We forget ‘seminal’ albums and TV shows months after consuming them, and the mega-famous have to resort to ruses to get our attention – has streaming destroyed the mainstream?
It’s that time in the decade when people like me – professional monitors of mass culture – look back at the preceding 10 years and try to make sense of it. Give it a shape. Problem is, I’m finding that it all feels a bit foggy and formless. The chronology of the 2010s is jumbled and indistinct, its peaks and landmarks hard to pinpoint.
Without consulting end-of-year lists, I’m not even sure I could tell you what came out in the 2010s and in what sequence. All that remains are faint after-images of things that were utterly absorbing at the time of listening or watching, but seemed swiftly to vanish into the void of the recent past. I binged my way avidly through shows such as *** Education or BoJack Horseman or Atlanta, then promptly forgot their very existence, until the startling reminder of a new season being announced. There is always something new to watch, after all: an endless, relentless wave of pleasures lined up in the infinite Netflix queue.
Overload and isolation: the decade that warped popular culture