To live through a major recession with open eyes is to see things, obvious things, and notice that the human race are very poor at bringing them to the surface: like (possibly rampant) depopulation. The American press are not discussing depopulation issues, but the algorithm for me is quite simple: with food and health insurance (ObamaCare withstanding) costing what they cost, it can't be that a large mass of Americans and America hasn't died. One also learns: not every death receives an obituary or some kind of notice. Many people die in corners or in basements or in alleyways, their corpses are quickly obliterated and no one notices. And the more "gaming" side of the population are poor at admitting that this might be the case. This is all very macabre, very lurid. And when things in general are very macabre, very lurid, all the media platitudes lumping people into conglomerates (generations, demographics) can't work and are seen through. Individuals tend to feel themselves as individuals, and individual consciousness is then free to do the trick of letting in both the truth and the art of things. The progress of the human race, I'd like to add, depends on the ability of individuals to both be individuals and cultivate individuality; and, in an odd inversion, however macabre a recession like this is, it also frees up the works, against a stultifying press and other inhibiting factors, for individuals to employ their brains the right way.
I think of the 1970s (I was born in '76), how recessional they were, what they must have been like. The macabre in popular culture was everywhere, from The Exorcist to Phantom of the Paradise and Rocky Horror, not the mention Sister Lovers and Axe Victim; along with the recessional sense I have learned, that (as later histories were unwilling to represent) no one was paying that much attention. People in recessions drift in individual and individualized head-spaces. It's like that now too- no one's going to get a Thriller moment out of Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez. The problem about the 70s into the 80s in America is that when America woke up in '82(ish), it was to a pop culture extravaganza world, set to be inhabited by cultural babies, homogenized to a low frequency, and against the interest of those cultivating the higher echelons of individual consciousness. As 2015 can be considered another version of 1975 (or '76), what I like about where we are, if you can survive the recession and its macabre sense of dread or foreboding, is that what I feel when I walk around Philly and its environs is space. Because the Pop Baby World isn't turning what's left of the population into homogenized mush, we are free to use our brains as we please, and forge whatever systems of consciousness out of our respective head-spaces we want. This balance: the weight of dread versus the addition of cognitive freedom (along with, when we are lucky, enchantment); makes it so that the recession has dirtied some facets of America and purified others. What's left of America can bring forth, against the vestiges of one of the more carnivorous human centuries on record, a new kind of American landscape built not of dross but of thought.