Exploring the intersections of ecology, technology, and ideology: Marx, machines, Gibson, and Shanghai.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Nostalgia for Nihilism

Perhaps under the subtle influence of the use of grunge music in the promotion for upcoming network television series premieres, I netflikt Cameron Crowe’s Singles last week. It’s no surprise the soundtrack is and has always been the chief element of praise for this film; after all, if one is to remark on the acting it would have to laud Matt Dillon’s performance for carrying the rest. Eddie Vedder’s rigor-mortis cameo outshined (nice Soundgarden reference!) the leads.

Watching the celebration of contentless meaning, however, gave this Gen-X’er a burst of speculative optimism. Perhaps the resurgent presence of and interest in Nirvana, Mudhoney, and the like reveals a desire circulating today amongst those infused with popular culture for the good old near-past when things could mean nothing. The heyday created by and creating the space for deconstruction—taking the time to take time to enjoy the blur without checking out or buying in. The truly Sub-Pop days—the not-so-subtle product placement in Singles.

Grunge & the 90s scene stands as a historical span of the enjoyment of consumption infused with the Dadaistic embrace of absurd juxtaposition that carried over from 80s American culture, music, and literature. From Talking Heads videos and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet to Smells Like Teen Spirit, Cobain and River Phoenix oding, Lynch’s Lost Highway, the Circle Jerks screening footage of oral surgery on dogs on massive screens behind them as they play in downtown Seattle.

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