Selected Media Fads Through the Ages

Von Willendorf venus statue, circa 24,000 bce

24,000-22,000 BC: chunky fertility goddess statues (pictured at right: notice the prominent and large brains.)

10,000 BC: cave painting

4,000 BC: ziggurat construction

3,000-1,250 BC: pyramid raising (later revived by Mesoamericans and I.M. Pei)

1480-1700: Witch burning

1500s: homoerotic sonnet writing

1600s: pirate singing

1700s: pamphleteering

1760-1762: spreading syphilis

1790s: opera

1800s: novel-writing

1900-1914: being optimistic about the future

1919-1922: cutting up pieces of paper and pulling them out of a hat, also, painting

1925: jazz music

1927: soap-based radio

1933: burning books (mostly in Germany)

1951: find-the-commie (kind of like peek-a-boo, but with Senators)

1964: screaming (usually Beatle-related)

1966: TV

1976: disco

1977: DIY pet rocks

1982-1988: taking odds on Reagan-related nuclear holocaust

1987-1997: making answering machine messages (see below)

1998: web sites about your cat

1999: cappuccino drinking (related to dot-com bubble)

2000: looking forward to the future (this didn’t last as long as the previous fad in this genre)

2003: Friendster

2004-2005: blogging

2006: MySpace

2007: Facebook

April 2008: Twitter

2009 (Jan.-Aug): talking/writing/broadcasting about Twitter in MSM.

2009, Sep. 15: Blogging (again, briefly, but only about Dan Brown’s latest “masterstroke of storytelling”

2010 (Jan.-Feb.):getting really excited about the release of the iPad.

2010 (Mar.): trying to remember what all the fuss about the iPad was all about.

2010: “winning

2011: pretending the British Royal family is important

2012: posting pictures of every frickin’ meal on Instagram

2013: twerking

2014: “binge-watching” TV

And yes, Answering machine messages was the most important creative outlet of the nineties!

YouTube Preview Image

Video here if it doesn’t beep.

Alltop and enjoys their Bebo. From my collection, Pirate Therapy and Other Cures. Originally published in 2010, and updated!

Writing: driving you slowly mad

This is an image of The Isolator, purportedly invented by Hugo Gernsback the science fiction pioneer, and clearly, loon.

I haven’t dug into this, so it’s possible this is a hoax, but at the source website, this madness is taken at face value:

The “Isolator” is designed to help focus the mind when reading or writing, not only by by eliminating all outside noise, but also by allowing just one line of text to be seen at a time through a horizontal slit. via A Great Disorder

As the author at A Great Disorder points out, this “solution” for the problem of distractions perhaps takes the solution a little too far. Only allowing the author to see through one tiny slit seems especially mental. Particularly for those of us who, in the 21st century, have atrophied memories, and are incapable of keeping the previous line in our head. How can we maintain paragraph continuity, let alone the continuity of an entire novel?

I imagine The Isolator is the perfect piece of equipment if you want to write some kind of dadaist masterpiece.

Or, if you suffer from even minor claustrophobia, a complete breakdown.

On the other hand, the air supply arrangement does offer certain possibilities…

Alltop has one of these in its bedroom. Originally published October, 2011.

A writer writes

writing with giant pencil

Ignatius was working. That was the first rule for writers. It wasn’t about the tools, his teachers had said, back in school. It was about discipline. Work.

A writer must write, even if, as Thomas Mann said: “A writer is someone for whom writing is harder than for other people.”

Of course, he might find a pen somewhat less of a challenge than the over-sized novelty pencil. And he’d heard great things about something called a word processor. Maybe regular-sized paper?

No! he thought. It’s not about the tools.

Another tiny sheet of paper ripped apart, unable to withstand Ignatius’s impatience and the giant pencil. He sighed, and started his to do list again.

Alltop does not know this “pencil” Ingatius speaks of. Photo by Natalie Down.

Ad hominem rules for writing

old-fashioned typewriter hammers

  1. drooling pinheads open their stories with the weather, or a prologue
  2. the passive voice is used by fatuous knobs
  3. corpulent prose-pederasts use a verb other than “said” to carry dialog
  4. (and only a complete asshole would use an adverb to modify “said”)
  5. total wankers use parenthesis
  6. pedantic drudges use jargon instead of everyday English words
  7. mindless hacks and cheese-eaters use clichés
  8. vacuous scribblers and moral degenerates have a “style”
  9. only a massive wanker writes for any other reason than love
  10. self-important plodders have rules
Alltop writes for the laughs, which is a form of love, surely? Bonus points if you can spot the rules broken in this post! Old timey typewriter by César Esparza Bertuline.