Dec 24, 2016

The 21st century hasn’t started yet


Alan Moore: [...] The thing is, counter cultures are assimilated by the prevailing culture, but obviously if you assimilate anything, if you eat anything, it’s going to have an effect upon you, and if you can make a counter culture that is either toxic enough or psychedelic enough, then the prevailing culture is going to be altered by ingesting it. And I think this is the way that culture works, this is the way it changes, and renews itself.

I would say that where we are now, 2016, is more or less where were in 1916. At that juncture of the 20th century, the modern world was about to happen. There was the First World War, arguably the first modern war, where you had prototypical tanks alongside bows and arrows. In Lost Girls, me and Melinda incorporated Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring which was completely changing our perception of music, at the same time Einstein was completely changing our perception of physics, you had the modernist writers starting around then, Eliot writing about a broken country during World War 1, Joyce – all of these people, they emerged around then. I would hope that there is where we are in our current culture because it seems to me, that after skipping hurriedly through the 1950s, 60s and 70s, with our automotive tail fins that looked like rocket ships, with our science fiction, we were kind of hurrying through those decades trying to get to this promised, Jetsons future and then, around 1990-95, when the internet was starting to become a reality, we suddenly realised that we had arrived, and this was now the future and we froze.

As a culture, we froze, we had no idea what would be appropriate to this new era that we found ourselves on the brink of. So culturally, we decided, it seems to me, to mark time. We marched upon the spot. We started recycling the culture of the previous era that we were most comfortable with. Obviously that’s a sweeping generalization, there’s always committed artists and musicians and writers who are trying to break into new territory, of course there are, but the dominant mainstream of culture seems to be paralysed and anxiously repeating itself because it can’t think of what else to do; it can’t think of a culture that would be adequate to this new century.

I’d say that in cultural terms, the 21st century hasn’t started yet. We are hopefully seeing its beginnings in this current period of turbulence that we’re going through, just as they were going through a considerable period of turbulence a century ago.
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[The complete interview is available here]

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