ALL TOGETHER NOW
Having a conversation about society is a little like trying to draw a picture of an object in motion. And like any true study of physics, one must take into account that we, too, are in motion. Think you understand anything about the nature of things? Think again, as we try to unlearn what we think we know. If we start by looking at things from a slightly different point of view we might find important connections that remind us, once and for all, that we are all in this together, that we live in a constant state of continuation, can’t escape our past, and understand nothing about the future. So as another year turns into the next, we thought it would be a good time to do a roundup of our essays and interviews that touched upon important ideas that might help us stop the clock, even for a second, or however long it takes to read a couple thousand words.
We have again and again spoiled the myth of American exceptionalism, looked at the origins of some of our accepted institutions, talked endlessly about societal clues in some interesting dark corners, all while painting a picture of the grand back and forth between what we call the monsters of the mainstream and the subcultures they continually inspire. Like any chemical reaction, society’s most popular home brew always causes that pesky counter reaction. We looked at the push/pull between the primitivists and the technologists, the cult of the individual in a world that only functions through meaningful cooperation, and the way counterculture movements may have failed us. We met some bikers, a few Eagles, a couple of gentlemen, and some folks down in Jacksonville, all with a particularly Culture Crush commitment to the idea of community. Through the eyes of our artists, photographers and filmmakers, we get to tell the deeper stories of those who practice what we preach.
So what have we learned from all of our prospecting? Mostly that a lot of the answers to these questions lead to discussions about aesthetics and the superficiality of our brave new world. But never mind the mainstream, because focusing too much on trends and the tyranny of algorithms leave us isolated, perplexed and without true self expression. We try to look at the world with a different focus, piecing together our humanity one story at a time. Sometimes things just don’t make sense, and that’s just fine. The background is moving, the quantum gravity is looped, space and time are relative and we cannot, as citizens, separate ourselves by painting our preferred pictures of reality, otherwise someone will be there to paint it for us, and at great cost. As we find ourselves in a dystopian present of our own making, the hard work of unlearning is ahead of us. Let's keep figuring it out together, because in the end, society isn’t our business, society is everybody’s business!
For this end of year deep cut, we’re going way deep into the origins of the Culture Crush with our founder, Debra Scherer, who recently was a guest on WFMU’s In Real Life. WFMU is the longest running freeform radio station in the United States, broadcast out of their home base full of records, dj’s, and indie vibes galore out in Jersey City. During the show, Emily and Kim talk to Debra about her 20 years at Italian, French, and American Vogue and what she took with her while developing the Culture Crush way of thinking about the world. “I was always making the connections between things. I was always just asking myself, ‘Why do things look like that?” and ‘Why is that the accepted way?’ ‘What’s the connection?’"
From the incredible people that were the inspiration for every page of the magazines to all the fascinating women she worked with in her career, Debra proves to us that the devil didn’t wear Prada, she wore whatever she wanted. And stop calling her the devil. After all, a ladies wardrobe contains all of the same cultural codes as the choice of your favorite sports team or whether you prefer gin or vodka martinis. In the end, it's all about aesthetics.
“I was so lucky from day one as I worked with so many legends. I learned so much about style and the history of style and women of society and their stories. It was so creative. I really learned everything about aesthetics working there, at Vogue.” The conversation really shows how all of her roads, fashionable or otherwise, lead to the evolution of the Culture Crush; from how we work with writers to the process of connecting the macro to the micro in our society.