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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

the thrill is gone

"For me, the obsession is sometimes a coping mechanism -- with a job that is boring, or some other life rut. And the obsession seems to end when the boredom ends or the situation I'm avoiding sorts itself out," he says. He compares it to the emotional curve of a breakup. You pick an album that seems to embody your woe -- then play it over and over and over. When the hurtin' ends, the album instantly goes into the dustbin.

Indeed, top-40 hits are the only pieces of pop culture that behave like games. They flare brilliantly, demanding incessant and constant replay -- until one day when we suddenly can't abide them. Virtually no other forms of entertainment suffer this same drastic drop-off. When we fall out of love with TV shows and comic books and favorite writers, our attraction peters out. (I faithfully watched Alias for three seasons, and then slowly drifted away as the fourth season's scripts got progressively duller.)

Conservative pundits have long fretted over the addictive quality of games, of course. But maybe the psychological curve of addiction is the ultimate tribute to the medium. They're a form of culture so intense and delightful that we only have two options -- delve in wholeheartedly, or walk away.

The End of the Affair? i know what he's talking about. comics. alias. gaming. lara. wow. ipod. dvds. poison elves. anime. imovie. star wars. matrix. ghost in the shell. i'm ready to go off the grid. for a while. we'll see.

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