Hipster This, Hipster That
Ok, people. ENOUGH!
I am way past sick and tired of this tedious, boring cliche that the "hipsters" are ruining everything in NYC...
And that "Williamsburg" is causing the very death of rock and roll...
And this preposterous assumption that every kid with shaggy hair, a headband or pointy shoes or what-the-fuck-EVER, is automatically attached to a "trust fund."
Puh-LEASE! Do I really need to explain how STUPID this is?!
Some of you are simply turning into your parents. Things aren't like they used to be; your halcyon years are past and you can't handle it. So you resort to the centuries-old "kids today" routine, just like your folks did when you started listening to Marilyn Manson, Slayer, Kiss, The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, or whomever your particular rock heroes happened to be. You crow about how great the old times were and lash out at the current crop. Your icons were important and meaningful but today's are empty and soulless.
Yes, the hipsters are killing rock and roll, for having the nerve, the unforgivable nerve! to listen to nonsense like Interpol or Death Cab For Cutie. Not like you -- your taste was impeccable and unassailable from the start, and furthermore, you emerged from the birth canal with a fabulous built-in knowledge of rock and roll history. You had the good sense to listen to Led Zeppelin, T. Rex, Jane's Addiction. And these "trustafarians" who crowd the East Village streets today, with their She Wants Revenge , their Raconteurs and their Sufjan Stevens -- they don't even care! Where's the RESPECT?!
Well they obviously just don't get it, these annoying little monsters, floating through life on daddy's credit card, do they? You have soul, you are the real deal, you were the last bastions of true rock and roll in this city and now the sky is falling.
How very convenient: the hipsters killed New York AND rock and roll, let's call it a day. Dust off your hands and settle back into your armchair with a cozy sense of superiority. Problem solved. You'll sleep well tonight.
Unfortunately, this lazy, flat-footed, broad-stroke approach to painting your mortal adversaries only works for about five seconds, if that.
Then you happen to meet someone with that godawful shaggy "Williamsburg" hair and, just as you're about to demolish him with that withering smirk of yours, he turns out to be as cool as they come, and blows you away with his smarts, humor and uniqueness.
(Okay, just a tiny hole in your thesis.)
Then you cross paths with a "hipster" girl and naturally you hate her on sight -- she's wearing one of those detestable headbands! Plus she's dressed head-to-toe in pretentious, faux-thrift-store clothing that was surely purchased for a small fortune (courtesy of that ever-present trust fund, of course!) at some high-end chain boutique.
But oh, snap!! She turns out to be a really talented clothing designer and made that whole ensemble from scratch in her apartment. She's not only passionate about her art but busts her ass to make a living, just like you. Even worse, she likes all of YOUR favorite bands! Janis Joplin, Black Sabbath, The Beatles. Her knowledge shocks you; what is she, 21 years old?! You start to realize that she's tenacious, humble and hard-working -- she makes you check yourself.
(Ok, two exceptions...)
Out at the bar one night, you're having the usual "back in the day" discussions with your friends. You see some frat boy-looking cat with short hair and a polo shirt. This khaki-clad cretin is exactly the type of poisonous yuppie scum who's spoiling the Big Apple's once-pristine artistic gene pool!
But before you can thrust your Doc Marten-clad foot up his pathetic ass, you somehow get introduced to the guy. And to your horror, he turns out to be intelligent, warm, funny and generous -- and the two of you have more in common than you'd care to admit. And although you probably wouldn't say it out loud, you could even (gasp!) see yourself hanging out with this person.
It occurs to you that perhaps your theory doesn't hold any water...
What will you do now?
Who will bear the brunt of your resentment and bitterness?
Who can you blame?
On this blog, I've lamented the sorry state of mainstream music and the disintegration of the Lower East Side's character. I have my complaints just like everyone. Yes, there is plenty of shitty music out there and plenty of vacant assholes, poseurs and pretenders. Always has been, always will be. But I refuse to resort to idiotic generalizations about people and let knee-jerk reactions take over for my brain. If you want to be treated fairly, then you've got to be fair. Each person must be judged individually on his or her merits -- sorry, but there's no shortcut around this one.
1. Times change, and thank god for that. It is selfish and sad of you to think that the world should be frozen in place to preserve and perpetuate the era that you thrived in. Adapt and survive.
2. Rock and roll is just fine. Humans did not stop being passionate about making music after you gave up on it. If you think rock and roll needs saving, then SAVE IT and shut up already.
3. Your music, your art, your style, your idols and heroes are no more valid than anyone else's. If somebody doesn't wish to share your aesthetics or embrace your holy icons, that's their right. It doesn't make them wrong, just different.
To paraphrase my good friend Sal,
"Ok, let's all get our heads out of our asses. Ready? On three..."