The Null Device


The future is already here: it's just not evenly distributed: Companies have been hiring the service of cool hunters , who are sort of like upmarket yuppie anthropologists, to tell them what the trendy urban hipsters are doing, thinking and identifying with; the theory being that the twitchily hip urban fads of today will be the next big hit of tomorrow's mainstream; a view Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point put forward.

When not receiving facials or having their toes dipped in Bollinger Grande Cuvée, trendsetting teens claim to be experimenting with digital filmmaking, vintage computers and "geometric prints from the '60s and '70s." Mainstream teens say they're having sex, "rolling up my jeans" and "going to college." Asked about the "newest thing your friends are doing," the mainstreamers, in a sudden burst of Eisenhower-era conformity retrograde even by their standards, cited "getting married," "working on cars" and "going to nudie bars." Trendier types mentioned "freestyling" and "drunk bowling."

The cool-hunting consultancies, of course, charge hefty fees for these vital tips. (An annual subscription to the L Report will set you back $30k.) Mind you, they're now discovering a corollary to the Tipping Point hypothesis; namely, that most cutting-edge trends are too rarefied to trickle down to suburban mainstream consumers to the point of being marketable; leading to missteps such as marketing guarana-laced soft drinks and male makeup kits to the Wal-Mart crowd, with predictably underwhelming results. (via rebecca's pocket)

anthropology avant-garde cool cool hunters culture fashion hipsters mainstream marketing society trends 0

Fairly rude, though funny: Find the apricot. (via NtK)


Welcome to the Digital Millennium: Recording industry cops are raiding Taiwanese university dorms, looking for students who copy MP3 files, with the intent of prosecuting them for ruinous punitive damages, to set an example. Meanwhile, students have taken to physically destroying hard drives or carrying their loot on removable discs. (Perhaps the time is right for some cypherpunk scofflaw to create a crypto-enabled MP3 player, one which makes it impossible to identify MP3 files without having the key? Of course, given the way governments have bent over to their corporate paymasters, possession of such an item would probably count as proof of guilt in the New World Order.)