My brother proposed a theory to me the other night on the phone. He said that the Internet had slowed cultural change. Specifically, I think he said something like, “Things haven’t changed much since 1995 when everyone got online.” His feeling was that people are spending their time on the Internet and participating in online culture, and they’re not out in the world developing new trends in fashion, music, film, etc.

You know, I felt skeptical the moment he said it, I thought–well, things are certainly different than they were in 1995. Then the last couple of days I’ve paid a little more attention to songs on the radio and to fashion in the media, on blogs, etc, and I started to question my own skepticism. Some things may be different, especially if we go back as far as 1995. But what if we consider say, just the last decade when many more people have been actively participating in online culture.

The music I was hearing called “new” and “innovative” on all of the year in review shows and new for 2010 shows on the radio didn’t sound all that “new” to me. Granted, my tastes may have changed, but I’m not saying I didn’t like the music, I just wasn’t struck with a sense of newness.

When is the last time you saw a new fashion trend that seemed really different? I know fashion is often about revisiting popular ideas of earlier times and re-invisioning them, but I was just reading a round-up of various “favorite” fashion blogs and while I liked a lot of what I saw, I was struck mostly by their sameness.

I’m not actually advocating change for change’s sake, I’m just curious–do you think that the Internet could have caused a cultural slowdown?

Cultural Slowdown?