"‘Quintessential Ephemera’ came up during a discussion at practice about user-generated content on the internet and how it isn’t really ‘content’ per sé, it’s more a pure abstraction of meaningless form. It’s an addictive distraction to keep people engaged on social media platforms.
Historian Allan Brandt wrote a book called The Cigarette Century, about the rise of tobacco in the 20th century and how cigarettes became the ultimate consumer product, used up and discarded without any measurable benefits, yet deeply habit-forming and part of social identity (despite ultimately killing their users). He calls cigarettes the quintessential ephemera of the 20th century. Slavoj Zizek talks about the same idea, but in reference to caffeine-free Diet Coke, in The Fragile Absolute – he calls it a “distillation of pure exchange value” or pure commodity, or more memorably “nothing in the guise of something.”
That phrase summed up our disgust with the state of online discourse so neatly that it became the title of the last song on the album. We were asking, what’s the quintessential ephemera of the 21st century? Probably cat videos and internet memes. We’ve taken this bizarre need to consume form without content and moved it over into the realm of virtual reality, making it even more empty than it was with consumer commodities. There’s now more communication, more expression, more information than ever before, but what does it amount to? Not much."
When a rock band drops Zizek and Brandt, you know they be the shizz.