Thursday, October 04, 2007

The backlash against the modern hipster (whatever that is) is in full swing. Michael Hirschorn jumped on the bandwagon with a piece bashing, no kidding, quirkiness, in last month's The Atlantic. In his defense, the article was not entirely fluff. It's true, in the Venn-diagram-of-life, there is probably a great bit of overlap in the Wes Anderson fans, McSweeney's readers, Talking Heads LP owners and pretentious as hell bubbles, but the article essentially wraps up every bit of Gen X/Y 'intelligista' mainstream into one easy to imagine (and critique) bucket.

There's no real meat in this article, so there's not much to build upon in rebuttal. Can we first point out that in April of this year Hirschorn theorized that Facebook "is likely only another in a long string of putatively disruptive, massively hyped technologies that prove just one more step in the long march," and then in October that "Facebook could become as important to us as Google." Maybe in February 2008 Hirshhorn will decide that Napoleon Dynamite is our Taxi Driver. His topics of interest don't range very far: Web 2.0, Last.fm, Google, and name-dropping Grandaddy and Neutral Milk Hotel. I realize that most of the people reading this don't actually meet these kinds of people in real life, but trust me, they exist in hordes in New York. After going through a few of his op-eds it seems more and more likely that he only wanted the chance to mention Darjeeling Limited and label it uncool a month before his younger, hipper friends would do after they were, like, totally over Wes Anderson. Dudes, I so told you that in, like, September last year.

Really, the worst thing about this article (and about people who actually believe that there is some kind of cohesive underground that they don't know about, or something) is that he doesn't seem to understand that just because someone likes something different than he does not mean that they are liking that thing just to be different than him. Hand to God, I have not been listening to Meatloaf and Al Green all week because I think it will make me cooler (though listening to Al Green while walking around does kind of make me walk different and I get stong, sudden impulses to wink at various ladies). I also do not like Fellini films because they are more intelligent than Superbad. Because Superbad was awesome. And Hirschorn was right, Knocked Up was good, but not because it bucked trends and wasn't touchy-feely and full of ephemeral beauty. It was just funny. But way to take the fun out of it and make me get all introspective about liking a movie 'less gay,' or something, than Rushmore. Seriously. Can't you just, you know, dig things because you dig them? There's also a between-the-lines implication that the culture all those damned kids are making nowadays is plastic, that it's not really culture. It's defensible because it's human nature, but when you grow up and start to get old and your culture dissipates and all your friends who used to be anarcho-gypsy-hobos are working in banks and writing for Harper's, the only thing left to bitch about is your stereotypical picture of the younger generations. His parents did it to the hippies, and we're already doing it to kids now (Fallout Boy? Sidekicks? Pokeman?).

And let me tell you two things, if I may, before I let you make up your own mind: Napoleon Dynamite sucked and Arrested Development is hardly quirky. It's hilarious. And David Cross should be fuming to have been lumped into any group also containing Garden State.

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