Everything is the New Something

Ever since “borrowing” a Netflix password from my family awhile back, I’ve been riding the online streaming wave. My couch has even formed a wonderfully comfortable groove and my knowledge of classic television has grown exponentially.

  Let's do this!

Let's do this!

Until recently, this knowledge has been limited to shows that have only previously aired. New shows must still be watched at the molasses-slow-speed of a weekly schedule. Leaving me biting my nails each week, waiting to figure out what will happen to Walter White.

  He uses his drug money to buy a nice new pair of slacks..

He uses his drug money to buy a nice new pair of slacks..

But thanks to, Ted Sarandos, we've been let in on Netflix's not-so-secret plan to take over the world, or at least TV Land.

“The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”

  Bring it on!

Bring it on!

Yes! Netflix is finally giving me some original content to binge-watch all in one weekend.

Next episode? You betcha!

Their most recent release, "Orange is the New Black", brings together good looking actresses, a lesbian back-story, prison and Jenji Cohan. What could ruin that?

  Oh, right...Jason Biggs.

Oh, right...Jason Biggs.

But even Pie-boy couldn't ruin the success of yet another brilliant release from the minds, and viewer data, at Netflix. This lead to the newspapers hitting the racks, (or online-readers), and announcing to the world that Netflix is the New HBO!

And here is where I start to wonder...

Beyond the obvious laziness of using the name of the show to describe the success of the 'network', it also might not be right. (Though I can appreciate the "say-it-enough-times-and-it-becomes-truth" approach.)

The fact is that Netflix doesn't offer viewership numbers, HBO's Game of Thrones has 5.4 million viewers and AMC just had the biggest TV ratings with 5.9 million viewers during this season's pilot. How can you possibly jump to this as the end-all conclusion? (Maybe that's why journalists also title their articles with a question mark...)

But I'm willing to bet, that back when HBO came out, everyone was up-in-arms saying it was the new Cable TV. But the truth is, all of these things are just variants of each other, each with completely different models, failures and successes.  

  Remember when Quickster was the new Netflix?

Remember when Quickster was the new Netflix?

But this goes beyond "Orange is the New Black", and beyond lazy journalism even. It seeps into the mindset of our culture.  

  • 30 is the new 20
  • 40 is the new 30
  • 50 is the new 40

According to the transitive property, that must mean that I’ll be ripping shots at the HanggeUppe in my 50’s, arguing that last call doesn’t happen for another hour because of daylight savings and they don’t know how to tell time!

  ...they just don't get it.

 ...they just don't get it.

So, after hearing that "50 is the new puberty" for the 30th time this month, I wanted to take a step back and figure out what the deal was with this phrase.

The New Black

"_____ is the new black" is an expression used to indicate the sudden popularity or versatility of an idea at the expense of the popularity of a second idea. 

Known as a "snowclone", or a lazy journalistic cliché, according to Geoffrey K. Pullum, this phrase is basically a shoe-in for anyone trying to hit their deadline and head home to watch more Netflix at the end of a long day. 

It’s our Mad-Lib. Our quick quote. Our way of saying that what we are doing is cool. In the least cool-way possible

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Much like Raj's view on using stronger language, I am challenging us to stop thinking of the world in therms of x is the new y. To start thinking about the relationships between the parts, rather than one eliminating the other.

Let's eliminate the thought that phases in our lives are disconnected. The High School era, the College era, my 20's, my 30's, my 40's...retirement. These are all constructs putting limits on our abilities. Mental barriers stopping us from doing things, only because we think they are things we can't do.

To believe that 40 is the new 30, is to accept you've lost the ability to do something due to an arbitrary age. To look forward to retirement is to not enjoy the life you are currently, right now, in the process of living.

So stop getting caught in these "phases of life". Understand that it is all just one big journey. One long story, to be continued.

Tomorrow is not the new today. It is just tomorrow.

  That is, until tomorrow comes around. Then I guess it becomes today. But by that time, there will be a new tomorrow. Until that becomes today...

That is, until tomorrow comes around. Then I guess it becomes today. But by that time, there will be a new tomorrow. Until that becomes today...

When everything is the new something, nothing is new. The options are right in front of you. Choose the world you want to live in.  

A Netflix World - streaming life right to your face, non-stop until you reach the end. 

Or an HBO World - waiting around for next week's milestone, biting your nails in anticipation for what comes next.