Other Ten Percent 10/28/11

Oct 28 2011

So I’ve pretty much decided we’re done here. Not like this is the last OTP or anything but this is going to stop being where I’m focusing my attention in the near future. “shutting down” OTP is going to be a two step process that will be pretty much as follows:

1) I figure out a way to duplicate the “here are great links” part of this in a much more low effort format. In the long term this will probably involve hooking things in to Google Reader and automating a hell of a lot of this. In the short term this may involve just throwing some links at you and copy/pasting a few relevant quotes.

2) The long-form commentary stuff about pop culture moves to places with a larger readership and (fingers crossed) where people pay me money for writing words. Did you know that people do that? It somehow didn’t occur to me despite the fact that I’m getting paid to write words five days a week. Point is I’ll have more time and be able to say more interesting things about pop culture if I do freelance stories for money than if I try to fit OTP in around a 40 hour a week job and a bunch of freelance projects. These interesting things I say will then be chipped away at by editors who I will quietly resent for correcting my embarrassingly common spelling/grammar mistakes and for formatting my stories to make them logical to people who HAVEN’T spent years talking to me. Overall net win for everybody is what I’m saying here. I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated from OTP when I write stuff you guys should read.

It’s becoming obvious talking to people over the last few days that the larger argument I wanted to make around 2 Broke Girls is kinda too large to contain in a Justice album review. Especially since I kinda still want to think on the new Justice album a bit more before I give my thoughts. (short version is that its a solid B, maybe a B- and you should probably listen to it but that doesn’t hit on the theoretical stuff.)

I just did some quick back of the envelope calculations and if I averaged about 700 words on these over the past two and a half years, which seems pretty reasonable, then the collected length of OTP is somewhere around 430,000 words. Thats the length of ten novels. Ten, fairly short, weirdly disjointed novels about architecture and Augmented Reality and being inappropriately delighted by robots and kittens.

Its weird thinking way back to before I even started doing this that OTP was supposed to be about the death of criticism, in an age when you could steal any music you had even the slightest desire to listen to, when pirating TV is faster than actually watching it the idea of the “tastemaker” seemed, at least to me in 2009, pretty stupid. Somehow a project that was supposed to be me identifying the few things you really needed to know as quickly as possible turned into this.

Which is all a complicated way of saying that criticism is weird and more necessary that I gave it credit for when I started all of this. Not because we need somebody to tell us what to like, that was probably never something criticism was all that good at. I think instead that criticism can be a weird form of therapy. I don’t mean for the writer (though, to be honest here I think its pretty fair to say OTP had days that were weirdly psychologically revealing) but for society at large.

If my argument about 2 Broke Girls and the one you haven’t heard yet about Justice and really my arguments in general about culture for the last few months are all taken together you start seeing a picture of how criticism is, without even realizing it, reflecting things about the zeitgeist better than culture itself. I’m either in a particularly bad mood without even noticing it or its been kind of an off year for culture. Nothing on TV has blown me away, no album I’ve listened to has seemed like the kind of thing that’ll be in my greatest hits list in 5 years. I’ve basically stopped buying comics and there are only 3-4 titles I actually miss from that decision. But MAN has it been a good year for criticism. It’s 11:57 so I can’t dig out as many links as I’d like to but just swing by the AV club and read a few things. Maybe google up some of Chuck Klosterman’s recent stuff.

I’m obviously not going to stop talking about music and tv and comics and movies and blah blah blah but lets take a little time over the next week or two while I’m figuring stuff out to talk about all the conversations going on around that stuff.


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