Saturday, October 3, 2009


"We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new."
From a piece in the faulty Adbusters. Poetic, dramatic, dispairing, wrong. When was the last cultural movement that was actually "new" & didn't embody elements of the past? Yes, the present-day Hipster cult says everything in quotation marks, but that's not a fault of the kids of today, it's a reflection of the managerial culture & the hesitant, cautious, politically correct culture that has taken over America. Where does one step? Where is the safe path? When people are afraid to even define their antagonisms, rebelling becomes all the more difficult, & with that, one must dwell on what the value of that rebellious mode was in the first place. Power? Dynamism? Contrast? Raw sexual energy? Danger? Yes, & more.
This list of terms is not unlike everything i've heard about prefabricated youth subcultures since they began in the 40s. Specifically, the Hippies were described as adding nothing new & just adopting elements from the past: dressing like wild west dandies, playing folk music, superficially adopting the philosophy of the Beatniks. The whole thing has been compared to the German "Nature Boys" & their Lebensreform from a hundred years ago. The Punks were the Blank Generation, Generation X, claiming to destroy Rock & Roll when obviously breathing life right back into it. One of the better Punk documentaries is called "Decline of Western Civilization". They wont say this about Black subcultures, because in our society they do not define the great mass, they are always outside & then used as flavor & novelty to give the mass culture a little punch. Here's the deal, Western Civilization is always in flux, going up & down, it's never "the end". I would argue that a new thing will be born out of this time period, which is what i have been writing about in this blog & elsewhere, which is the aculturation of all of the mass media trash that has been created in America during this boom period which will then become a new American Roots Culture. It has been happening for a while, just adding onto itself, but the point is that the youth culture is not the defining point for anything anymore, because it has gone its course. There will always be youth, they will always rebel & try to distance themselves from their parents & find themselves & something novel to play around with, but ultimately, this is just a short bump in the ride of life.

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