Learning from William Gibson: Distrust that particular flavor

| Tags: Creativity

William Gibson gave us cyberspace, Neuromancer, Pattern Recognition and clarity of insight into the contemporary narrative that features brand details, alienation and service business dystopia. In short, he reflects back at us the things we do. Especially if we are in marketing. His attention to the detail of popular culture, reframed often as a story of the future, creates work that is so lucid it re-contextualizes your everyday life. My travels to Tokyo are infused with Gibson’s enthusiasm. In his new collection of essays, “Distrust that particular flavor” he says the following:

“The Japanese are the ultimate Early Adaptors, and the sort of fiction I write behooves me to pay serious heed to that. If you believe, as I do, that all cultural change is essentially technologically driven, you pay attention to the Japanese. They’ve been doing it for more than a century now, and they really do have a head start on the rest.”

Gibson, William (2012-01-03). Distrust That Particular Flavor (p. 123). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

This is William Gibson as pop culture commentator, not as fiction writer. It is hard to tell the difference:

“I was born in 1948. I can’t recall a world before television, but I know I must have experienced one. I do, dimly, recall the arrival of a piece of brown wooden furniture with sturdy Bakelite knobs and a screen no larger than the screen on this PowerBook. Initially there was nothing on it but “snow,” and then the nightly advent of a targetlike device called “the test pattern,” which people actually gathered to watch. Today I think about the test pattern as I surf the Web. I imagine that the World Wide Web and its modest wonders are no more than the test pattern for whatever the twenty-first century will regard as its equivalent medium. Not that I can even remotely imagine what that medium might actually be.”

Gibson, William (2012-01-03). Distrust That Particular Flavor (pp. 193-194). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

Gibson reminds us that it is the creative people who see our future lives. Listen carefully.