Monday, June 30, 2014
You Would Think Seinfeld Was Still Culturally Relevant
If you're New York Magazine, everything that matters to you can be compared to Seinfeld. It's as if the show still had some cultural significance. It's as if it actually mattered. It's as if it wasn't just an exercise in self-centered nothingness.
While browsing their site, I noticed two stories from two different writers that referenced Seinfeld.
Really? How'd you pull that off?
It's a no-brainer. The readers of New York Magazine have spent the last sixteen years lamenting the fact that Seinfeld is off the air. Boo hoo. At what point does the nostalgia give way to the reality that Lena Dunham isn't interesting and that the culture is all but bankrupt because you can't make money on television showing the rest of America or minorities?
I've never understood the appeal of the show. It was a show that automatically excluded large segments of the American population. If you didn't live in New York and have a lot of money, forget about being "in" on what the show was really about, which was using phony social markers to exclude others. Few television shows in American history have been as successful while having absolutely no diversity or inclusion.
Watching Seinfeld meant that the bi-coastal dominance of programs that focused on New Yorkers and Californians would continue well into the present day. Nobody gives a shit about anyone from anywhere that isn't one of those two places. It was a little like how people in the south keep voting Republican and how their own situation never changes--voting against your economic self interest is about as smart as thinking that Seinfeld was a show that someone from rural Indiana could relate to. There are social situations where exposing someone else's choices are hilariously funny. After a while, how can you keep going to that well?
The overwhelming majority of America is broke, under-employed, rural, and fed lies about what matters. You would think someone would mine that for laughs but it's so much easier to come up with another show about smartassed rich people who live in Manhattan. That's what people want to see.
It's 2014. Seinfeld left the air in 1998. And there's no shortage of writers who keep using it as a cultural touchstone. I guess it works if people want it to. As soon as I see someone compare the economy to Seinfeld, I roll my eyes and move on without clicking on that bait.