Heather Havrilesky is writing here about Battlestar Galactica, about which I do not share the fascination, but her introductory remarks may be worth pondering regardless:
‘I hate hearing, “I liked their early stuff the best.” Even if it’s true, there’s something about that sentiment that’s just so overused and predictable. “Of course you liked early R.E.M. best,” I want to say. “You were 17 years old and drunk on tequila and in love with a girl who didn’t know you existed, and ‘Harbor Coat’ summed up your melancholy mood like it was written just for you.”
The truth is, we all loved early U2 and early Genesis and early “SNL” and early “Sopranos” and early reality TV and the first season of “Lost” and early Modest Mouse and some of the first webzines and the first days of Burning Man (before it got so popular) and John McEnroe (before he was everywhere) and the Dead (before the frat boys caught on) and weed (when it was cheap, remember the dime bag?) and early David Foster Wallace and early Dan Clowes and early This American Life and early Spy magazine and early, early, early, early to the party, not late! Not like everyone else, the herds, the masses! I knew about it all first, I was there, goddamn it, I was right there, discovering it. Just me, me, me!
But you weren’t alone, sugar plum. We were all there. We all liked the same crap, and then we didn’t like the stuff that came after that. And then we got fat and our hair started falling out and our backs started to hurt and we didn’t like anything at all anymore.’
…and, if you’re not there yet, take it to heart because you will be.
By the way, I beg to differ. I didn’t like the same crap, Heather. It is even more hip not to turn your nose up at things you and your crowd used to like but not to care for them in the first place. Things I never ever liked, even in their early days, include: Genesis, SNL, and especially reality TV and This American Life (and how could you forget Dave Eggers?) … And should I boast that I haven’t even heard of Dan Clowes. (You’re right about the Dead, though; I was as fanatic as they came, and I can’t listen to nearly anything past ’78.)
This is only peripherally related, I suspect, but writers on creativity have distinguished immature and mature varieties; immature creativity being brash and bold, energetic and iconoclastic, while mature creativity is more sober, reflective, integrative and synthetic. Psychologists have studied what makes some creative geniuses peak early and others continue to age constructively. As a culture, we increasingly favor the former and ignore, if not spurn, the latter (as our society does with the wisdom of age in general). I suspect the crowd-pleasers are largely of the brash variety. (It is sort of like drinking some Gallo to get smashed out of your mind as contrasted to appreciating a fine Medoc, isn’t it?)
via I Like to Watch, Salon Arts & Entertainment.