The "Wait But Why" of Pop Culture
Introducing the next iteration of Fanfare
There is a brief scene in The Morning Show (Apple TV) that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I saw it over a year ago. Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) is a newscaster eerily reminiscent of Matt Lauer. His gross behavior sees him removed from the morning news program he starred on for 20 years. (None of this is a spoiler, btw.)
At some point in season one, Mitch reflects on his career and comes to the realization that he has left nothing of lasting value. Nobody will remember any of the thousands of broadcasts he starred in. People won’t watch footage of old shows the way they return to movies or books. It will be as though he was never even there.
Or, as Rutger Hauer famously ad libbed in the 1982 film Blade Runner, “All those moments will be lost in time, like… tears in rain.”
As much as I enjoy writing weird stories about Star Wars, they are, by their very nature, disposable. That's okay to a point. Skittles have zero nutritional value; you eat them because they're delicious. But you can’t survive on Skittles alone. And nobody ever thinks, “Man, that bag of Skittles I ate in 2019 was really good.” Be honest: can you even remember the last time you tasted the rainbow?
Where else can you find a newsletter that brings together The Morning Show, Blade Runner, and Skittles into one cohesive analogy?
This all ties into a thesis I have been quietly nurturing the last couple of years. If I can continue talking about one of my favorite candies… the vast majority of online writing is like Skittles: colorful, often tasty, ultimately forgettable. I am by no means exempt from this. My time writing (mostly listicles) for pop culture outlets has only made me more aware of how interchangeable most of the articles are. As editor of Fanfare, I publish over 1000 stories every year; it’s rare that a story sticks in my mind even days later. I’m not trying to besmirch anyone—fun and light pop culture articles are my bag; or, to quote a memorable 80s infomercial: “I’m not only the Hair Club President, I’m also a client.”
All of this has been on my mind as I’ve pondered Fanfare’s future. I’ve had the ambition to grow beyond Medium for some time, but I don’t want to try competing with the IGNs of the world on news and reviews. That’s a sucker’s bet. And, quite frankly, that type of content doesn’t age well.
Which brings me, finally, to allthefanfare.com.
Fanfare will continue to exist as-is on Medium. I’m going to publish an article on Medium for that crowd, but I think it’s worth briefly mentioning since a number of you followed me here from Medium. There’s no reason both sites can’t co-exist. And, in, fact, I think one can support the other.
Though I don’t mention it in the announcement article, it’s my hope that I can run All the Fanfare as a business, which means commissioning pieces from other writers. It seems to me that Fanfare can be a great talent pool for All the Fanfare. That’s all far down the line, but it’s something I’m keeping in mind as I build this out.
Speaking of which: I will be sharing weekly updates on this newsletter. I’m planning on talking about every part of the process: building the site, picking the domain, SEO, money, etc. I’ve built a few web sites but never anything this intentionally or commercially. Should be a fun learning experience.
Questions / comments—let me know! Thanks for your support. :D