New York magazine is looking for things—things that are New. For the "All New" issue! Because now that Obama has been elected, everything is New. They're looking for anything New, from architecture to food to music—"the idea," they write in an email to contacts, "is that we're heading into a new era with an opportunity for new thinking and new ways of doing things." Similar emails are circulating from at least two other magazines. And these desperate trend-chasers have unwittingly struck on an important question: Has our national craving for the Next New Thing now surpassed the supply of actual Next New Things? The answer is yes, but that doesn't mean that America will give up on the search for What's Next any time soon. There are a lot of suckers in America. Including all of us, at some point. Magazines know this. They've been selling purported access to the Next Big Thing for years—Wired and Popular Mechanics show you the next big technology, The Fader shows you the next big band, Vice shows you the next big drug. But now the counterculture, very broadly speaking—which is to say, everything that everybody who considers themselves cooler than mainstream Middle America considers cool—is becoming the mainstream culture. People are trusting the fucking government. Lots of people, therefore, imagine that we're about to enter into a new version of the 1960s, a flowering of idealism and rich cultural growth, in which the liberal cool people win. More likely: we're about to enter another iteration of the 1970s. The economy is terrible. Cultural idealism that isn't underpinned by financial means quickly crumbles into bitterness. The next big thing will be hating the rich—the heroes of the past two decades. Culturally, Obama isn't our JFK. He's our Jimmy Carter. He may turn out to be a much more successful president than Carter was, but don't be surprised if he's overwhelmed by reality. Expect ridiculous fads to catch on quicker than ever amongst a populace desperate for something cool to cling to. Guns and religion were for the Bushies; Obamamaniacs will be clinging to....whatever New York magazine tells them to. [Pic via]
Date: Sun, Nov 16, 2008 at 6:04 PM Subject: All New: call for ideas Hello everyone, We're planning an issue for January called the All New issue. It will be pegged to the Obama inauguration, and the idea is that we're heading into a new era with an opportunity for new thinking and new ways of doing things. We're looking for suggestions in all categories: the most interesting new people and ideas in science, medicine, economics, education, business, film, television, art, books, music, architecture, fashion, sports, food. The actor or author making a phenomenal debut; the gadget that will change the way we do things; the policy wonk with a new plan for tackling homelessness; the new ingredient that's showing up on restaurant menus; pharmaceutical breakthroughs; new trends in fashion... The only requirement is that it has to be—new. The issue is coming up quickly, so please send your ideas by November 26.