Monday, June 25, 2012

Cybertime and Mad Men

            The concept of cybertime is such an integral part of our thoroughly computerized world and it’s amazing that the concept is not paid more attention. While one might have been able to find respite from the digital world 10 or 15 years ago, the digital “frontier” has absorbed our current world like a tidal wave. With this intensified wave of digital technology, the issues about cybertime become increasingly relevant.
            The tribalism and breakdown in meaning that follows increased digitization can be seen in the fandom of AMC hit show Mad Men. With a guise of authenticity (people drank and cheated a lot in the 60s), the show is entry point for many people into the increasingly distant world of the early 60s and it’s tumults. The adventures of the show’s banal lead man Don Draper, with a few references to the cultural changes of the era, become the organizing people around which people discuss the 60s on the Internet. This trend of otherwise disposable entertainment being dressed up in facsimile history is quite popular, with shows such as The Tudors, The Borgias, Spartacus, and arguably Game of Thrones dominating the On Demand/Netflix medium. While we may try to strike a balance on the positives and negatives of cybertime, certain material realities and social trends push us ever close to Frederic Jameson's idea that our modern world is one characterized by meaningless schizophrenic digital consumption.

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