Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Rules of Cool

As hipsters, one of our favorite things to do is to do things ironically. We think it's so clever to take things that are/were popular and turn them on their head and pretend that they are cool for reasons that have nothing/everything to do with how they got to be cool in the first place. We watch Full House, wear high-top wrestling sneakers, and drink Pabst Blue Ribbon to be subversive; to show how clever we are by doing things that are/aren't already cool for the same/different reason than we are doing them for.

Which is fine, on the surface. Irony is a delicate sort of humor that not all can fully appreciate or even understand (look for a blog in the near future expounding that exact theory), and when it is done correctly, it can be quite the quaint little laugh. It's funny (and frankly, pretty damn fun as well) to have a Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles-themed 21st birthday party in 2009. Especially if you're going to hold it at a laser tag arena, with Little Caesar's pizza and Surge. Okay... now that I'm thinking about it, that kind of birthday party is one that I'd throw without any sense of irony whatsoever, so maybe that's a bad example.

But you know what I'm driving at: doing stuff that isn't cool so that it's cool all over again--or, alternately, doing stuff that is currently cool, but making sure that everyone knows you know it's uncool (because it's cool) while you're doing it, therefore making it cool again (in a different way) because it's self-aware and therefore not-cool/cool/uncool again in the opposite kind of way. Or something. I'm not sure. And neither are you. And that's where we run into problems.

Because what we have to remember, when these sorts of delineations of coolness and irony start to get all fuzzy and confused, is that the things that we are pretending to like for irony's sake are actually not cool at all, even if they are cool--and especially if they were never cool to begin with, no matter what anyone thought of them. Because if we aren't careful, we begin to see cracks in the system. Bugs in the matrix. Like Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga is not cool. Sure, she's cool to 13 year old girls and slutty sorority sluts (who are slutty), but that's just the kind of cool that we hipsters are dying to make fun of. An uncool kind of cool that just begs to be mocked with our finely-tuned irony we've gleaned from watching Wes Anderson movies and reading Chuck Klosterman (I don't even know if he's being ironic or not, he's just a fucking asshole). However, lots of hipsters of late have been falling into their own traps, losing a sense of irony about how cool they think Lady Gaga is and convincing themselves that she's actually quite cool after all. They've tripped up in their own snare that they've set for Society, in which Society is supposed to see said hipsters and think, "Boy, they certainly are/aren't cool," while secretly Society is being tricked and, in fact, said hipsters are that much cooler because of how confused they have made Society about what is and isn't not-cool/cool/uncool.

But with Lady Gaga (as well as HBO's True Blood and those striped, plastic Kanye West sunglasses), this admittedly confusing system has become quite a slippery slope. Hipsters the world over have fallen prey to their own irony, and have actually come to believe that Lady Gaga is, in fact, cool. Or worth listening to. Or worth the air she breathes. Well, let me be the one to set the record straight:

She's not. Any of those things.

She's just Britney Spears dressed up in (un?)ironic drag; a robot programmed to appeal to the subversive anti-counter-├╝ber-culturalists like me, with my tight pants and road bike, while at the same time still capitalizing on impressionable over-sexualized middle school girls. She is everything the music industry has been looking for since the hipster demographic started blipping on their radar with all kinds of disposable income. She is a plastic, over-produced pop star that has no worth or purpose but to suck money out of you and make you a little bit dumber and more prone to buy the next bullshit bucket of schlock that MTV ironically throws your way.

Dear god, they're beating us at our own game.


  1. So I suppose Hot Topic used to be the nerdy, comic book, cartoons clothing store...and how ironic it was that you spell out your dorkiness even if you knew what you were doing. Hahaha. I'm glad i'm not a hipster, i live in my head i have my own problems there.

  2. True Blood is good

  3. I buy most of what you say. But I'm going to say it right now, and I don't care what the implications are: Poker Face is a damn good pop song.

  4. I sure hope that "Rich" doesn't come packaged with a "Gegick" or I've just lost all faith in humanity.