Before the modern Internet, lots of media was "rare" -- bootleg recordings, strange videos, obscure bands -- but today, nothing is rare. As a consequence, Rex Sorgatz argues, the social capital that comes from having an encyclopedic knowledge of some band's b-sides has been greatly diminished, and the Comic Book Guy school of know-it-all-ism has transformed itself into the nitpicking commentariat.
More? Nearly 5 million people have heard Bob Marley opine “No Woman No Cry” (“version rare”), while a bit of conspiratorial Area 51 footage (“RARE,” of course) has racked up 1.5 million views. And some Woody Allen standup from 1965 (excitedly: “RARE!”) has garnered a half-million views, while double that number have endured a Marlon Brando screentest (prosaically: “Rare”).
I’ve made my point.
“Rare” is such an quizzical descriptor, a blatant contradiction of the very nature of digital culture. Rarity describes a state of scarcity, and as we enter a proto-post-scarcity economy, digital stuff defies such shortages.
Rarity itself has become very rare.
You Need to Hear This Extremely Rare Recording [Rex Sorgatz/Medium]
The Philip K Dick Award is given to the best paperback original each year (past winners include Tim Powers’ Anubis Gates, Rudy Rucker’s Wetware, William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Meg Elison’s The Book of the Unnamed Midwife).
Ari Fararooy writes, I digitally animated my photographs from the Burning Man festival to create a surreal illustration of my experiences.
Just look at it. (Thanks, James!)
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