Thanks to the germs my husband brought home last week, for days I’ve felt as though my head is stuffed with rotting cotton. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful it wasn’t something worse, like the flu. But having a cold is a sort of wretched no man’s land where you feel crummy, but not sick enough to forgo work. Therefore you end up doing everything half-assed. And that has been my state of mind for the past few days. I kind of wrote, but not very much. I did some of the laundry, but not all of it. I thought about writing various posts on this and that, but…meh. You get the idea.
Anyway, today I finally feel a little more like a person instead of a bobble head, and so most of my day was spent running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get all my errands and whatnot done before everything closes on Thursday (and if today’s chaos is any indication of the rest of the week, I will not be leaving the house tomorrow. The supermarket was a freaking warzone).
So here it is, seven o’clock at night, and I’m finally sitting down to write a response to Christy Wampole’s article in the NY Times Opinionator, How to Live Without Irony. I’m sure most of you already read it, but for those of you that haven’t, it was a very interesting analysis of hipsters and (what the author believes to be) our modern state of ironic living. I’ve been meaning to write about it for days.
I don’t do it too often because they’re such easy targets, but I’ve been known to rag on hipsters from time to time. It’s a little hard not to, because sometimes they can be so silly. In fact, hipsters caused me to walk out of two stores on Saturday. One was American Apparel, so really that’s my own fault, I should have known better. The other was a hat shop. I’d had enough when some hipster dude in circa 1930s denim, a porkpie hat and suspenders took the hat off I was trying on and replaced it with something terrible.
I’m not bothered by club kids or punk rockers or twihards or the people that are so into Harry Potter that they dress up as the characters and camp out in line for the movie openings. And while I found the whole emo thing to be ludicrous, it didn’t bother me so much as make me laugh. But there is something about the hipstery folk that grinds on my nerves a little bit. And they shouldn’t. It isn’t as though a herd of hipsters ran over my cat or something.
For a large chunk of my youth, I was a fishnet, safety pin, and big black boot wearing girl. I fully embraced it, was totally into punk music, and went to shows every week. That was my thing. At some point in my early twenties I realized I could still be tough and wear pink. And over the years I’ve rocked a lot of looks, but the one I always come back to is probably best described as hillbilly punk rock. It isn’t like I go head to toe Ellie May Clampett meets Kate Bjelland, but I usually wear at least one article that is true to my roots. This past weekend my husband and I were on an elevator, and this woman spent the entire time it took to go down three floors giving my big ass belt buckle the stink eye. I’m not sure why, but she clearly found it horrible. Personally I don’t care, it’s fantastic (see how I did not use the word awesome? But that is exactly what it is, a fucking awesome belt buckle). I guess my point is, just as the woman on the elevator had no reason to hate my rad belt, I have no reason at all to make fun of hipsters.
Which brings me back to Wampole’s article. She basically summed up all that annoys about hipster-dome. In a nutshell, it’s just too damned contrived. It’s 24/7, hat to shoe, and they seem to spend a ridiculous amount of time unearthing obscure things of bygone times just for the sake of out-cooling one another. And so, when I see a hipster, I want to say, hey! It’s okay to have one or two normal, run of the mill things about you. It won’t destroy your cool factor, on the contrary, it might make it a little more believable. Ultimately, I just don’t get hipsters. In terms of counterculture movements, it’s one that makes little sense to me, because there doesn’t seem to be any uniting idea behind it all. It isn’t about music, or politics, or anything, really.
Wampole’s point was not to ridicule hipsters (although she did a good job of it), rather, she believes they are a manifestation of ironic living. Irony has become a way of life, and of dealing with things. It is, according to Wampole, a self-defense mechanism. On the one hand, I see what she’s getting at, and she does make some valid points. On the other, living an irony-free life would put a hell of a lot of people (and almost all bloggers) out of business. Where would Jerry Seinfeld be without irony? Or all comedians for that matter? What about literature, and art? I don’t particularly think the use of irony in popular culture is a recent phenomenon, it has gone on for centuries. Frankly, I find ironic humor is a good way to deal with some of the craziness that goes on in this world, and I don’t necessarily see using irony to deal with issues as a bad thing. There is a place for seriousness, of course, but sometimes it helps to find the humor in a bad situation.
Where am I going with this? I seemed to have lost my train of thought. Oh well. I did warn you I’m living in half-assed land this week. So please feel free to leave ironic comments, and, I dunno, go hug a hipster or something.