Mongrel wrote:However, it's also worth pointing out that the following generations have produced perhaps proportionally fewer giants of art, music, public life, etc., so I think we notice it even more. The 60's were a special time in that genius fed off genius, exponentially increasing the output of the world's creatives (and a fair few non-creatives) and of the ones who followed in their immediate wake. I mean you posted the relevant F&L clip just the other day.
At some point it will all slow down again, but that's the point when we will have far fewer giants left.
I've got an instinct to agree, but I've got another instinct that says I should be skeptical of looking at the past through rose-tinted goggles.
A lot's changed since the 1960's. The music industry, content distribution, technology, even the basic notions of creation, ownership, and credit. Today's acts probably have a lot more in common with the Monkees and the Archies than the Beatles, and the biggest pop stars of the past generation were actual Mouseketeers
. We're never going to have another moment like the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. (The most significant shared cultural moment of my lifetime, and probably most people's here, is 9/11. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I'm pretty sure it means something
There are still towering geniuses out there. Perhaps fewer who meant quite so much to so many people. Douglas Adams's death wrecked me more than anybody else's ever has outside of my own family, but he wasn't a household name.
And of course of the 1960's luminaries who are still around -- they got old. Or, more to the point, past their prime. Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize is for words he wrote half a century ago. Paul McCartney's never written anything else as good as Let It Be. The ones who died young, Janis and Jimi and John, they're fixed that way in our minds forever. (Even if they may have been past their prime too -- Lennon's solo career produced exactly one song that was on par with his Beatles catalog. (But man, what a song it was.) Prince and Bowie were still doing great work but they'll always be remembered best for a certain, decades-old period in their respective careers. And I've already mentioned the nostalgia trip for Michael Jackson.)
I dunno. On some level, trying to ascribe broader cultural perspective seems like pissing in the wind; I don't really know what any of this means, especially when I start talking about what it felt like when musicians died before I was born.
It sucks, though. And it's going to suck some more.