I am not cool. Never in my life have I been cool. For a long time I wondered if that “cool” world was better than mine and then one day I saw the light. “Hip” is just another word for personality disorder. What started out when I was in High School as a few huddled groups of kids with nose rings in art class has now become a worldwide tight-jeaned epidemic. I can’t walk into downtown New York these days without my biohazard suit and hipster repellent (hipster repellent being the music of Nickelback and/or Creed). Now, there are many subcultures that I disapprove of. Goths, born again Christians, punk rockers, NASCAR fans, people from Kentucky; I try to avoid and could do without them all, but at least these folks, insufferable as they may be, have the dignity to acknowledge the fact that they are a consumer group. Goths buy eye-liner, NASCAR fans buy those moronic reflective sunglasses, and Christians buy Mel Gibson DVD’s. Hipsters, on the other hand, probably the biggest youth culture market out there, cling like cat hair to a black shirt to their false sense of individuality. Think of the millions of pork pie hats and scarves that are sold each and every day, think of all the skinny guys with names like Connor drinking Pabst and wearing vintage distressed t-shirts, think of the sheer magnitude of them just texting and tweeting and I-Poding bringing this culture to its knees choking on its own sense of irony!
Sorry, I got a bit excited there. But seriously, fuck you Steve Jobs. I just need a phone to call people, not an app to scratch my ass.
Back before hipsters the line between cool and lame was quite clear. You were cool if you go laid, wore decent cloths, and others admired you. You were lame if you lacked fashion sense and social graces. Somewhere in this new millennium, though, we lost our way and geek became chic. Now right now you’re probably saying, “But dear sir, isn’t it high time that the uncool got their day in the sun?” A statement to which I respectfully reply, “Cram it, ugly. I’m talking here. Why don’t you scrape the dumbassery out of your ears and listen for a change?”
Geek, no matter how valiantly it tries, is not chic. That’s the point of geek, once it becomes chic it loses its geek. You follow? Thick-rimmed glasses, once a universal mark of geekdom, have been co-opted by the hipster because of their tenuous grasp on the concept of irony (though it would be nice to see pocket protectors come back. Do you pockets get as inky as mine?).
For hipsters, it all about the external. They must look the part with their hair and their ear buds and their tight jeans, they must inform the world daily of their various moods and stages of angst through Facebook and Twitter, all so much effort to seem so effortless. To seem like you don’t care you have to care so damn hard, so hard you end up looking like Russell Brand. You see cool people are inherently selfish. So the geeks aren’t finally getting their due, they’ve just gotten their cloths stolen.
Does anyone understand the concept of quiet dignity anymore? Everyone is shouting from the mountaintops about how unique they are. The problem is that there are a thousand other mountain tops with a thousand other people shouting the exact same thing. The noise from all the shouting is deafening and the people who are actually trying to make things better (the squares) can’t hear themselves think.
I’m not saying that all squares are activists and volunteers, in fact most aren’t, most of them are what you’d call “some dudes”. Your dad is a square, your teacher is a square, your boss is a square and, as superfluous as they all may or may not be, they’re at least attempting to contribute in a societal sense. The file clerk at a warehouse that ships party supplies is a square and, true, the world would be not better or worse without him. Like the male nipples they are without purpose, but at least they’re not parasites.
© 2010 Dan Howard.
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