Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Take Your Plaid Shirt and Get Out

The other day I saw a trailer for Drew Barrymore's first directorial effort, "Whip It". (Yeah, I realize the movie's been out for awhile already...I live in the sticks, we're not cultured here. ) The movie stars Ellen Page as an aspiring roller-derby queen with parents who don't understand, no cred with the popular kids, and no game with the opposite sex. Sounds like pretty much every mediocre teenage coming of age picture, besides the oh-so-indie addition of roller derby. But there's a line in the trailer that almost sums up the annoying thing about the entire hipster/alternative/indie "movement". Ellen Page is waiting tables (because in teen movies only losers are employed) and is serving a table full of big man and woman on campus types, one of whom looks at her and says derisively, "What are you, alternative now?" Ellen Page, looking all twee and bewildered, asks "Alternative to what?"

Perhaps it shouldn't bother me-- theoretically, more people join this army in H&M, the more people who are going to find their way to great alternative music, right? If you pick up a copy of Nylon for the fashion articles, you're going to stumble across profiles of The Dead Weather and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, alongside a review of "It Might Get Loud" and an interview with Kim Gordon. Nothing wrong with that. But if you're listening to that music because Nylon tells you to--and not because you like it-- I hate to tell you,'re doing it wrong.

I hated "Garden State". I think Grizzly Bear is grossly overrated. Pabst Blue Ribbon is fucking disgusting. Zooey Deschanel is starting to annoy the hell out of me. Leggings are not pants. And that headband makes you look like Pocahontas. And I'm tired of all you Urban Outfitters-clad drones taking my music, damnit.

I have a theory that I'm currently testing. It's secretly really easy to get Pitchfork excited about your band. All you need to do is:
1. Lose (at least) twenty pounds. Just get
as skinny as possible.
2. Move to Brooklyn.
3. Choose a color, an animal and a location. That's your band name.

Thing is, every hipster from Williamsburg to Washington is already wearing buffalo plaid and Ray Bans and ironic cartoon T-shirts. And when everybody's doing it, it's alternative to...what?

Now, arguably there's nothing more obnoxiously hipster-ish than hating on obnoxious hispters but please, for the sake of two of my favorite things in the world--music and fashion--get a dictionary and look up the words "Independent" and "Alternative". Start actually living independently. Dress in a way that makes you feel good and look good. Listen to the music that you like. Watch the movies you enjoy. Drink beer that actually tastes good. Own yourself. Create your own trend. The world would be a far more interesting place if we weren't all trying so damn hard to be the same.

See, she has blue hair so you know she's different. Get it?

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