Young folks’ identities are much less obvious than they were in the prefabricated groups made so recognizable in the Breakfast Club. The jocks moonlight in hipster-wear. The preps are drowning in 80’s fashion. They are the product of all that media fragmentation we’ve been yammering about for a decade.
As Grant McCracken said in his fantastic book Chief Culture Officer, “Kids do not have multiple memberships so much as multiple selves. They are many people bundled into one. And now we can’t tell very much from the way they dress.”
And with this shift – our cultural devices are reflective of this splintering identity.
Brian Eno said in Prospect Magazine, “Go into a record shop and look at the dividers used to separate music into different categories. There used to be about a dozen: rock, jazz, ethnic, and so on. Now there are almost as many dividers as there are records, and they keep proliferating.”
The result of all this fragmentation combined with increasingly more effective filters has been a growing chasm between opposing viewpoints. The right and left, Christians and the Agnostic, Rural and Urban, all living in totally different worlds of their own confirmational creation.
But there’s hope in culture, mostly because these fragments aren’t linear. They don’t always cut only down obvious lines. And so we’re seeing our cultural outputs being mixed and remixed until it becomes difficult to tell where one thing starts and another begins.
What’s happening isn’t just an ironic combination of things that at first chance quickly revert back to what they were before. We’ll be left with something refreshingly new and far more interesting.
Bullworth said it best, “All we need is a voluntary, free spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin' everybody til they're all the same color.”
Well, not exactly what I was saying, but close enough to get an Amen, brother.