The digital revolution and the Internet
By the same token, modern-day, “high” pomo is largely a by-product of the digital age of the latter part of the 20th century which followed fast on the heels of the modern, electronic age of the first half. By this time, even the poorest modern family had a television and a stereo system. The remote control, cable TV, CDs and DVDs, TiVo, the iPod, and last but not least the personal computer gave the consumer more and more personal control over what portions of the cultural marketplace he or she chose to “consume,” as well as in what order or permutation, and mass marketing technologies gave one an embarrassment of riches to choose from.
From the 1940s to the '60s and beyond, “high” art took a back seat to “low”/popular culture, and the critic’s voice was often drowned out when a box office hit could survive even the most scathing of critics. The Beatles, Andy Warhol, graffiti art, rap poetry, tacky Japanese horror flicks, and romance novels thrived due to overwhelming popular, if not always critical, demand. And our pomo culture is an omnivorous beast—just as we have an unlimited choice of cuisines from haute French to McDonalds, each individual can devour both low culture and high alike in one sitting—perhaps an appetizer of Godilla vs. Mothra followed by a main entrée of The 400 Blows - depending on individual appetites and media availability.
The latter, in turn, is now limited only by the vagaries of technological glitches and personal preference—one’s computer crashes, there’s “nothing” on TV, the video store didn’t have the movie one coveted, one wants to stay home and veg out on Saturday night. But as the technology continues to refine itself, these obstacles become more and more infrequent. Computer technology is now much more bug-proof, and one can always put on a DVD if nothing’s on cable or have a movie and dinner delivered courtesy of Netflix and the local pizzeria's website without leaving one’s couch.
In fact, we have become so “at one” with our technologies that we are dependent on them in the same measure as we now take their presence for granted. A blackout can induce near-psychosis due to “sensory deprivation;” lost files can mean one has to start one’s novel over from scratch; and any interruption or slowdown of internet accessibility can paralyze a corporation or an individual in a flash.
The “death” of the “Artist”