Date written: January 17th, 2022

If you looked at a picture or video of the 20th century, you could probably guess which decade it was taken or filmed. Each decade had a pretty distinct look and style that felt much different from only 10 years prior. The 1950's was completely different from the 1970's, and the 1970's was completely different from the 1990's. Most aspects of pop culture appeared to change at much faster rate last century compared to our current one.

It's now the 21st century and with every year that goes by, things continue to look the same. Apart from faster technology, it's as if we've been stuck in the mid 2000's. Looking at the biggest movies that have come out over the last 10 years, a pretty big portion of them are sequels, remakes or related to existing franchises. Reading a list of the 50 top grossing movies of the 2010's, I counted 3 movies that weren't based on existing media properties, most of the list being dominated by disney and marvel movies. Hollywood has always been driven by money, and the fact is that it's a lot less of a financial risk to release something that people recognize than something thats far more original.

Popular music isn't much better off in terms of originality. Over time pop music has become less complex, more repetitive, and less dynamic, and maybe this is a subjective opinion but pop music hasn't really changed much at all in the last decade. However, looking past the top charts, there are many new, original artists out there that have popped up over the past few years. It turns out there's a lot of original stuff still being made, but very little of it breaks into the mainstream. Pretty much all the originality, and innovative media that has been made since 2010 came out of internet subcultures, not the mainstream.

When the internet started to grow in popularity, it gave people a brand new platform not controlled by the handful of media conglomerates that have a monopoly on entertainment as a whole for decades. Things move fast on the internet, and trends seem to have shorter and shorter lifespans, and so not much sticks or leaves much impact in the greater cultural sphere.

The rise of the internet has greatly impacted how people consume media, and in more recent times, algorithms have effectively decided what people see and in turn what gets popular. Most media algorithms will recommend content based on whatever a user likes. Platforms like Youtube and Spotify work like this. The problem with this is that it makes it harder for people to find new content, since they're trapped in a sort of bubble or a content loop. These "predictive" algorithms aren't really predicting anything, but just repeating more of the same, in order to not risk shocking or surpising a user with something new that they might not like.

The thing that worries me most about all this is the possibility that this generation isn't going to be remembered for much, because there was nothing big or popular worth remembering. Most of what was big and popular after the year 2010 is mostly past content repackaged and reliant on nostalgia, while everything truly new and original got overshadowed, at least in the mainstream. Theres been tons of cool and unique content thats been made since the dawn of the internet, but I just hope that it will be remembered by future generations. Ideally, I would want our generation to be remembered for our original content and ideas and not for rehashes/reboots/remakes of old content.