Monday, June 29, 2009

Cultural Movements and Social Trends

Recently, I have been reflecting upon my role in several recent cultural movements. To be more precise, I have noted that my involvement seems to signal the relative success of the particular movement. I recognize that this is a heavily anthropic observation, but then the beauty of the anthropic principle is that it requires self-reflection by definition.

I won’t make a detailed history of this, but here are the broad strokes. As a gamer, I have enjoyed the ongoing development and mainstream acceptance of role-playing games. I participated in the popularization of Japanese animation in the West and thus the renewed interest in all forms of cinematic animation. In a small way, I also helped bring about the current renaissance in Western swordsmanship and sword making. Most recently, I have become an active participant in the right-to-arms movement, now entering a revolutionary stage in the United States.

While none of these movements have attained complete cultural normalization, all have made great strides in that direction. I also cannot definitively say that my participation has been a factor in their successes. However, I can say that, so far, my involvement is indicative of impending success, which brings us back to the anthropic principle.

Speaking more broadly, I also find myself part of various social trends. These differ from cultural movements in that they generally lack group cohesion and internal organization, but they can be very significant nonetheless. I’ve written about some of these in the past, including the ongoing information revolution and the new baby boom. Another example is the increasing numbers of interracial marriages and families. Here, I have my Chinese-Indonesian wife and our beautifully mixed daughter, and there are at least three other similar families in our small neighborhood.

My Daughter and Me
All of this leads me to wonder about the future. In this era of rapid social and cultural change, what will happen next? Will my wandering attention predict success or failure?

Well, that’s enough self-aggrandizement for one day.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I said that I would try to be less stubborn about new information technology, so I’ve finally joined a social-networking site. That is Facebook in this case, since some folks have been pestering me with invitations, and I see that many of my friends and family have already joined.

What’s this all about? The idea is to make finding and connecting with friends and associates easier. Of course, anyone looking for me can find me with any search engine.

Nevertheless, I’ll give this social-networking business a try, though I can’t imagine using Facebook as much more than a pointer to my more formal on-line endeavors. Time will tell.