Friends, Enemies, and Internet Losers: I have returned.

Posts tagged “sillyness

Hair-brained Year-long Project #18284-F: The dress

Okay.

I have decided I am making a dress (not for me, thx).

I’ve always liked fashion. But I can’t sketch, stitch, cut, or sew.

I am starting from scratch. But with my library card, my passion for ridiculous ideas, and my mom’s sewing machine, I’m giving myself one year, 365 days, to design and make a dress. Why? Why the fuck not?

Advertisements

The History of the Hipster

The common mosquito, in its current form, is over 95 million years old. Despite its many eons of bothering the hell out of others and the sad truth that it probably isn’t going to go away any time soon, we still feel the need to complain about it, them. This is not hard to believe of course; they are annoying as hell and generally don’t provide a whole lot in return. Some would argue the same could be said of hipsters. I’m deciding. Granted they haven’t been around for 95 million years. Contemporary hipsters can be traced back a decade or so. But, as I will explain, there have always been hipsters, the parasitic culture gentrifier.

A Time article, written almost a year ago to the day, outlines the modern hipster. Dan Fletcher describes them as “smug, full of contradictions and, ultimately, the dead end of Western civilization.” This may be a bit harsh, but it’s not the first time it has been said.

Herb Caen, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, coined the term “beatnik” in 1958. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were not amused. If you read the Beat writers’ work, you’d know they almost always had jobs and worked very hard to play very hard. Kerouac was admitted to Columbia on a football scholarship, a strange crossover for the King of the Beats. They did not create a scene, but drew attention to it. This is the invitation, the opening of the door that beckons to all the hipsters. In a letter to the New York Times Ginsberg wrote, “if the beatniks and not the illuminated Beat poets overrun this country, they will have been created not by Kerouac but by industries of mass communication which continue to brainwash men.” When Ginsberg wrote of “Angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,” I suspect he was referring to those who came before, those who were the scene, not the ones who made it. Even the French Revolution was going along swimmingly until Maximillien Robespierre hijacked the Committee for Public Safety and kind of ruined it for everyone. Hipsters have existed everywhere.

The term “hip” is from the jazz clubs of the 30s and 40s. Before that, the etymology becomes a little hazy. Suffice it to say, to be “hip” meant that you were in the know. To be “in the know” now is not very difficult, especially in the digital age, when music and image are swapped like so many hockey cards. I think what angers a lot of people is that the hipster culture isn’t a culture; it’s a flea market where culture is bought and sold. Fletcher writes, “…instead of creating a culture of their own, hipsters proved content to borrow from trends long past.” Indeed. I once had a 15 year old kid tell me that I was responsible for Kurt Cobain’s death because I “didn’t appreciate him.” I didn’t have a calendar on hand, but simple math revealed that he would have been two years old when we killed Cobain and not even an egg-seeking sperm when “Bleach” was released. That’s probably why I don’t remember seeing him at a show.

You would never go to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. dressed as a veteran if you were born in 1987. The Black Label Society had to cancel a show in Manchester because of threats of violence from a local motorcycle club. The club argued that BLS’s use of “rockers” on their jackets was an insult to any 1%er who’d actually earned them.

So is there anything actually wrong with a parasitic subculture intent on the lifelong search for cool? If there is, I blame Henry V. His Saint Crispin’s day speech called out all the “gentlemen in England now abed” and called their “manhoods cheap.” Essentially, if you’re not at the party, if you’re not hip, you suck and should think yourself “accursed.” Maybe that’s a bit of stretch. We are a society of consumers, of course, but cultures are supposed to produce as well. The true danger of a parasitic culture is not what it feeds on but how it feeds.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a sentiment first expressed in the 3rd century BC by some Greek guy, then it doesn’t actually exist except in the abstract. We must see it for it to exist. This would also imply we should look for it. But if our search only extends as far as what someone else has told us is beautiful, the buck stops at the “industries of mass communication” Ginsberg railed against.

Candace Pert was responsible for discovering the opiate receptor in the human brain. In a 1981 interview with OMNI she stated, “Heroin bludgeons the opiate receptors into submission, functionally shrinking them.” In other words, if we keep outsourcing our opiates (she also stated that most drugs have less potent, natural analogs within the human body) our bodies can lose the ability to use our own; if we never leave the house, we become dependent on the deliveryman. This is the danger of the cool-seeker who doesn’t actually look. Hunter S. Thompson takes a similar stab at Leary’s Acid Culture in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, calling them “a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture.”

I too am a cool seeker. I too am a hipster in some aspects. But I want to believe that I replace that which I mine from the depths of culture in equal measures. I write about culture and society not to hand down truth from on high but to inspire you to take up the search as well. As Shakespeare wrote in Love’s Labour’s Lost, “Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye, / Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues.”

So we continue to swat at the hipsters buzzing around us. They’re not going anywhere though so get used to them. As for yourself, art can be art for art’s sake but cool shouldn’t be cool for its own sake. Cool is the blind faith of the unoriginal. At least that’s what I heard.


Border Towns: Myth v. Fact when it came to my passport[s]

Someone once told me that the United States doesn’t recognize dual citizenship between the US and Canada. That didn’t sound right to me. Guess what… it wasn’t. The United States most certainly recognizes dual citizenship between our two countries. You only run into problems if, when you became a citizen of Canada, you meant to renounce your US citizenship. For myself, I didn’t. In fact, becoming a Canadian citizen was a passive act for me. While I sat (or stood) doing whatever it was I was doing on my 24th birthday, I became a Canadian citizen.

I was born in the US – Greenwich, CT to be exact. I have often joked that having been born in Greenwich and raised in West Vancouver, BC, my snob pedigree is perfect. Both my parents are Canadian (born and raised in the Kootenays) so I was considered a Canadian citizen born abroad. Because I lived in Canada when I reached the age of 24, I became a full Canadian citizen.

When I applied for my Canadian passport, I needed a guarantor’s signature, and those of two references. For my US passport, I just needed my birth certificate (stamped with the seal of the issuing State) and picture ID. I used my Canadian passport. Which leads me to myth number two: The US won’t allow you to carry two passports.

BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Thanks for playing.

The woman at the US Consulate in Vancouver told me that when arriving in the US, arrive as an American. When arriving in Canada, arrive as a Canadian. That’s two passports kiddies. Surprised me too.

Lastly, though it pains me to say it, these idiot Tea Partiers might actually have something with this smaller government thing. It took two and a half weeks for my Canadian passport to show up and about two hours to apply for it. My US passport took me less than 45 minutes to apply for and arrived a week and a day later. Of course, when it comes to government, if the US can figure out healthcare and education for its (our?) citizens I’d be willing to wait another ten days for my passport.


keeping positive.

The only thing worse than being sick is being dead – that and “Jersey Shore.” In an effort to keep my spirits high, I have decided to look at the upside and write about all the good things that come about as a result of the world famous, head cold. So, here is the silver lining that is slowly dripping out of my sinus cavity:

A) People don’t know what a sap you are: Because your eyes are watering so much, they can’t tell if you have a cold or if you just watched the episode of “Highway to Heaven” where the little girl with leukemia gets to swim with the dolphins after replacing her prosthetic legs that were lost in the horrible school bus crash caused by her family swerving off the road to miss Terry Fox running  with a box of puppies.

B) Drugs: Nobody wants you to go to work and make them sick too so you get to sit at home watching the walls melt.

C) Better seats on the bus: These days one sneeze/snort combo and you’re riding in style with a whole section to yourself until another sick person gets on and your section kind of turns into a leper colony.

D) Lots of hot showers with no guilt: It was Mother Nature and her germs that did this to you so the bitch can suffer with you for a day.

E) Soup: Soup is awesome. Let’s all just admit this and move on.

F) Oprah: She’ll be gone soon. You better try to get in some “me” time while you can. See “A” above.

G) You have at least one day of bossing your roommates around: They’ll put up with you for one day because they want the same treatment when they get sick and one look at you and they know they will.

H) Cherry Halls: “Dissolve one tablet slowly in the mouth as required.” *Crunch* Next…

I) Pajamas: I have long been a supporter of the notion that one not get dressed should they not need to. Pajamas are the shit, even you have to have several pairs on call with all the joyous night sweating that goes on.

J) The Fever: Suckers all over the world shell out good cash for designer drugs to feel the way you do the night you have the fever. Fever dreams are so intense that being sick is almost worth it for that exact reason. Bon Voyage!


Relationship advice

I don’t ACTUALLY freak out

it’s fine until I start thinking and thinking about it

I’m actually insane


Did I mention I love mail?

Somewhere in New York, two women are laughing themselves silly. Maybe it’s because of the Valentine’s Day card – “I think the best time to get cards is a week or so after the holiday for which they are intended… It adds an element of surprise… Surprise!” – but I have a sneaking suspicion that it has more to do with the other contents of the package. The drawing, poem, and letter were greatly appreciated but their service to our wonderful city did not go unnoticed. Seems they, like everyone else in the world, have perceived that Vancouver is having a little problem with the “Winter” part of our Winter Olympics. I love mail.


don't you gimme no lines and keep your hands to yourself

The following is a verbatim transcription of a chat we had this morning. I have the greatest friends in the world and I am determined to slowly prove to all of you that this is indeed the case. Deliciously out of character but a smile generator nonetheless. It is definitely the “cute shit my friend says to me on Facebook Chat.”

Friend – :S

i feel bad.

Baron – why?

sick

or did you do something stupid again?

Friend – haha

read the link [to a review of a recent show, at which, she kind of started a fight]

Baron – your fight?

nice

Friend – i feel really bad

how stupid of me

hope that didn’t ruin her show for her [the reviewer]

Baron – Does she know it was you?

Friend –  no

Baron – dare ya to tell her. Tell her why too! Some douche getting all pushy and feeling you up so you let him have it

Friend – i donno if i was right or wrong in doing that, but damn