Opinion - Drowning in the Stream

Nate McKenzie has an opinion about people having to "have an opinion" on all things pop culture. He's drowning in the stream ...


That's how it feels trying to keep up with all of the entertainment content we have within our grasp in 2019. Finish a show, talk about it for five minutes, start the next one. Keep up with your friends, keep up with family. Know all of the tidbits and Easter eggs of each Cinematic Universe so you can impress strangers on the internet to earn their fleeting respect and fake internet points. Mainlining Quality Content, like Alex being subjected to the Ludovico Technique in A Clockwork Orange. Violence was the point in that scenario; a drug. The drug in our scenario is even more addictive: the feeling of superiority.

I know more about superheroes than all of my friends – I am the alpha-beta-gamma male!
The entirety of Doctor Who is inside my brain. Be impressed!
Horror Queen of Halloween, I am! Bow to me!

We crave those feelings. Begging for attention with obscure references, boasting our rarest pop-culture iconography with in-your-face neon lights to announce the weight of our opinions. Momentarily lifted to an elevated position in the hierarchy of our social circle.

But to what end?

There is no end. That is the point.

We are consumers and the content providers have figured out exactly how to get us hooked, keep us addicted, and provided us with the easiest possible ways to consume their products with online streaming. Know what else streams? Liquid heroin from a depressed plunger as the syringe sprays the drug directly into your vein. And now you’re hooked.

I no longer try to keep up. Tell me about a show you like, and I’ll forget it within five minutes. Probably before you finish the sentence. Opinions mean nothing to me; discovery is my goal. If they told Edmund Hillary to climb Mt. Everest he would have hunted in the Australian Outback instead. Everyone is a “writer” now. Everyone thinks they have something witty and ingenious to say about a movie. That’s not even the problem. The problem is that everyone thinks they have the linguistic chops, insight into film, or deft skill with a keyboard to enlighten the masses with their sophomoric critiques. No one is immune. I had no intention of seeing The Joker until a friend described the movie in a unique way to me. I suddenly wanted to see the film as soon as possible. He didn’t write a blog about how it’s the greatest movie in film history, declaring Joaquin Phoenix the god-king of acting in the cathedral of Hollywood. No, we had a conversation at a bar while playing pool. He didn’t try to convince me to see the movie, he just shared his thoughts. And the thing that convinced me the most was his enthusiasm for movies in general. I share that enthusiasm. The culture of hipster hate on Twitter and throughout the internet has blanketed pop-culture with a brackish haze, creating an Extremely Online Bog of Eternal Stench. “The only way out is through”. Unfortunately, the haze is unyielding; it’s picking up momentum and the only real way out is to rise above.

Enjoy what you enjoy. Ignore everything else. But be sure to tell me about your new favorite show so I can add it to my list.

Follow Nate on Twitter @thoughtsinnate

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