The Pinnacle of Flatness

Maybe it’s just me, but everything is starting to look the same.

Not just look, but sound and feel the same as well.

Kind of weird lament from the guy who just warned against excessive individualism, but hear me out.

This thought struck me as I was driving with the family last weekend, and my wife and I got to talking about what kind of car we might buy next. Looking around the highway, seeing the vehicles on the road, and comparing them to what we already had, I shrugged my shoulders and thought, “What’s the difference?”

I know what you car-types are thinking now: There are huge differences in engines and transmissions and overall quality and so on. But I’m talking from a design and aesthetics perspective, because these things do matter.

Extrapolate this line of thinking to cities and towns the world over. I’m sure you’ve noticed that Toronto looks like London looks like Los Angeles looks like Berlin, and so on. Not identical, but close enough. Modern architecture is but one way in which ideas of design seem to be converting on something universal…and kind of beige.

And then there’s urban sprawl and the explosion of squat, concrete strip malls, fast-food joints and gas stations, and big box stores everywhere. It seems like that’s all some towns are.

And this, of course, goes for the arts as well. Movies all feel the same, screenwriting formulae aside. Music, books, television shows, education, pop culture…the list goes on.

Is this just where things always lead? Is there an “ultimate design” that we as human beings have finally reached? Or is it the natural consequence of a society that embraces Adam Smith’s “capitalism” while rejecting the “guided by moral principles” part of the equation?

In other words, is function driving this sameness, or is commerce? Or is something else? Continue reading “The Pinnacle of Flatness”

Leave Sgt. Pepper Alone…For Civilization

With all the stupidity in America, you’d think there’d be no shortage of writing material. And you’d be right! While I never wanted this blog to be one of those things that just reacts to current events, some things are just too important not to be addressed. 

Things like The Beatles.

Check out this recent beauty from Salon:

Here, Amanda Marcotee uses the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album to blame men for…something. 

I mean, look at this: 

“…and that wasn’t a good thing.”

“…serious fare for serious guys.”

You can hear the condescension. And it’s insulting to men and women. 

First they came for video games, and I didn’t say anything. 

Then they came for comic books, and I didn’t say anything. 

But now they’ve come for The Beatles, and it’s on

It’s The Beatles. They were not only talented composers and brilliant performers, but they aimed for the cheap seats. Their intended audience was Earth. How can one be so deluded as to think there are no hardcore female Beatles fans, or rock fans in general?

Oh. The author is Amanda Marcotte. 

This is all so dumb. According to the zeitgeist (German for: “collective insanity”), men have had it too good for too long and now they’ve got to pay. 

Forget that nearly everyone likes The Beatles. 

Forget that rock and pop as we know it wouldn’t be what it is, for better or for worse, without The Beatles. 

Forget that The Beatles made music for men and women alike. 

Forget that there are hundred of artists pre- and post-Sgt. Pepper that appeal primarily to women. 

Forget that it’s The friggin’ Beatles we’re talking about here.  Continue reading “Leave Sgt. Pepper Alone…For Civilization”