influence, lost, television

Nickelodeon Encomium

What happens when people my age (28) or younger start to feel nostalgic? Some turn to the common cultural thread of television. I’ve found a handful of YouTube tributes to the cable channel Nickelodeon, which, according to a couple of these videos, enjoyed a golden era from about 1990 to 2004.

The kids born in 1990 will be starting college this year, so I’d guess some of these are a product of that cohort more than my own. Still, there are some good shows in there, and a few nods to the 1980s–which I still remember, anyway. After all, that was a decade that Nickelodeon carried shows like Mr. Wizard, Double Dare, Danger Mouse, Belle and Sebastian, The Little Prince, and You Can’t Do That on Television. (And at least one musician my age got a name out of this list.)

I think there’s one feature common to several shows that Nickelodeon broadcast that makes them worthwhile. Think of the earliest in that list: You Can’t Do That on Television. The element (and value) in subversion was a feature of these shows more than the average television fare available to young people. The existential frustration of Ren and Stimpy, the striving defiance and ingenuity in The Adventures of Pete and Pete, and the quotidian repression (and weird sexuality) of Rocko’s Modern Life–all these things were tossed into the cultural stew of the 80s and 90s and helped prepare those kids who listened for John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Arrested Development, Napoleon Dynamite, and the sensibility referred to, sometimes derisively, and, I think, not always accurately, as “quirk.”

animals, competition, photography

It appears that I need to shoot more baby animals.

Despite my best efforts, people really just want to see photographs of furry, fuzzy baby animals.

Sure, I could take a decent San Francisco picture,

or one of some people on the street,

or careless boaters with a tangled anchor,

or flying octopi.

But I woke up this Thursday morning to find that 25 people viewed the photo of a baby panda I uploaded the night before, and I didn’t even have to do anything to get them there. They just showed up. (As of this writing, it’s up to 111.)

I’m no Flickr celebrity like Thomas Hawk (whom Fleshbot and the NY Times have mentioned), so I consider myself lucky when 5 or 6 people look at a photo after I’ve told them about it or shared it on groups.

But one has to admit that Su Lin is cute, and fun to watch.

Maybe she’ll overtake Will Smith (king at 246 views as of this writing) in the top spot of Most Viewed Photo. Click on her picture to help. Could be good.