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November 21st, 2013

A Hipster Before It Was Cool

So I signed on to LotRO for a bit this morning before settling down to work; new update, scrambled everything, all new skill system, etc. etc. And... meh.

But it's not LotRO, it's me.

I have, over the past I-don't-know-how-long, turned into a hipster, it seems. All these things I used to enjoy, from LotRO to Borderlands to MLP:FIM, they're too noisy now. There's too many people involved in them, too much STUFF going on around them. Somewhere along the line, the thing I was interested reached a critical mass where it turned sour, or became more work than fun, or where I just plain got all the fun I was going to get out of it. You ever go back and watch some show you loved as a little kid, but now that you're older, it just falls flat? Same kind of feeling.

I hit that point with Star Wars when the 3D-animated Clone Wars series came out. I hit that point with Star Trek somewhere around the time of Deep Space Nine or possibly the last few seasons of Next Generation when it was devolving into a soap opera in space. Usually this phenomenon is triggered by some change in the item in question, where the kernel of whatever I fell in love with gets obscured by things added on later.

Some of this is the larger cultural shift brought about by the internet, I suspect. When I was growing up, fandom stuff was obscure. Like, really obscure. As in, photocopied or hand-typed newsletters being sent around the country by snailmail obscure. When I was twelve, all the hardcore Doctor Who fans in Fairfax County could fit easily into a small meeting room at the public library (and did). Star Trek had three seasons plus an animated series, and none of us could believe that they'd actually made a movie about it.

Note that I'm not saying that was better, because it wasn't. What I'm saying is that it's what I am used to. Growing up in that environment set my comfort level.

The truth is, I'm not happy about how this has gone down. I like being a fun guy who likes things, not being a downer dude who is so over everything. But I'm not sure what to do about it. It's great to talk about "cultivating a child-like sense or wonder" or some such, but when that isn't there, faking it is not a feasible option. For now, I guess I'll just look for the next Cool Thing, while periodically going back to the core of those things that just don't do it for me any more, and see if I can find that kernel I fell in love with buried deep in all the junk that's been piled on top of it.

-The Gneech

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