Trying to Figure Out If It’s Shitty or Not

Frank Chimero:

It irks me that we’re throwing around the word “timeless” all willy-nilly. At this point, “timeless” is hyperbole for something with a shelf-life of a couple years. This bag of Doritos? Timeless.

Our sense of time is all out of whack. When people link to older blog posts and articles, they’ll maybe call it “timeless” or say some other inane thing like, “Old, but good!” Two years old isn’t old! A two-year-old can’t even wipe his own ass.

Let me let you in on a little secret: if you are hearing about something old, it is almost certainly good. Why? Because nobody wants to talk about shitty old stuff, but lots of people still talk about shitty new stuff, because they are still trying to figure out if it is shitty or not. The past wasn’t better, we just forgot about all the shitty shit.

I think about this a lot: How even the best pieces of prose, just because they happen to be placed in a format called “blog,” lose so much of their perceived value mere hours after they’re posted. We need more ways of sifting the evergreen, quality material from the cloud of fleeting stuff.

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5 thoughts on “Trying to Figure Out If It’s Shitty or Not

  1. I can’t agree with his “almost certainly good” because it works the other way, too—there are a lot of old things that survived the ages for other reasons than greatness and now we impute greatness onto them just because they’re old. Or, even for a lot of the things that are great, we overlook how the filter of past prejudices shaped our current beliefs about greatness, and we forget what other great things we must have lost due to those prejudices. It seems greatness is whatever manages to keep flattering the people in power.

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  2. Faster, more efficient sifting methods for such sifting would still seem an improvement.
    Contrariwise, one of the things time tends to sift out is faster, more efficient sifting algorithms….

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  3. Agree – you hear a lot of people saying that music was better in [insert whichever decade corresponded with the speaker’s teens], and yet, not so.
    There is a show on Radio 2 in the UK that picks a year and then plays the top ten from the equivalent weekend in that year. Some of the songs are gold and have stood the test of time. Most of it is craaaaaaaap.
    The first song I ever heard on there was The Four Seasons’ “Sherry”. OH DEAR GOD WHY ARE MY EARS BLEEDING

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