a brief history of boredom (the 70s to the 90s)

In this section from Gary Indiana’s Do Everything in the Dark, the narrator-as-culture-critic once again surfaces, with Indiana’s customary brilliance at identifying the essential details of an era…


Boredom can be viewed as a kind of fossil fuel, poured into inertia and ignited with fabulous results, but I am skeptical of this view, which reeks of unempirical optimism. We were ex­cited for a while by drugs and sex, sometimes by escape from stultifying provincial childhoods, by ideological manias that were in the wind, by Che Guevara and Mao’s Little Red Book, by Rolfing massage and Maharishi meditation, by rock and roll, pun, rock, hip-hop, marketing brainstorms, junk bonds, liver transplants, by ever-refined electronic gadgets that seemed to afford some control over the gathering chaos. But eventually ever thing new became a short-lived palliative for the fatal gash of boredom. We began manufacturing problems that sounded deeper, worthier of analysis, than the Oblomov syndrome pro­duced by getting older in an age when everybody had seen too much by the time they were thirty-five.