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Brian Robbins talks about 'SpongeBob SquarePants' at an investor day event for Paramount+. Screengrab via Vimeo.

Why Disney+, Paramount+ and Legacy Media Streamers Can’t Escape the Past

Photo: Brian Robbins talks about 'SpongeBob SquarePants' at an investor day event for Paramount+. Screengrab via Vimeo.

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Cultural criticism is not investment advice. But investors with emerging concerns about the future of streaming business models will find their echo in a criticism of streaming services’ vast content libraries from journalist and author Chuck Klosterman.

Klosterman gave a must-listen interview to the “Longform” podcast on his recently released book, “The Nineties,” in which he mused on “the slow cancellation of the future.” Movies in the 1980s looked dramatically different from movies in the 1960s, he claimed, whereas movies today are all but indistinguishable from movies in the aughts. The same goes for music.

“Maybe there’s nothing inherently bad about it,” Klosterman said. But the consequence is that “because we have such immediate access to the entire history of all art, all political thought, all literature, all of that, it’s very difficult to come up with something that is sort of a move beyond what is already there.”

And the culprit? “It’s got to be the internet. That’s the only explanation.” Culture has become “a very shallow ocean,” vast but eminently searchable. While the internet originally “seemed like the ultimate accelerant of culture,” when it became ubiquitous, “it made it so difficult to get beyond the present moment in a creative way,” he said.

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