Fixie

Culture

I’m an ancient thirty-one-year-old gay dude. Chocolate hurts my teeth and twinks make me want to hump razor wire and I maintain a curmudgeonly stance toward the trespassing universe as a general attitude, and yet I’m not able to muster a hatred for hipsters, that is, everyone younger than me. Where bores style themselves as thoroughly verklepmt at the ironic distance of our present era, I axe you, what is more affected, what is more pretentious, what is more self-conscious and artificial, a mustache and a vinyl collection, or the following sentence:

Born in 1977, at the tail end of Generation X, I came of age in the 1990s, a decade that, bracketed neatly by two architectural crumblings — of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Twin Towers in 2001 — now seems relatively irony-free.

The author goes on to identify grunge as an example of anti-ironism, which strongly suggests she never bothered decoding the lyrics to Nevermind. In fact, it suggests that the false nostalgia she hates in the hipsters is an altogether more subtle and accurate form of historical awareness than the acute nostalgia she feels for her own lost youth in a culture that hadn’t yet sold out.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was more world-historically meaningful than the destruction of the World Trade Centers, but in reality neither was all that significant in and of itself; both were superficial symptoms of larger histories, and the authorial decision to turn them into this sort of clever little trope, anchored to importance by what their destruction represents, is, actually, a form of irony, as is the fact that the same strophe is then transmogrified into a blunderbuss with which to take wild potshots at these kids today. Well, why not just throw in the Holocaust as well? Do you know that the hot hairstyle with cute boys these days is a direct throwback to late Weimar, cropped sides and long on top? I am sure it signifies an insufficient reverence for the greatest historical catastrophe ever to befall . . .

The idea that a tenured academic, a newspaper journalist, can instruct a lot of twenty-something party kids in how to recapture the childhood openness and emotional bigitude of a 4-year-old is pretty fucking ironic, too. It’s also pretty weird if you think about it for a minute. Collecting He-Man Action Figures and wearing handkerchiefs in your jean pockets is supposed to be a sign of arrested development, whereas pining for the preliterate mind of a child is a mark of the moral seriousness so sorely lacking in America. Who’s the fucking yolo here?

It is every person’s right and duty to hate fixed-gear bicycles, but to dress aesthetic prejudices in the drag of moral disapprobation is the act of a coward. The kids are having more fun that you, and they are less worried about getting fired from their job making smoothies at the co-op than you are at losing your TIAA-CREF accounts. No one likes getting older, but you can’t recapture your past by demanding that the present reenact that hazy image of it forever instagrammed in your spotty memory.

20 thoughts on “Fixie

  1. It was Victor Hugo who said, “Forty is the old age of youth, fifty the youth of old age”. If sixty is the new forty, is sixty-three the new fifty-eight? In any case, on the front page of the glossy FTWealth, distributed with today’s Financial Times, Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is pictured and quoted: “In my mind you move from middle age to older at age 85 – at 84 you’re still in advanced middle age.”

  2. hipsterism is practically a developmental stage. each generation has them in whatever form.

    i got ten years on ya, Jacob. was right in the middle of gen x. we were slouching around on salvaged couches in dingy apartments like a greasy Ethan Hawks quoting _Cool Hand Luke_, waiting for careers to develop out of the early 90’s recession we had graduated into. kinda like today’s hipsters, minus the eyephones. our recession was a lot shorter, but we were the one’s with the gen x “slacker” rap.

    of course, this person would have come out of college 5 or 6 years later at the beginning of the dotcom thing. those people have no sense of humor.

    is it ok to say that grunge was kinda lame. oh, some of us were blind to it at the time, but wasn’t it just another example of a sort-of novel aesthetic seized upon by a not yet dead recording industry, copied a million times, stripped of its authenticity and shamelessly exploited for profit? every day the irony is the same: grunge’s “combative stance against authority” was its marketing slogan.

    nonetheless, if you want irony and historical awareness, try decoding the lyrics to _Floyd The Barber_ LOL:

    see, we liked Nirvana, before they were cool.

  3. Of course I’m always the last to know. Even so, I’m glad that quondam IOZ is back on the scene. I take exception, however, to the attack on fixies. I’me quite devoted to my own.

  4. the only ones ,around here.. mentioned.., that i would call brothers (literally , of bones ,old ,with waves .., are ashley a boy’s name ( the first person that i talked with on line , thanks to what anais nin (yes still living ) and i share of promiscuity long .. (fuck him , i would like to ,(my mind calls him daddy long legs when i think of him every once and a while ) but only if it was okay with his lovely wif’ wife julie/good work , /, and of glenn gould ..soon ,no he did not try to sleep next to this lovely moving bach g,string , i was only fourte en , and he was a gentle man , like my family ) both of the go nor’ way , like myself , \ashley still stu born to that flow of go north ,further ,that is in his bones to mind bred, said the bird/doe /swan a swimming

  5. ..are you wearing a wig or were you born that way , a thought as i looked out in to the ave just now from my no wind ‘ .. . of blon’ . said even ‘fro,poor girl

    1. oh and did i mention that moby dick is one of my body guards, black iri sh , he has been in new zealand for a few years ..but he is coming home

  6. The objection to the ironic pose is not that it’s affected, or phony, or pretentious though it may be all of these. The objection to irony is that it is soulless and gutless; that it stands and can stand for nothing; that it renders its modern practitioners incapable of seriously assessing their place in the world, or their ability to affect it, or even the desirability of doing so; in short, that it is essentially craven, timid, and shrinking. A generation incapable of even wearing a RUN-DMC t-shirt unironically, simply out of open unashamed love for RUN-DMC, will never muster one tenth of the courage necessary to storm the barricades.

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