HOW THE INTERNET HAS RUINED JAPANESE-NAMED CATEGORIES OF NERD CULTURE: "The problem with the Internet... is that it lets anyone become otaku about anything instantly ... We're all just adding to an ever-swelling, soon-to-erupt volcano of trivia, re-contextualized and forever rebooted."
NEW (OSWALT-COINED) REPLACEMENT TERM: "Etewaf: Everything That Ever Was--Available Forever."
AND THAT'S BAD BECAUSE:
Everything we have today that's cool comes from someone wanting more of
something they loved in the past. Action figures, videogames, superhero
movies, iPods: All are continuations of a love that wanted more ... Etewaf doesn't produce a new generation of artists--just an army of sated
consumers. Why create anything new when there's a mountain of freshly
excavated pop culture to recut, repurpose, and manipulate on your
WHICH MEANS: "The coming decades--the 21st-century's '20s, '30s, and '40s--have the
potential to be one long, unbroken, recut spoof in which everything in Avatar farts while Keyboard Cat plays eerily in the background."
OH GOD, OH GOD, IS THERE NOTHING WE CAN DO? "We've got to speed up the process. We've got to stoke the volcano. We've
got to catalog, collate, and cross-pollinate. We must bring about
Etewaf, and soon."
WHAT THIS MIGHT LOOK LIKE:
We start with lists of the best lists of boobs. Every Beatles song,
along with every alternate take, along with every cover version of every
one of their songs and every alternate take of every cover version, all
on your chewing-gum-sized iPod nano. Goonies vs. Saw. Every book on
your Kindle. Every book on Kindle on every Kindle. The Human Centipede done with the cast of The Hills and directed by the Coen brothers.
WHAT EVENTUAL 'ETEWAF SINGULARITY' WILL INVOLVE:
Pop culture will become self-aware. It will happen in the A.V. Club
first: A brilliant Nathan Rabin column about the worst Turkish rip-offs
of American comic book characters will suddenly begin writing its own
comments, each a single sentence from the sequel to A Confederacy of Dunces. Then a fourth and fifth season of Arrested Development, directed by David Milch of Deadwood, will appear suddenly in the TV Shows section of iTunes.
LET'S GO AHEAD AND GET COSMIC HERE:
We'll have one minute before pop culture swells and blackens like a
rotten peach and then explodes, sending every movie, album, book, and TV
show flying away into space. Maybe tendrils and fragments of them will
attach to asteroids or plop down on ice planets light-years away. A
billion years after our sun burns out, a race of intelligent ice
crystals will build a culture based on dialog from The Princess Bride. On another planet, intelligent gas clouds will wait for the yearly passing of the 'Lebowski' comet.
MEANWHILE, ON EARTH: "All that we'll have left to work with will be a VHS copy of Zapped!, the soundtrack to The Road Warrior, and Steve Ditko's eight-issue run on Shade: The Changing Man."
IN CONCLUSION: "Etewaf now!"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.