Oswalt laments everyone being able to find a special slice of pop-culture and learn all about it (which sounds baffling in and of itself), but what he may not realize (or choose to realize) is that, with that, comes the ability to find others interested in the same a lot easier than when he...hell, I won’t lie...we were younger. Connecting with others with the same outside-the-norm interests who also have a really hard time fitting in to “normal” society is a lot easier and goes a long way toward building some self-esteem in knowing that maybe you’re not so weird after all. By the same token, though, it’s not like fitting in is that easy. If I had a blank stare for every time I broke out a trade collection at work so I could catch up with the last few years of X-Men stories, I’d have enough to buy Marvel outright. (Although Disney would probably make me sign over my first-born to do so.)
And on a more personal note to Mr. Oswalt before I move on...”I’m not a nerd. I used to be one, back 30 years ago when nerd meant something”? First of all, if you’re not a nerd, what gives you the right to denigrate the current culture? Secondly, “when it meant something”? Because being an outcast is so much tougher in a much more politically correct environment that looks down on anything remotely differently and loves throwing around much worse words like “creepy” to describe anything they can’t understand? Wake up and smell what you’re shoveling. Not my fault that Kevin James was the breakout star of “King of Queens”. It was his show, after all.
On top of these examples, a lot of the usual “the internet made it easier for piracy to kill the music industry last year” articles made their usual rounds. Rick Carnes at the Huffington Post, however, took it a step further, declaring the recording artist dead. And I have to say here that Tim Geigner at Techdirt already has a great answer, pointing out how comparing a lot of modern acts to the Beatles is like comparing Star Wars to Battle Beyond The Stars. Aside from that, there’s only one more thing to add to that...
Has Carnes looked at the internet to find music for more than five minutes? If he had, he’d discover that hundreds of artists are using the internet to release their recordings without missing a beat. The fact that many don’t spend several thousand dollars to book time at Abbey Road is, in many cases, by choice. The technology that allows for that freedom is a blessing, not a curse. All it takes is a little effort - which, I realize, probably turns people like Carnes off to the idea because then they have to step outside the comfort zone of an iTunes or a Best Buy - and there lots of artists producing excellent music. The industry has been throwing the old model out the window for a few years now (those that have read me for a while should have known I’d be linking those!), and people like Carnes need to realize that.