I was working my way through this Substack.
If you’ve been reading, you know the drill:
I was sailing down the highway and, OMG, what was that?
There sitting right there in the middle of the road was … what?
I slowed the car.
I took a look.
Yes, it looked like an idea, alright.
But a little odd, a little little.
I couldn’t say what kind of idea it was.
Merely a metaphor? Or something more substantial?
It was kinda active.
It kept rushing around and pointing at things.
As if to say, “look, that’s me and that’s me, too! I am everywhere.”
Robust ideas like to claim they apply to everything.
The good ones are imperial.
This idea said our culture is transformed by a gravity well effect.
Things rush together and work together…as if in a gravity well.
A case in point.
Sneaker culture is a gravity well. It starts with a shoe worn by an athlete. Gradually and by stages, it draws together athletes, artists, graffiti artists, marketers, journalists, designers, artisans, retailers, painters, film makers, branders, musicians and celebrities. Worlds converge: hip hop, design, the art world, movies, streetwear, connoisseurship, fashion, luxury, spirits, public performance, graffiti, marketing, superheroes, comics, tattoos, brands. Modest objects once purchased $10 to a bag now house and sustain entire worlds. Some small part of our universe has fought off entropy.
Tilt your head. Squint your eyes. Right?
Sneaker culture made a lot of things come together.
Things come together. Then they go together. They build a gravitational field. And before you know it, many things are lining up for touch down.
More that that, these gravity wells look like a cause for optimism. This Substack is often a tale of woe, a cause for pessimism.
But the gravity well effect gives us islands of order. The Heracletian stream of change may continue to flood. But the wells hold and recruit.
I looked for more gravity wells…and found two.
The Artisanal revolution
I reached for a big picture.
Here’s what I came up with.
We are on a high precipice.
We are looking out over a vast plain.
It’s all darkness.
With a couple of beacons of light. Five or six.
Welcome to American culture.
Everywhere we look is chaotic and perplexing.
Here and there: pockets of clarity and order.
We will call these “gravity wells.”
I kept working on this idea and strictly speaking it should have been Culture Solution 013.
But the post grew and grew. Past my usual goal of a 1000 words.
Eventually it was 15,000 words.
Too long for a Substack entry.
But at 15,000 words, I thought it might make an extended essay.
So that’s how I wrote it.
Welcome to The Gravity Well Effect.
I decided to put it on Amazon.
You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BPYVL5WS/ref=sr_1_2
Or click here.
For a couple of bucks, three actually, it’s all yours.
(If you can’t afford this, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will happily send you a copy for free!)
Have a look and let me know what you think.
Thanks again for reading this Substack.
Matt, thanks, good one, use splintering also (and terrifyingly) possible. Mind you, maybe we already of that covered!
My daughter lives in that Sneakerhead Gravity well...so that resonated deeply.