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Archive for May, 2016

Silicon Valley’s influence on popular culture as seen through Alanis Morissette

I didn’t catch this until now, but in November last year, Alanis Morissette and James Corden did a “modern update” of Alanis’s 1995 hit song “Ironic.” Having spent my adolescent years in the mid-90s and still able to sing along to the original (I’m honest), I found the updated version hilarious. Then I started thinking about the different cultural references and how much originated from Silicon Valley and the tech scene.

 

I decided to color code them:

An old friend sends you a Facebook request
You only find out they’re racist after you accept
There’s free office cake on the first day of your diet
It’s like they announce a new iPhone the day after you buy it
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
It’s like swiping left on your future soulmate
It’s a Snapchat that you wish you had saved
It’s a funny tweet that nobody faves
And who would’ve thought it figures

It’s a traffic jam when you try to use Waze
A no-smoking sign when you brought your vape
It’s 10,000 male late-night hosts when all you want is just one woman, seriously!
It’s singing the duet of your dreams, and then Alanis Morissette shouting at you
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
A little too ironic, and yeah I really do think

It’s like you’re first class on a Southwest plane
Then you realize that every seat is the same
It’s like Amazon but your package never came
And who would’ve thought it figures

It’s like Netflix but you own DVDs
It’s a free ride but your Uber’s down the street
It’s singing “Ironic,” but there are no ironies
And who would’ve thought it figures

Blue is for references originating from Silicon Valley:

  • Facebook
  • iPhone (Apple)
  • Snapchat (started at Stanford but now headquartered in LA)
  • Twitter
  • Netflix
  • Uber

Purple is for references that seem Silicon Valley but aren’t:

  • Tinder (I didn’t know they are based in West Hollywood, though it makes sense)
  • Waze (Israeli but with an office in Palo Alto)
  • Amazon (The biggest internet company not in Silicon Valley)

Red is for other references.

 

This is astounding. The Late Late Show is not a tech show and it’s on CBS, a major broadcast network. Only Amazon (est. 1994) and Apple existed when the original song came out. While we don’t see Silicon Valley as a cultural hub as we do New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago, it’s influence over the last twenty years is undeniable. Without the geeks and wide-eyed dreamers, we would be living very different lives today.

Where will the next wave of major cultural influence come from?

 

And speaking of change, is it just me or has Alanis not changed at all in the last twenty years? Here is the original “Ironic” music video:

Lyrics from Spin

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