Gen X everyman Chris Wilcha’s college graduation gift was a camcorder. His first project: filming his new office job at Columbia House, the famous “12 CDs for a penny” record club. His access is remarkable, and it’s hard to imagine in our social media saturated world. What company now would allow an employee to film an awkward meeting about the finer points of “hard rock”?
To be fair, Wilcha is naive in his own way. In the wake of Nirvana’s mainstream success, Wilcha attempts to reform Columbia House. Using “alternative” titles, he leads an effort to remake the catalogue into a personality-filled fanzine. Coming from a corporate entity, it’s a project that might seem disingenuous today. The Target Shoots First shows a world before Napster, YouTube, and streaming. It’s a world where it seems possible to wield The System rather than overthrow it.