Notes from the Cultural Treadmill

As regular readers may have noticed I have great respect for (and even greater fascination with) the views of MIT prof and culture boffin Grant McCracken on most subjects other than Yale.

So of course I pay attention when Prof. McCracken writes of the new OK Go video that You have to see this video,

It’s not like anything I have ever seen before. It is astonishing, in a very low key, very low tech, utterly wacky, entirely brilliant way.

…What new developments in contemporary culture does this portent? It’s kind of like syncronized swimming without the swimming? Rock and roll has always made a near fetish of being more rough than ready, more chaotic than formed. And this most be one of the reasons this video is such arresting (and arrested), so genre busting, so sincere on the one hand, so ridiculous on the other.

Judge for yourself. For me, it’s not the greatest video, although it does look like an impressive exercise routine. Admittedly, the Rockettes and synchronized swimming always left me cold too.

On reflection, I guess I’m impressed they did it in one long take, but only in a dog-on-hind legs kind of a way.

Obligatory disclaimer: My wife, the international finance law professor, wishes it known that Prof. McCracken is right and I’m wrong.

Update: Showing again that the time between ‘net fame and traditional MSM adoption is shrinking quickly, I just read that OK Go performed on the MTV Video Music Awards show last night. So it looks like MTV agrees with McCracken too… (Not that OK Go actually got an award.)

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4 Responses to Notes from the Cultural Treadmill

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    There is a Lego version here.

  2. Mojo says:

    Somehow they have that little touch of brilliance (and the willingness to commit to something which is more likely than not to go horribly wrong) that turns the intentionally lame into art. Their routines remind me of Napoleon Dynamite’s talent show performance.

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