Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania and at-length Swarm interviewee, has written a devil of an essay for Slate, musing on the dangers of the current moment’s comfort and embrace of what he dubs recreativity. It goes a little something like this:
As much as it is propaganda in favor of underachievement, recreativity is also, I suspect, a form of solace: reassuring balm for the anxiety of overinfluence, the creeping fear that one might not have anything of one’s own to offer. The achievements of a great composer or a great band (such as Led Zeppelin, a target of Everything Is A Remix’s Kirby Ferguson) seem less imposing if you can point to their debts and derivations. Part of the appeal of standing on the shoulders of giants is that it makes the giants seem smaller.