I like to think it’s all for the best. The bleeding edge of culture only exists because it constantly needs to keep moving further out, more quickly, creatively and excruciatingly than before. I still like the term “ascending authority,” because although it’s been attributed to this big climactic power shift which is a false construct, the word “ascending” implies a sort of discreet and infinite continuous crawl, which feels more accurate. Because this is the thing about “youth audiences” and “tastemakers” and “subcultures,” for all the buzzwords and adspend and data and digital strategies, as much as established authorities and systems will always inevitably co-opt, appropriate and monetize their trends and tastes. They move fast. It’s an endless cycle but the more interesting, ascending, challenging cultural spaces and stories are swallowed up by the existing structure, the more there will always have to be something even newer, younger, fresher, stranger, more stimulating, more marginal to keep moving onto.
As much as we hype it, there is no big new structural revolution that’s suddenly happening to culture because of millennials, smartphones and the internet. But cool weird creative kids never needed one, they were the revolution. They still are. Variables may change, but the struggle stays infinite.