Fifteen years ago, the main problem a lover of music— or film, or television, or other varieties of pop culture— would experience was scarcity. It took money to get hold of the stuff, and if you liked anything weird, it took effort, too. As a result, the default mode was to like what you could. In fact, the best way to demonstrate to others that you cared and were discerning about music was to like things— to have enjoyed exploring all these realms that took some effort to get to.
Over the past decade and a half, this situation seems to have reversed. The problem people talk about now is not scarcity but glut: a glut of music available to consume, a glut of media to tell you about it, a glut of things that desperately want your attention. Somewhere along the way, the default mode has taken a hard shift in the direction of showing your discernment by not liking things— by seeing through the hype and feeling superior to whatever you’re being told about in a given week. Give it the attention it wants, but in the negative.
This extends far outside of music. There’s an entire Arch Snarky Commenter persona people now rush to adopt, in which they read things on the Internet and then compete to most effectively roll their eyes at it. And there’s nothing inherently terrible about that; a lot of the phenomena we read about every day can afford that kind of skepticism.
It’s interesting, though, just how overclocked a bullshit detector can get— to the point where we’re verging on a kind of paranoia about things that are, in the end, mostly trying to offer us pleasure.
— “Why We Fight No. 15,” Nitsuh Abebe. Pitchfork