(2017-12-01) Evans Cultural Accumulation Vs Cultural Decay

Jon Evans: Cultural accumulation vs. cultural decay

When I talk about cultural decay I’m talking about something I think we need more of.

Have you noticed that it’s a whole lot easier to make music and movies these days?

Which is great! Of course! But, curiously, at the same time, another thing is happening: art lasts longer. It’s not unusual to walk into a cafe or bar and hear songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The reasons are the same, in all cases: technology has demolished the gatekeepers of consumption in the same way it annihilated the gatekeepers of production.

As a result we no longer really have a common cultural Canon.

The net effect is that we don’t have near as many universally shared cultural references as we used to. If you wonder why our society seems to be fragmenting into so many different little fiefdoms, well, I’m not pretending that this is the only reason — but it’s a big one.

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