04 June 2007

"Eternal nothingness is fine if you happen to be dressed for it."

Christian Lorentzen recently wrote a piece for Time Out New York titled Why the hipster must die. The subtitle reads "A modest proposal to save New York cool" and I find the entire topic especially intriguing for a few reasons.
1) the "New York cool" is something I've always known about in myth - a romanticized notion I held as a kid - so being around it for a short while now, I'm starting to understand the dynamic.
2) hipster-dom has a pretty incestuous relationship with music scenes, especially here and especially 'indie-rock' (something pretty much ignored in the article, which makes me think I'm missing the point, but more on that later)
3) the people writing on hipsters always seem to be hipsters themselves, albeit of self-loathing/closeted nature
and most importantly,
4) I want to know what's next.

After name-dropping Vincent Gallo, Bright Eyes/the demise of LES, American Apparel, etc., the writer proceeds to make the argument that what NYC needs is a civil war between the Sweet (ironic) and Vicious (rebel w/o cause). But it's this whole 'underground becomes the overground' thing (Nirvana '91) that happens over and over again, and each time people pretend they're surprised/appalled but the fact that it gets a whole issue of TONY is a symptom in itself. But I don't want to argue the merits of the underground or anything like that for the simple reason that I don't get it.

When I said that I was surprised how blatantly overlooked the role of music was to the death of the hipster it's my attempt to reckon with what I don't understand. Never having been hip myself, the one thing I have any idea about it music. Not bars, or fashion, or real estate. So I try and bring it back to what I do know, only to realize hot shows (like PB&J a few months back) or parties like Motherfucker, etc. don't matter in terms of who's playing (ie, the reason I'd want to be a part of it) but just that they're playing at all. As if a laundry list of who you've shared a PBR with at the afterparty is just as (more) important than the merits of their last record. This just makes me think of Chris Ott recently commenting (and Marc Hogan responding) that people should "STOP TREATING MUSIC LIKE IT’S YOUR STICKER COLLECTION." But no one's read this far, and I want to talk about that another time.

Safe to say, I just don't get it and it's easy to blame that on youth. If you're me and not close with an editor or a phenom in and of yourself, then you're not yet to this stage in life- the middle ground between college and real life, where you do need a place (in the neighborhood of the moment) and to pay your rent, but you can go out every night because you don't have real responsibilities (god forbid).

So in the end it just leaves me wondering where my half (the latter half) of our generation will be when these people finally give up, stop bitching about gentrification and get real jobs which is unfortunately bound to happen. As much as Lorentzen wants to see it happen, I don't think we're the 'dangerous' ones that can bring merit back to 'cool'. If anything, I'm afraid we're all becoming so scared of the future that was the prospects get younger and younger (from the indie-yuppies as the oldest, back to the current crop of hipsters, down to me and further down the age ladder) we're all just getting safer and safer. Where a revival is in order, we drop the ball. Ashton killed trucker hats. London, stripes and us, cool.

1 comment:

What's it all about, Salfie? said...

can i just say that i'm really sorry i'm reading this like 2 years after the fact? i think your blog is very insightful. It criticizes Lorentzen's article without completely dismissing it. Good job. I think I get your meaning in that we're all sort of a bunch of people branding ourselves with our tastes maybe just to distract us from "the plan" coming to ream us in.