Sunday, March 23, 2008

Emo vs. Hipster

Maybe it's because I went down to Olympia last night to see Henry Rollins speak (which is what the next post will be about), but the ways and wheres of hipster and emo culture are bubbling up in my mind right now. I'm realizing that I prefer the emo culture, with its stereotypes, vastly over hipster culture.

Hipster mutated from indierock, which mutated from alternative music. Looking around Olympia I see the whole trend as totally played out. It's exhausted, run into the ground, used up, with not a lot of new material to bring to people. But emo, on the other hand is actually something new in that it's a mass fusion of elements of punk rock culture with the same indie culture that hipsters have in their heritage. After listening several years ago, in Olympia, to a roommate, describe how he wanted to create a story that looped back on itself a few times but that self admittedly had no point to it than just being clever and being cool, it started to dawn on me that maybe these folks are full of shit. The same pretentiousness that this person showed in literature carried over to music. It was all a game, nothing truly original, just a repetition of things that he'd heard were cool from someone who he looked up to. At least Emo culture, at least in my experience, doesn't do that.

*on edit: not only did he say that it intentionally had no point, but when I pressed him about what exactly he was trying to say with the story I was accused of being an dick because I believed that stories should have points. I'm not exaggerating.

One of this guy's beliefs was that in a post-modern world meaning is completely dead and so it is pointless to try to say something with a story. That means that he was aiming to write genre fiction of some kind, some variant on sci-fi that you'd find in a drug store for $6.99 in paperback. There's nothing inherently wrong with doing that, if it's what you're aiming for, but this guy was so very serious that what he was doing was Literature with a capital 'L'. In truth he was using post-modernism as an excuse to be mediocre, and to have his writing accepted. Being a hipster means never having to face the fact that you're a talentless lit and music groupie.

But I'm doing what I always do (hey! I'm being self-referential, commenting on the text I just wrote!) and mixing my own thoughts in with a little bit of the style of someone who has greatly impressed me lately, i.e. Rollins. So I'll make the big Rollins post next and maybe come back to this topic some time when I can write in a style that I can be sure is completely my own.

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