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A meditation on scenesterism and human beings as art.

nonlocal

TRIBE Member
There was a great article in the March issue of Harper's written by Bill Wasik, the inventor of the flashmob. I just noticed that it was posted on their website, and thought I would share the link. Those of you who think this post is too long already probably don't need to bother making the jump, but there are some nice observations on the nature of 'scenes' (and their co-optation by corporate advertisers) that may be of interest to many here.

http://harpers.org/MyCrowd.html

Perhaps this is the explanation for Fusion Flash Concerts, an otherwise inexplicable marketing program this past summer in which Ford, attempting to sell a new sedan to the underthirty- five market, partnered with Sony to appropriate what may be the most forgettable hipster fad of the past five years. That fad is the “flash mob,” which, according to a definition hastily added in 2004 to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a public gathering of complete strangers, organized via the Internet or mobile phone, who perform a pointless act and then disperse again.” In fact the flash mob, which dates back only to June 2003, had almost entirely died out by that same winter, despite its having spread during those few months to all the world's continents save Antarctica. Not only was the flash mob a vacuous fad; it was, in its very form (pointless aggregation and then dispersal), intended as a metaphor for the hollow hipster culture that spawned it.

I know this because I happen to have been the flash mob's inventor.
 

basilisk

TRIBE Member
I always wondered what the appeal of flash mobs were, and now I gather they were conceived to demonstrate people are stupid. We need more stuff like this, clearly.

-10 points for an ugly word like "scenesterism" in your thread title; you made baby jesus cry.
 

nonlocal

TRIBE Member
Maybe it was all just part of my plan to demonstrate that the thread was stupid.

I love the FAQ from the first email:

Q. Why should I want to join an inexplicable mob?
A. Tons of other people are doing it.
 

supakeli

TRIBE Member
I dunno, I think its all in good fun.

Better than watching a "Everybody loves Raymond" episode anyhow.

*shrug*
 

basilisk

TRIBE Member
That's okay, I can appreciate self-referential stupidity. I also enjoy posting tremendously underwhelming stuff around here. Anyway, I guess the next level of social engineering for Mr. Clever over here is flash mobs for suicide bombers. Haha. Think of the article you could write about that one. "I just wanted to point out how inherently destructive modern society can be to the psyche of the artist".
 
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Sunshyne Jones

TRIBE Member
basilisk said:
I always wondered what the appeal of flash mobs were, and now I gather they were conceived to demonstrate people are stupid. We need more stuff like this, clearly.
maybe they demonstrate that people can be brought together for a common purpose?
 
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nonlocal

TRIBE Member
-10 pts for referencing Seinfeld instead of the Simpsons. Come on now.

Seinfeld--though it is typically credited as such--wasn't so much about nothing as it was about small talk and superficiality. The flash mob is/was the kind of nothing "where even the darkness is something to see." Sure, the events themselves were hollow and willfully meaningless; it doesn't necessarily follow that the whole experiment was.

Nevertheless, I'll underwhelm you no longer.
 

Booty Bits

TRIBE Member
basilisk said:
Can you rephrase that in the format "_____ called, they want their _____ back"?
bahahaha

so...question:
would a subway party be considered a flash mob? like, a bunch of strangers show up on the same subway car and throw an impromptu party for the duration of the morning rush... does that count? or does that require too much preplanning?
 

basilisk

TRIBE Member
I wouldn't think so, because subway parties serve a much more practical and worthwhile purpose - having fun and making use of public space in a positive and exciting way! Flash mobs are more about pseudo-intellectual manipulation of your fellow human being to make them out to be chumps.
 
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