The End of Bling?

With reports like these about the ailing economy coming out daily, with no more lines to easy credit, and rising unemployment, when will this hit popular culture? Channels like MTV started off as an alternative to the polished world of regular TV, but now I can’t think of a channel that better epitomizes the culture of showy capitalism. Artists showing off their huge mansions, reality shows about the young, dumb, and affluent, and endless (mostly hip-hop) videos of displayed wealth. When will the culture turn? When will showing bling (usually bought on credit from the record company against future record sales) just seem, you know, icky and out of touch? When will the fans revolt?

Here’s a popular and stomach-churning example of what I’m on about.

One could argue that such songs represent dream fulfillment for their fans, much like the jet-set life of previous decade’s stars appealed to legions of folks who could and would never attain that lifestyle. But I would say the difference is that the fame that accompanied older stars was sold as a different world that surrounded the person, that they had entered this world through talent, and it was there waiting for them. Now, we see stars dressed down like you and me, but sporting expensive items, driving expensive cars, and living in expensive homes. And for a lot of the fans, that was attainable through easy credit, and so they followed. Now the fans, like a lot of the stars, are screwed. So what now?

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