<%@ Language=VBScript %> <%response.buffer = TRUE%> Cultural Evolution in Post-industrial Civilization
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Cultural Evolution in Post-industrial Civilization

We’re at a crossroads, and this has nothing to do with the fact that Bush is President. We are at a point as a relatively free society with nothing left to rebel against that hasn’t been rebelled against by previous generations. Corporate greed, environmental catastrophe and even The Backstreet Boys are old hat. Could a lack of rebellion mean that our culture is truly becoming a melting pot where rock stars are computer programers and visa versa.

by Drew Jaya

June.22nd.2001

One particularly relaxed evening, while channel surfing I became particularly engrossed in VH1’s myriad of pop music history programming covering the top 25 feuds in pop history and things about sex and rock 'n' roll, blah, blah blah. What was interesting was how these old pop or rock icons of the past reflected on their exploits of their younger more formative years. Fee Waybill, of legendary band The Tubes for example, talked about how in the early '70s doing shows in bondage gear or with an entire audience showing up naked to shows was considered shocking but now it’s passé.

This reminded me of all the great pop rebellion moments from rock and roll ala Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley to punk rock and performance art. Back in the days of our parents and grandparents, it was fresh, new, and exciting. Nothing had come before and nothing as has come since. The Beatles, Andy Warhol, Dadaism, JFK were all unique moments with definable key moments in civilized history that we can collectively remember in modern times. Even the Marquis De Sade is old hat even though most of mainstream Westernized culture still does not easily embrace his work.

But pop culture is for the less enlightened or baser elements of society -- at least that seems to be the case in "intellectual" circles.

As we travel through the Internet age and explosion of all things digital, it looks like the last hope for cultural salvation will be through real convergence. This will not be some hyped Silicon Valley, Wall Street friendly terminology designed to fatten investors’ portfolios but rather a transition from what used to be seen as just the domain (no pun intended) of tech geeks to a true tool for cross-cultural empowerment. Rebellion and culture are merging through the unifying force of commodity, speed, and technological change.

The maverick heroes of the future and trailblazers are not going to be Bob Dylan, Warhol, and Sid Vicious, but a strange hybrid of Basquiat, Stephen Hawking, and Mozart via Moby. The leaders of the new age whose kids will idolize the way the masses did Paul, John ,George, and Ringo in the '60s will be people fusing artistic disciplines together so seamlessly they’ll have the sex appeal mere pop icons commanded generations ago.

What if Britney Spears invented a vocal technology that encrypted her voice so that no one could sing exactly like her while she was working on those hip dance steps that make her a teen dream? What if a new generation of kids, with Internet technology at their fingertips all of the sudden really did become smarter so that they could realistically, heaven forbid, multi-task? This is happening already and it’s just a matter of time.

This is exactly how cultural evolution is taking place across all spectrums.

Gone are the days when people would limit your professional choices into narrowly defined career paths. Your either a plumber or an electrician, a singer or a waiter. The new cultural icons will truly be cross disciplined professionals. The next Michael Jackson, prince of pop might also happen to be a gifted programmer.

When American society begins to slowly unleash it’s grasp on narrow criteria for cultural profiling, then you might begin to see more of these types of artists flourish in the community. A synthesis of art, science, technology, and universal appeal. No longer just clever, underground anti-heroes’ but part of collective pop and critical culture.

Sure, the "King of Pop" didn’t spend all those countless hours learning Java Script, but dance moves. But whose to set those limitations on the oft described, and sought after Y generation? Maybe the next Steve Jobs or Dean Kamen will really be David Bowie in disguise. It may be too soon to tell, but those geeks who want Christina Aguilera to stop singing, keep the body and dance moves, and be a Stephen Hawking in disguise may one day meet their match.




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