R.I.P. Cool Kids

Posted September 2, 2010 in Feature Story

Your grandmother listens to the Arcade Fire. This is neither a compliment nor an insult. It will not be your salvation, nor your doom. But it is a beginning, and an end. What it means is that we are all hipsters now. What it means is that none of us are hipsters now.


Fashion is a race. In times past, it worked this way: Versace liked chartreuse in May, and by summer’s end, the good people of Oklahoma were wearing neon green. Or: CBGB’s played hardcore punk in 1974, and by Reagan’s first term, the kids in Tulsa were listening to Dee Dee in their tattered jeans. And it was during that sweet time lag that the cool kids trumpeted their superiority.


There is no time lag now, thanks to the Internet, no chasm of distance. Any octogenarian with a modem can stream the Animal Collective show at Coachella. There is no scandal, thanks to the Internet. Compared to the latest celebrity sex tape, skinny jeans seem downright benign. Hell, Danny DeVito wears skinny jeans on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And that was last season.


In other words, your cool has been co-opted. There is no insider edge. There is no formula for acceptance. Uncle Ted is blogging about that CD release party. That night you saw them, at the there. So did everybody else who can access YouTube.


So take off your scarf. It’s summer, and your neck will thank you. Eat some protein. If you don’t know where to go, this magazine has some fine suggestions. Do something for the unadorned joy of the activity.


Listen to the Wallflowers, Third Eye Blind, U2. Play air guitar. Lose track of who’s hot right now. If he/she won’t go out with you because you aren’t familiar with the back catalogue of (insert band name here), tell him/her that your grandmother listens to them.


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