Maybe another question to consider is what [ROFL/meme culture] means — to consider the Web not in terms of how it might affect who we become but rather in terms of how it reflects who we are. ROFL, after all, is not a seductive theory about what enlightened things democratized culture may one day produce; it is a pervasive fact on the ground. This is how sizable chunks of our cognitive resources are actually being deployed, so it’s worth trying to figure out why that is, what functions this stuff serves and how it differs from or falls in line with more familiar forms of entertainment.
…The more traditional pundits and gurus who talk about the Internet often seem to want to draw strict boundaries between old mass-media culture and the more egalitarian forms taking shape online — and between Internet life and life in the physical world. But I wonder if the trick that converts a bus fight into hilarious entertainment for millions isn’t revealing such boundaries as false. Sometimes the pointless-seeming jokes that spring from the Web seem to be calling a bluff and showing a truth: This is what egalitarian cultural production really looks like, this is what having unbounded spaces really entails, this is what anybody-can-be-famous means, this is how the hunger for “moar” gets sated, this is what’s burbling in the hive mind’s id. But the real point is that to pretend otherwise isn’t denying the Internet — it’s denying reality. In some cases, then, maybe the payoff of ROFL isn’t just the pleasure of laughter, though that surely happens. Trickster expression, intentional or otherwise, doesn’t propose a solution but jolts you to confront some question that you might prefer to have avoided. Like what, exactly, am I laughing at?” —
Late to reading this, but really glad i did.
beneath the bombast lies a truth we wish we didn’t see.
(I appreciate the irony of meditating on this here - and it doesn’t make me feel any better)
“A smart business plan is to take a product and develop it into a brand,” says Mr. Murtha, now chief executive of the teddy bear company Gund, a division of Enesco LLC in Itasca, Ill. He recommends that Silly Bandz make more “silly” things to avoid being a one-hit wonder.
Mr. Croak is already moving in that direction, by selling Silly Necklaces and Silly Buttons.
Still, through the decades plenty of toys developed by small companies—think Pet Rocks and Pogs—became all the rage but failed to maintain long-term appeal. Kids, who determine the fate of such products, can be fickle consumers.
“In six months, a child’s view of life has changed dramatically,” says Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of WSL Marketing Inc. in New York, which conducts research on retail strategy. “For a child to be absorbed in something, that means that you need to constantly reinvent it.”” —
I don’t believe branding will change the course of silly bandz. toys with no inherent function are fated for fad-dom (we can debate what constitutes ‘function’ in another blog post). the popularity of those lucky pieces of rubber/silicon/fabric that become cultural currency burns bright and fast. but that form of value is necessarily fluid, and I’d argue definitively unsustainable.
love stuff like this.
We finished swimming and decided to grab some food at Punjabi, the vegetarian indian stand a few doors down from Nice Guy Eddie’s. we ate lentils and fermented vegetables over rice on a stoop facing Houston St. the sun hadn’t set yet, though where it went was a mystery. maybe behind the monstrous tower of gray apartments christened “The Ludlow” across the street. or somewhere between the bridge and the brooklyn skyline quickly fading to blue. the night air had a rare coolness to it, a delicacy usually reserved for Fall. K looked like summer though - long, cut off shorts, a wifebeater, streaks of dirt (from softball practice) across the front. his hair was sticky like a little kid’s after recess. D was sunburnt in a bad way but didn’t seem to mind. his focus was on the yogurt and chickpeas he was shoveling into his mouth with sustained fervor. they seemed content; filled with cheap, spicy indian food and the satisfaction of a good deal gotten.
i was wearing a one-piece bathing suit that made me feel old. i had decided sometime that summer that I was of the age and weight where 1 piece bathing suits were no longer out of the question. I stared at the neon Katz sign illuminating the other side of the street, trying to remember the first time I had eaten at the legendary deli, realizing i wasn’t sure if I had, hating myself for not knowing. i eventually resigned to the fact that I had no recollection one way or the other and there was nothing i could do about it. we watched people walk by in small packs - suit types in soccer gear, taxi drivers in ethnic regalia, beautiful girls speaking unidentifiable languages, happy young people, angry old ones. we took our time because our time was for the taking. the last spoonfuls of our well-earned 4 dollar dinners went down slowly, in between grunts of pleasure mixed with a prescient wistfulness for a damn good meal soon over. when we finished, we basked a while in the night, so ordinary by most standards, and waited for our cue to go home.