Friday, May 24, 2013

Death by Nostalgia: but only after filing all the forms

Almost a decade ago Frank Zappa predicted the work ending in paperwork and nostalgia.  The short form of the quote is often sited (below highlighted in orange), but here is the longer version.
The really big news of the eighties is the stampede to regurgitate mildly camouflaged musical styles of previous decades, in ever-shrinking cycles of 'nostalgia.'
     (It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice-there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia. When you compute the length of time between THE EVENT and THE NOSTALGIA FOR THE EVENT, the span seems to be about a year less in each cycle.  Eventually within the next quarter of a century, the nostalgia cycles will be so close together that people will not be able to take a step without being nostalgic for the one they just took.  A that point, everything stops.  Death by Nostalgia.) Frank Zappa, The Real Frank Zappa Book, Touchstone, 1990, p 203
There is still a little time to run on his prediction, but we seem to have defeated the Doom Loop* of nostalgia.  Now we simply 'tweet' our every walking step, or at least half formed thought.  Granted the tweeting and re-tweeting do seem to be somewhat of a stasis type situation, but as long as we can multi task while we tweet, we seem able to stumble along. 
On the paperwork issue, it is a little less clear
The effort needed to comply with federal bureaucracy now has a number. According to new government estimates released this week, Americans spent 8.8 billion hours filling out government forms in fiscal 2010. …In all, the paperwork burden has increased by around 19% over the past decade, up from 7.4 billion hours in fiscal 2000, the White House Office of Management and Budget said (from WSJ via here circa September 2011).
This is talking about the Bush-Obama onslaught before Obamacare has really kicked in.
* Here, "a virtueless circle representative of a deteriorating condition".  

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