Saturday, March 10, 2012

All of the world's dolls....

We are well on our way to being homeowners.  Or, I should say "townhouse" owners.  I forgot to mention that our offer has been accepted.  We didn't even know it.  We thought we were waiting back for confirmation but our offer was accepted and the 17 day discovery period begun.  Now, we wait for inspections and renegotiations, if necessary.  Our closing date is tentatively April 4th, an important date in the history of civil rights.  We eloped on April 15th, tax day.  We're going to have to do the research to find the day that Gandhi was shot so we'll know when to celebrate our conversion to Krishna Consciousness.   Funny luck with dates.

Ok, Rachel just told me that nobody will know that April 4th was when MLK was shot and killed, that my joke is obscure and nobody will get it, and that it's not funny.  Fair enough.  I looked it up, Gandhi was shot Jan. 30th.  We missed it.  We'll have to put off our conversion 'til next year. 

We want to decide on a stable dogma for the boy.  We don't want to be sending him too many mixed signals.  I figure a religion that worships many gods would be a good one to start with, that way he'll be more capable of making decisions concerning the gods later, more adept at deciphering their many conflicting messages for him.  I think Rachel fancies Jesus a little bit but she hasn't blossomed into full support of him yet.  

I want to make a t-shirt that says, "All of the world's words mean basically the same thing."  Though with this, as with the other joke, I'm not sure people will get it.  Maybe I could make it more obvious, "All of the world's gods eventually learn to speak English."   I get too tired of it all.  I want more religious wars, not less.  Anybody that would want less religious war isn't paying attention.  That could be another t-shirt...   "If there's not a bomb under this t-shirt then your not paying attention..."  

Or, "If you're not angry then I'm not paying attention..."

I don't know.  I wish hipsters were funnier.  They would have already done all of this stuff.  I've always thought that taking yourself too seriously, or not seriously enough,  was meant to result in comedy.  I suppose the hipsters are just shy of "too much" self-seriousness.  Maybe they'll be more likable in a few more years.

I went back and re-read Wikipedia's collated analysis of hipsters.  I had posted it a while back.  Here it is again in full, with additions.  

If you're not laughing at a few lines in there then you're not paying for cultural relevance.

Critical analysis

Christian Lorentzen of Time Out New York claims that metrosexuality is the hipster appropriation of gay culture, as a trait carried over from their "Emo" phase. He writes that "these aesthetics are assimilated—cannibalized—into a repertoire of meaninglessness, from which the hipster can construct an identity in the manner of a collage, or a shuffled playlist on an iPod."[3] He argues that "hipsterismfetishizes the authentic" elements of all of the "fringe movements of the postwar era—Beat, hippie, punk, even grunge," and draws on the "cultural stores of every unmelted ethnicity" and "gay style," and then "regurgitates it with a winking inauthenticity". He claims that this group of "18-to-34-year-olds," who are mostly white, "have defanged, skinned and consumed" all of these influences.[3] Lorentzen says hipsters, "in their present undead incarnation," are "essentially people who think of themselves as being cooler than America," also referring to them as "the assassins of cool." He also criticizes how the subculture's original menace has long been abandoned and has been replaced with "the form of not-quite-passive aggression called snark."[3]

Time writer Dan Fletcher states that "Hipsters manage to attract a loathing unique in its intensity".
In a Huffington Post article entitled "Who's a Hipster?," Julia Plevin argues that the "definition of 'hipster' remains opaque to anyone outside this self-proclaiming, highly-selective circle." She claims that the "whole point of hipsters is that they avoid labels and being labeled. However, they all dress the same and act the same and conform in their non-conformity" to an "iconic carefully created sloppy vintage look."[18]
Rob Horning developed a critique of hipsterism in his April 2009 article "The Death of the Hipster" in PopMatters, exploring several possible definitions for the hipster. He muses that the hipster might be the "embodiment of postmodernism as a spent force, revealing what happens when pastiche and irony exhaust themselves as aesthetics," or might be "a kind of permanent cultural middleman in hypermediated late capitalism, selling out alternative sources of social power developed by outsider groups, just as the original 'white negros' evinced by Norman Mailer did to the original, pre-pejorative 'hipsters'—blacks...." Horning also proposed that the role of hipsters may be to "appropriat[e] the new cultural capital forms, delivering them to mainstream media in a commercial form and stripping their inventors ... of the power and the glory."[19] Horning argues that the "problem with hipsters" is the "way in which they reduce the particularity of anything you might be curious about or invested in into the same dreary common denominator of how 'cool' it is perceived to be," as "just another signifier of personal identity." Furthermore, he argues that the "hipster is defined by a lack of authenticity, by a sense of lateness to the scene" or the way that they transform the situation into a "self-conscious scene, something others can scrutinize and exploit."
Dan Fletcher in Time seems to support this theory, positing that stores like Urban Outfitters have mass-produced hipster chic, merging hipsterdom with parts of mainstream culture, thus overshadowing its originators' still-strong alternative art and music scene.[5] According to Fletcher, "Hipsters manage to attract a loathing unique in its intensity. Critics have described the loosely defined group as smug, full of contradictions and, ultimately, the dead end of Western civilization."[5] Elise Thompson, an editor for the LA blog LAist argues that "people who came of age in the 70s and 80s punk rock movement seem to universally hate 'hipsters'," which she defines as people wearing "expensive 'alternative' fashion[s]," going to the "latest, coolest, hippest bar...[and] listen[ing] to the latest, coolest, hippest band." Thompson argues that hipsters "don’t seem to subscribe to any particular philosophy ... [or] ... particular genre of music." Instead, she argues that they are "soldiers of fortune of style" who take up whatever is popular and in style, "appropriat[ing] the style[s]" of past countercultural movements such as punk, while "discard[ing] everything that the style stood for."[20]
Drawing from Pierre Bourdieu's work and Thomas Frank's theories of co-optation, Zeynep Arsel and Craig Thompson argue that in order to segment and co-opt the indie marketplace, mass media and marketers have engaged in commercial "mythmaking" and contributed to the formation of the contemporary discourse about hipsters.[4] They substantiate this argument using a historical discourse analysis of the term and its use in the popular culture, based on Arsel's dissertation that was published in 2007. Their argument is that the contemporary depiction of hipster is generated through mass media narratives with different commercial and ideological interests. In other words, hipster is less of an objective category, and more of a culturally- and ideologically-shaped and mass-mediated modern mythology that appropriates the indie consumption field and eventually turns into a form of stigma. Arsel and Thompson also interview participants of the indie culture (DJs, designers, writers) to better understand how they feel about being labeled as one. Their findings demonstrate three strategies for dissociation from the hipster stereotype: aesthetic discrimination, symbolic demarcation, and proclaiming sovereignty. These strategies, empowered by one's status in the indie field (or their cultural capital) enable these individuals to defend their field dependent cultural investments and tastes from devaluating hipster mythology. Their work explains why people who are ostensibly fitting the hipster stereotype profusely deny being one: hipster mythology devaluates their tastes and interests and thus they have to socially distinguish themselves from this cultural category and defend their tastes from devaluation. To succeed in denying being a hipster, while looking, acting, and consuming like one, these individuals demythologize their existing consumption practices by engaging in rhetorics and practices that symbolically differentiate their actions from the hipster stigma.[4]
Mark Greif, a founder of n+1 and an assistant professor at The New School, in a New York Times editorial, states that "hipster" is often used by youth from disparate economic backgrounds to jockey for social position. He questions the contradictory nature of the label, and the way that no one thinks of themselves as a hipster: "Paradoxically, those who used the insult were themselves often said to resemble hipsters — they wore the skinny jeans and big eyeglasses, gathered in tiny enclaves in big cities, and looked down on mainstream fashions and 'tourists.' " He believes the much-cited difficulty in analyzing the term stems from the fact that any attempt to do so provokes universal anxiety, since it "calls everyone’s bluff." Like Arsel and Thompson, he draws from Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste by Pierre Bourdieu to conclude:
You can see how hipster neighborhoods are crossroads where young people from different origins, all crammed together, jockey for social gain. One hipster subgroup’s strategy is to disparage others as "liberal arts college grads with too much time on their hands"; the attack is leveled at the children of the upper middle class who move to cities after college with hopes of working in the "creative professions." These hipsters are instantly declassed, reservoired in abject internships and ignored in the urban hierarchy — but able to use college-taught skills of classification, collection and appreciation to generate a superior body of cultural "cool."
They, in turn, may malign the "trust fund hipsters." This challenges the philistine wealthy who, possessed of money but not the nose for culture, convert real capital into "cultural capital" (Bourdieu's most famous coinage), acquiring subculture as if it were ready-to-wear.[citation needed] Both groups, meanwhile, look down on the couch-­surfing, old-clothes-wearing hipsters who seem most authentic but are also often the most socially precarious — the lower-middle-class young, moving up through style, but with no backstop of parental culture or family capital.[citation needed] They are the bartenders and boutique clerks who wait on their well-to-do peers and wealthy tourists. Only on the basis of their cool clothes can they be "superior": hipster knowledge compensates for economic immobility.[citation needed] Greif's efforts puts the term "hipster" into a socioeconomic framework rooted in the petty bourgeois tendencies of a youth generation unsure of their future social status. The cultural trend is indicative of a social structure with heightened economic anxiety and lessened class mobility.[21]