There’s just too much of everything. There are too many different Oreos. 65 flavours in 8 years is too many. Too many Hot Chicken Wing Oreos, Waffle & Syrup Oreos, Jelly Donut Oreos, Supreme Oreos. There’s too much content that appears different but is the same. Too many identities are available to us. Too many manias. Too many hysterias. Examine nearly any aspect of society and you can see it’s gone too far. The reason so many flavours of Oreos are invented, according to the cookie’s brand director, is that this overabundance of choice reminds us of and drives us back to the original. It reminds us of how much we like the old Oreo, the Platonic ideal of the Oreos of childhood, the Proustian Oreo with the glass of cold milk. When there’s too much of everything however, at some point the original is lost, the memory is lost, and all that remains are faded, flat, hollowed-out derivatives.
“Never try to convey your idea to the audience - it is a thankless and senseless task. Show them life, and they’ll find within themselves the means to assess and appreciate it.” ― Andrei Tarkovsky
“You have learnt something. That always feels at first as if you had lost something.”
— George Bernard Shaw
But as those cultural products move across the internet, they get farther and farther away from their original context and meaning and often become collapsed under the simplistic label of "youth culture." This isn't as democratizing as it seems. Apps like TikTok and its spiritual predecessor Vine not only encourage the performance of Black culture by non-Black teens, but incentivize it with real money to be made. It used to just be financially viable for pop stars to perform Blackness. Now, it presents an opportunity to non-Black teens everywhere.
The most important issue in the transition from a literacy-based culture to a digital one is whether the time- and cognitive-resource-demanding requirements of the deep reading processes will be lost or atrophied in a culture whose principal mediums advantage speed, multitasking, and the continuous processing of the ever-present next piece of information.
Wolf, Maryanne. Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century (The Literary Agenda) (p. 155). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.