I can't sleep

More and more, it seems, we sleep alone, or not at all. As the common ground of geography, community, and family disappears, we're forced more and more to connect through contexts that are pre-established for us, and find ourselves with less and less to talk about. We spin in a cultural centrifuge, the earth drops from beneath our feet, and all that's left to look at is the blur of faces spinning next to our own. Ultimately, we all begin to look the same, and to check the same boxes on movie-screening questionnaires. Meanwhile, art - the most direct, intense means we have of connecting to what's inside another individual's head, and a last refuge from cultural vertigo - no longer seems to be made by individuals, or for them. Certainly, it isn't being made about them.

In today's Hollywood, it isn't even made so much as propelled, by money and demography, through a hall of mirrors without end or destination. We learn in school that the subject of art is art itself, and imagine a great conversation taking place over centuries. Today the trope is true of necessity, and only in the narrowest of senses, and conversation is stilled. Forty years ago, Dwight Macdonald warned that, caught in a cold war deadlock, the U.S.S.R. and the United States would propel each other further and further towards mass-industrialization on a scale that would leave little room for individual expression. The reality turns out to be more haunting: Unfettered by competition, we're racing towards Socialist Realisms all our own.