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Tilting #199: ETEWAF

Brian Hibbs

This month’s Tilting discusses Patton Oswalt’s “ETEWAF” theory — http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30428 — I think I flesh out some of his points.

Give it a read and let me know what you think!


8 Responses to “ Tilting #199: ETEWAF ”

  1. Great column, Brian.
    Instead of ETEWAT though, in my photo printing industry presentations, I use:
    everything is avaialalbe all the time = eiaatt =eat
    “Eat” is booth easier to say and more apropos…
    Whatever you create now has to compete against not just whatever other new content comes out — but against everything else that proceeds it.
    For example: I might turn of the satellite where I have to filter and select to find good TV, as NetFlix has more good TV than I have time to watch.

  2. Excellent column, and nice to finally get a little writing around here, even if it’s a link to another site.

  3. As a parent now observing a child’s interaction with popular culture, I agree with Oswalt. Something’s changed and relative instant availability has to be a variable. At the same time, some things haven’t changed.

    One of the things that remains a constant are the metric tons of drek.

    With the intellectual equivalent of pathological hoarding manifest as a collector’s mentality, some stuff that’s best left forgotten find a home in permanent digital archival. Popular culture clearly has too much time on its hands.

    I agree that it does change the evolution of how people process pop culture. Too many choices being deleterious to development and not beneficent. The fractionalization of culture probably serves to cater to a lowest common denominator as a vernacular with the more apparent 1 Percenters glomming onto true cultural obscura.

    So the more things change, the more they do stay the same.

    For my part, it is easier than ever to create a closed-system and live in it. Instant gratification and impulse control are the watchwords. Using a local library and cutting the cord on cable television is something that’s been a way of life for the last 5 years, if not longer. In these troubled economic times supporting the arts just isn’t something that’s relevant anymore. If it goes away because of lack of support then I’m steeled to weather it. If I can’t get it for free then I don’t get it.

    Having decades of culture on backlog readily available for free only serves to preempt what was once a robust hunger for following culture in realtime. Used to be you didn’t have the option. Culture has reached a new continuum where material from the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. is happening for me at the same time as whatever is being produced now. And I find much of today’s output lacking. Or lacking in sufficient reputation anyway.

    I watched an episode of The Cape (it just happened to be on when flipping channels one night) and didn’t find it half as compelling as those DVDs of The West Wing I got from the library. (Missed West Wing first time around, looking to jump into Season Four Disc One after the fam goes to bed tonight.)

    Obviously this has become a bit of a stream of consciousness kind’ve thing but Oswalt’s essay has proven provocative and the responses seem anything but predictable. Interesting thought-piece Brian. Thanks.

  4. I like free culture too, but I’ll point out that my mother’s been getting most of her reading material from the public library for at least the past forty years — and she reads a lot. It’s always been possible; just depends on what you’re into, and how badly you want to own the materials in question.

  5. Oh, forgot to say: Very nice piece, Brian.

  6. 32 frames a second?

  7. Great piece, even though I don’t think we should be listening to someone who liked The Lightning Saga so much he a) admitted that publicly and b) actually wrote an introduction to the collection.

  8. A nice analysis of the whole “branding” thing and how it changes the way we perceive and interpret popular culture.

    There’s a corollary to ETEWAF, however. It’s that the sheer amount of pop culture being produced today is overwhelming out ability to evaluate it. Today’s comic or movie isn’t just competing with the best stuff that ever was, it’s also competing with an avalanche of stuff that’s also coming out today.


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