Sometimes you get into a groove. There's a kind of magic about your mood that acts like a catalyst. It ignites in you a spark of inspiration, not matter how small or remotely related to you as a person. The Joe-Anybody burns in the hue of Paul Auster, if only for a minute. Jane-Somebody becomes Jane Austen. You are hooked in the mystery or the wonder of everyday life. Or you hate it.
I went on a while ago about hipsters and hipster fashion. I've gone on about the advances and denigrations of technology. Then I forgot about them. That is, I stopped thinking about these two separate units of discussion. Recently, I put them together, both, in my life and in the world around me.
Maybe it's so obvious that no one notices, or that you don't need to notice it's so obvious. Hipsters--children of the nineties--lived and live in a world of recollection. We spent the nineties resurrecting the past. Flairs. Side burns. Flannel. Swing. We lived in a time of relative peace for the West. We lived in a time where we were not aware of just how bad things really were. It was great! We were kids then. In some ways, we still are. And we've carried that retrospective onward into the 21st century.
A young man of twenty-five (Me) wore a handlebar mustache. I've met girls that looked like they fell into a portal at Woodstock and ended up in my present. Kids wear fedoras without any real reason, except that Sinatra did, and he was cool as cool can be.
But why do we do this? I stand by my first argument: The hipster does as a defense, in some respects. Living ironically in a time where there isn't much to stand for. My grandfather stood with his country. My father could at least stand with the opposition. But what does Gen-X and the Millennial stand for. Nothing. Sure we have our movements--Occupy, Koney, Right to Life (another one stolen for the past) Women's Rights (Same past, different side) Civil Rights (Hangover) But none of it really galvanizes the nation. It doesn't unite a generation. It's just noise to shake up the work week, and give NPR something to report.
We did have 2008 when we got Obama in office. That was something, but look where we are now. On the fence. Undecided. Is he the best or the worst. Is he a fascist or the savior of democracy. No one knows. Probably, like us, he is just somewhere in between.
But that is an argument for another day. The question is, "How?"
This is when I realized that I have forgotten to give my dues. Never did the thought occur to ask just how is it that we can be a pastiche of some many pasts? How is it that we could draw from so many sources. The same thing that ruined us, in some respects and spoiled us in others, gave us the greatest tool. We are able to reference the past at any moment.
You are doing it right now. As I write, it is the early morning. I am sitting on a couch with a laptop on my right thigh and my Lettera typewriters next to me. Underneath the couch is a Royal Tab-O-Matic that I recently stopped using. But when you read this, my moment will be lost. It will have past. I will be somewhere else. But you will still be here, in the past, with me--or your memory of me.
The hipster has that same ability. Through use of the internet--the endless Wikis and Google searches--she or he can dig up the style of Oscar Wilde or Rock Hudson. Learn their mannerisms through the streaming movies online. Their style is one image away.
It is amazing. After all, could you imagine crafting an image out of a past you could not recall? Where would we start if we did not have the internet? Dewy Decimal System at the local library, I suppose; I doubt that it would work though. Surely, it would be too much.
Even when I used the DDS, I didn't understand it. I can only imagine that my experience is shared.
So we have this gift unique to us. And it is a gift. Let no one tell you different.
I amend my old argument. Yes, I still think that in some capacity ironic living is a defense mechanism. I also believe this, also. The Hipster does it because the Hipster can.
What now? What do we do with it?
What do you think? My answer--my opinion--is for another day.
That is all from Elliott at the Kitchen Table. I'm off to bed.