character and theme driven, makes you think novels) popping up. My favorite living writers are getting old now and when they kick it, I'm hard pressed to replace them.

(Can't afford Broadway, so can't tell you what is going on there)

Where are the writers? Where are the creative forces? Unless I'm wrong, the last really creative burst we had was in Seattle in the nineties

I know all the reasons for the decline. I'm just hoping I'm missing something out there. Can anybody point me in a new direction?
Or does the culture just continue to decline because we don't have the attention span to bother with it anymore? Are we too dumbed down?

(We had a high school student working for us who was moaning about the difficulty she was having getting through "Animal Farm."--"Animal Farm?")
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Old 06-12-2005, 03:07 AM   #2
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Note: Acknowledgment that above is a generalization.
We have created a few good things recently. It's just that we don't seem to be having a very creative period and I don't see one coming up.
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Old 06-12-2005, 05:17 AM   #3
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I think that at any point in time, you have the ratio of roughly 1:9 as far as good stuff vs. crap goes. It's just that, as time goes by, people forget the rubbish and only remember the good stuff.

Anyway, should a culture be judged by its mainstream alone? Or are indie movies or music somehow not "culturally relevant"?
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Old 06-12-2005, 05:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Saracene
I think that at any point in time, you have the ratio of roughly 1:9 as far as good stuff vs. crap goes. It's just that, as time goes by, people forget the rubbish and only remember the good stuff.

Anyway, should a culture be judged by its mainstream alone? Or are indie movies or music somehow not "culturally relevant"?
I like indie. I'm just saying it doesn't generally get enough attention to define the culture.
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Old 06-12-2005, 05:24 AM   #5
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I'd say without a doubt that America's cultural relevance is still as strong as ever. Whether it is quality could probably be debated, but it is certainly there. I was at the cinema tonight, and waiting in the foyer looking at the posters for what was new, and again waiting for the movie to start while the previews rolled, I wondered if creativity was just about exhausted. I agree with your observations on remakes, there's so many of them. The rest seem tired old ideas just rehashed with even more emphasis on glitzy effects. Television is more of the same. I think I'll crawl into a corner rocking in the fetal position if the small screen is inflicted with yet another reality programme. Haven't we had enough? Aren't the makers of television bored with it yet? Are people still watching it? If so, why??? We need mindless crap as much as we need good quality intellectual thought provoking media. It needs to be a blend. Not this saturation of certain genre. I think we're inbetween momentums at the moment. Or at least, I hope we are. Hopefully nearly everyone will cringe and say "remember when reality tv was everywhere? how bad was it!" and we will laugh and be thankful it is over. Something new will need to take it's place. The remakes at the cinema will be replaced once creativity has renewed itself. There'll be another Titanic of similar proportions, once someone writes a good enough story. It will outgross the old, and we'll all say "Wow! Look at how this sunk Titanic!" and other such bad puns. But hopefully it will happen. We cannot let crimes such as Stealth and other equally bloody horrible movies rule for too long.

I wont even start on music, lol.
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Old 06-12-2005, 05:39 AM   #6
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Good points. I never watch TV and the movies haven't attracted me in ages. I don't think we're impressing the world in a way that we did maybe twenty years ago.
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Old 06-12-2005, 06:27 AM   #7
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The problem is it is all about money now. Culture and creativity are not as important as the kind of car you drive, the size of your bank account, and how you look. It does not pay to be genuinely creative.
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Old 06-12-2005, 08:34 AM   #8
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new tv shows in the fall line up:

tommy lee goes to college
who wants to be a hilton? (hosted by paris' mother)

it seems that idiocy is the new black.
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Old 06-12-2005, 09:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by dandy
new tv shows in the fall line up:

tommy lee goes to college
who wants to be a hilton? (hosted by paris' mother)

it seems that idiocy is the new black.
The Hiltons . This is what is wrong with America.
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Old 06-12-2005, 09:51 AM   #10
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You have to love who we are supposed to aspire to.
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Old 06-12-2005, 10:00 AM   #11
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Yeah, it's safe to say we suck.
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Old 06-12-2005, 10:08 AM   #12
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Reality TV, it is to be remembered, was pioneered by Europe. Most of our "reality TV" is co-produced with UK production companies that usually created these shows originally.

American media, however, is still very globally dominant, solely because it has the money to do so. Plus, let's face it...a lot of people actually want to watch it.

I'd say that American creativity, as a whole, has been in decline since the late 1970s onward. But our cultural dominance is still more than assured.

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Old 06-12-2005, 10:38 AM   #13
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It's so nice to know even our crap isn't original.

Correction accepted. Is America creatively relevant?
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Old 06-12-2005, 11:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Maggie1
The problem is it is all about money now. Culture and creativity are not as important as the kind of car you drive, the size of your bank account, and how you look. It does not pay to be genuinely creative.
Amen. As a visual artist, I have to compete with corporate garbage day in, day out. I do manage to sell my stuff. I'm lucky enough to be associated with some really smart business people who get my stuff sold. Not everyone is so lucky.
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Old 06-12-2005, 11:11 AM   #15
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US shows like Seinfeld, Curb your Enthusiasm, the Simpsons,etc are both commercially successful and intelligent. In general, I prefer US comedy shows to British comedy, in recent years.

Melon is correct as regards the reality based shows - they started in Britain.

US mainstream pop music has become too dumbed down in recent years -however the pendulum swings back and forth on that one.
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