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The Dawn of a New Era
I'm in the lab leaking knowledge
A few weeks ago, I successfully completed what we in the business call “The Biden Bang-Bang.” I watched the Super Bowl, and then a couple days later, I caught the re-release of Titanic in 3D. Statistically, more people in America did these two things that week than any other combination of two things that week. Just based on the numbers and pure, sound mathematics.
Last week, I pulled off a minor bang-bang: I attended a screening of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, alone, on a Tuesday night, and then got some fast food. (I’m a freshly stamped Regal Unlimited member, so this softened the blow to my moral constitution a bit.) Again, this is likely what many people did with their lives in the past two weeks.
I’m doing my part, team. I’m engaging with the monoculture. No one else is picking up the slack. Hundreds of years ago when Game of Thrones ended, America’s podcast hosts proclaimed the death of the monoculture, long before people wrung their hands over the death of the English major in legacy magazines run by English majors.
I think assuming people will read novels now is dumb and naive. No one wants to read novels anymore. There are times I actively choose to watch YouTube Shorts cooking videos with my hand lightly resting in my sweatpants, all while my eyes flicker back and forth to a weeknight game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets on NBATV, and I love reading novels.
The coolest thing that could happen in the 1800s (I’m assuming) was waiting for the next Dickens chapter in a periodical. You and your boys, drenched head to toe in soot, would pull up to the chippy shop with the latest copy, starved for something to fire the synapses in your dumb, stupid, idiotic pre-technological revolution brains, and let your imaginations go hogwild when our man describes Lucie Manette. Now, after seeing Michael Douglas’s scintillating turn as a guy who sticks his hands in some jelly for most of the runtime in the one of the worst fucking movies I’ve ever seen, America waits with bated breath for 2024’s Thunderbolts, featuring “Bucky Barnes, Ghost, U.S. Agent, Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Yelena Belova, Red Guardian, and Taskmaster,” the famous characters we’ve all loved for so long. In between, we can order Crunchwrap Supremes in our #KiaFortes and text our friends if they watched the latest episode of The Last of Us, and when they say, “not yet,” we can say, “pretty solid stuff, lmk when u watch.”
We need some new candidates for a monoculture, as well as imagined, straw-man reactionary stances to those candidates. Sure, the next big thing could be a movie or a TV show or an album or sports or a video game or a podcast or even a book (lol), but what about an entirely new medium? What would that look like? Here are some ideas I have.
Global Pandemics (Covid)
I guess this counts. Covid is a monoculture of sorts. Everyone’s always talking about Covid. People are always texting each other about Covid. “Tested positive” this, “potentially exposed last night lol so come at your own risk” that—you know, stuff like that. There’s a shared language around Covid now that is inescapable, exhausting, and in dire need of a refresh (what if we started saying somethign like, Ahh I can’t come, just went Covid Mode, sorry :/). And the fact that we found out this week that the homies in Wuhan cooked it up special in the lab for everyone to enjoy? That’s special. That makes it Monoculture.
Reactionary Stance: The cool take to have on Global Pandemics being a monoculture would be to not get sick, I think. Like, “It’s lame as fuck to get sick and suffer symptoms that temporarily weaken your critical functions, and instead you should focus on not doing that.” Something like that.
It would be kind of tight if everyone just started roiding out. Or growing all their hair out. Or getting derma-filler injections for their genitals. Or anything else you want to do with your body, really. This is maybe problematic, though, especially now that we are all prostrate in full deference to the Pagan Lord Ozempicwegovymounjaro.
Reactionary Stance: Hmmm. Chewing on this one. I guess the hipster thing to do would be, like, to not modify your body in an outrageous, unnatural way. Seems tame.
Fragrances (Santa Maria Novella Burning Papers)
Imagine how fucking sick it would be if everyone was going around using their Carta d’Armenia Burning Papers from Santa Maria Novella, so that when they needed a quick pop of a soothing scent, as well as the base, erotic pleasure of lighting something on fire, all it took was the strike of a match. That’s a Monoculture right there.
Reactionary Stance: Smelling like doo-doo!
You know, 300-400 years ago, this probably could be classified as a monoculture. Having some black tea with milk and sugar—God, there’s nothing better. Fuck coffee. Join me, let’s make it right, let’s go back to the good old days (British Empire).
Reactionary Stance: You would think it would be coffee, but actually I think the coolest stance to adopt would be to go No Liquids Mode. Just swear yourself to solid foods, nothing more. You could say cool things like, “My only States that Matter: Solid and Gas.” Kind of convincing myself on this one.
I think we should have a dominant race, gender, and sexuality each, and we all text each other and write articles about and make media for and talk about these main ones all the time, so that we have a Monoculture for Race, Gender, and Sexuality.
Reactionary Stance: The cool thing to do would be to identify as not one of these, simply as a reactionary pose, and not for any other reasons whatsoever.
We should be growing this crop and no other crops!