Most Generation Fickle

“What’s The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt like?” my boyfriend asked me last weekend.

“I watched one episode a month or so ago and quite liked it”, I replied, having stumbled onto it “but mine was quite a mild reaction compared to that across the Atlantic. Everyone went really bats about it being this quirky new Netflix series. Then everyone sort of went off it. Supposedly because a plastic surgeon called Dr Brandt recently committed suicide, in part due to a charicature on TUKS called Dr Franff, undeniably based on him. But I don’t really think that’s specifically why the audience wavered. I think that people want to think they’re making a moral point – but actually, they just got inexplicably bored.”

Said he: “That’s fairly damning, if the character was based on him. But I agree with you that if it wasn’t that, it would have been something else. It doesn’t take much, nowadays. It’s basically impossible to waver from brilliance, in popular culture now. There’s no margin for error. You make one bad episode, or one bad decision – and you’re on the way out.”

To quote unqouote said boyfriend masquerading as Carrie Bradshaw (in his own words “I completely lack the discipline to be a writer” but that doesn’t mean I don’t use him to fill my own verbal void) – “is loyalty defunct in our society?”

Short answer: yes. Long answer: yes. I say this as a character of indiscriminate loyalty. It’s bordering on a parody itself. I’m like a Labrador; stroke my tail and I’ll stay with you – your bad jokes and your out-of-date TV preferences – for life. But these are sad times for labradors like me – for we live in a fickle society, during a fickle age. The sway of popular culture is instant, like a giant wave that appears out of nowhere and takes everyone with it, before receding back again leaving former idols and gadgets washed up, along a sort of beach non-grata, like sandy detritus.

There’s still independent thought – of course; though one wonders how much – but there are also fads, comically transient in their stronghold. We don’t just ‘like’ something (well we do, but only when we can double-tap it) we become bug-eyed in its thrall, or, rather, LIT-rully ob-suhssed. In no particular order, these recent fads include: House of Cards, spirulizers, Game of Thrones, Self Portrait dresses, kale, Gone Girl (followed by Before I Go To Sleep and now Girl On A Train); Lupita; Stan Smiths (by way of Free Runs); clean-eating; the button-down denim skirt; Kendall; finger tatts; Tulum; side-boob; Taylor; Jawbones; Kate Upton (now Gigi Hadid); Poldark; Ryan Gosling; BorrowMyDoggy; chia seeds; hashtags; boot camps (Barry’s or otherwise) and loom bands. If one’s operating on a time-poor scale, which is better? True Detective or Mad Men? Hot yoga or barre core? HELP, PEOPLE, I DON’T HAVE A CLUE OR THE FUCKING TIME TO TRY THEM ALL OUT. We’re worse than 10-year-old children: then Tamagotchis and Pogs; and now, Rainbow Pen Aqua Beads and Frozen.

One minute The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s the schidt, the next we’re over it, raving all about The Affair (V.G.) and how no-one whose anyone spirulizes anymore. It’s not just pop culture – the nano-marriage is definitely a C21st ‘thing’ as are NBFs that are dumped without ceremony 6 months later – though that’s certainly the driving force. Personally, I don’t see myself ever going off the comedy phallic cucumber wand you’re left with at the end – but then that’s me, the off-trend labrador. I’ll still be wearing my vintage suede next season (considering I’ve been wearing it for the past eight) and I’m still plodding through The Good Wife with quiet contentment. Popular culture is now a rat-race: we are saturated by choice, worn thin by trendy obligations. It has become reduced to a tick-box listicle of visual obligations, which you must tick to pass Go.

All it takes is one metaphorical damp squib, or soggy biscuit – a bad episode, a poor tune, a bad spate of weather, a lame movie, or a loose thread – and the fad is down the crapper in an already crapulous cycle of consumption. I implore [berate, with baton] you to hold dear to you what you love. Who cares if Enid Blyton is commonly now known as a child-hating lesbian witch – where once she was the godmother of kid-lit? She’ll still be the defining character in my book-heavy childhood. Ditto, Nigella – you can keep your clean-eating wunderkinds, delicious as they sound, for I will always worship at the altar of bread and baked goods. So hold these things dear to you, my little friends — because no-one else shall hold them for you.

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