04 September 2008

Hipness


I hate to have to do this so early in the course of this blog, but I think if I wait to approach the issue, it's going to give a lot of freedom to anonymous commentators to say stupid shit about me.

Shit like this:
you need to get out more, or else just take that job in banking and stop kidding yourself that you follow music and participate in a community.nMcLuxuryCondos await your future self, go to them! You'll bea lot happier once you give up on trying to be the cool kid that you clearly ain't.
Wow. I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'd been presupposing some knowledge of my cultural target ("hipness") that this guy (or girl) apparently did not get the memo on. The following is long, but I think it states my point pretty straightforwardly.

You grew up not fitting in with the popular kids. You couldn't catch a baseball. You liked (and could) read. Maybe you were gay. Maybe you played in the marching band. You got picked on and were too weak-willed or self-effacing to stand up for yourself. Whatever it was, it made the world just a little bit horrifying.

Why did you turn to music? You turned to music as an escape. As a means of forming some sort of self-identity that didn't rely on the socially imposed structures and codes you couldn't (or refused to) live up to. Music didn't judge you for the clothes you wore. Music didn't shoot down everything you had to say. Music didn't spit on you while you were walking through the hallway. It was immersive and accepting, and that was all it was. It couldn't possibly be anything more. Occasionally, it was beautiful. Occasionally, it expressed something about what you were feeling that you thought no one could ever know.

Fast forward five or ten years. You're in high school, college, Williamsburg, wherever the fuck you are. Guess what? Ten years is a long time. All of a sudden, you're not some little prepubescent social fucktard anymore. You've got friends. You've fucked someone. Maybe they fucked you back. Guess what it's time to do? It's time to take out your built up social anxieties on the rest of the world, now that you have the means of doing it. It's time to form a little vaguely-bordered cult of obnoxious beards, big white sunglasses, skinny jeans, V-neck T's, flannel shirts, and square frames. Cut your hair like an asshole. Trade integrity for irony. Wear white after labor day.

But you know what? That's not enough. Because now it's time to use your music as a social weapon, both to extract some sort of impersonal revenge from years of perceived abuse and to further distance yourself from the ranks of "normal" society who are below you. You know, the people who work in banking and live in "McLuxuryCondos." So go ahead. Play music they couldn't possibly enjoy. Extract revenge without meeting anyone face-to-face. After all, your enemy is now gone. The enemy that you felt was so unbearably real when you were a dweeb has aged, changed, and moved on. But you can't. You have to make yourself superior in some way. And so you do it with music. Instead of loving music, you use it as a weapon. And you'll want to like the music you're listening to so badly that, no matter what it is, it will become what defines you. You'll use music as a tool of social judgment, and you will trap yourselves.

Music never had the capacity to judge you. But you've found a way for it to judge everyone else. Congrats.

I understand all I'm doing is making judgments myself, but I'm not using music as a weapon. It could never be that effective. What I am doing is trying to make transparent whatever shitty fucking weapon you assholes think you have. I follow music because it's what I love. It moves me. It makes me happy. Genuinely happy. To respond to the anonymous user above: I don't belong to a community. I don't give a shit about community. But I'm not going to stand by and let a "community" wreak havoc on music (in the name of music) so that they can feel a little better about themselves. Your community is the kind of support network that's ruining art. It's the kind of network that will supply huge crowds and endless pats on the back to people who are creating sounds that don't mean anything, that don't truly move anyone. Sounds that are inarticulate and passionless.

There's some stuff out there that's just plain horrible. And this entire blog has been, and will continue to be, a little tongue-in-cheek. I like some of these bands, even if I'm attacking them. But get one thing straight: I don't like you.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

there is no way the author of this blog is 29 years old. I'm guessing 16

Philip Brightmore said...

Actually, I'm 9.

Anonymous said...

it's plausible!

Philip Brightmore said...

No, it's true. I am 9 years old. That's 4 plus 5.