Thursday, April 23, 2015

Star Wars, hipsters, and their unholy union...

Hipsters.  They have an amazing ability to co-opt things they didn't invent and make them popular.  Too popular.  Annoyingly popular.  Stupid popular.  This irritates me.  I have touched on this before.  Things I have enjoyed for decades in relative anonymity have now been thrust into the corporate spotlight (due to corporations slavish devotion to try to sell ANYTHING to that all important 18-25 demographic*) as well as all over mass media.  This has had the unfortunate effect of driving up the prices on things I love, as well as making them nauseatingly trendy.  The list (although not all-inclusive) of these items include: bourbon (I've been drinking it forever, and it's been the adult beverage of choice in my family for generations.  Previous 20-something's view of bourbon, and really, whiskey, in general: "Ewwwww!  Tastes like gasoline!  Where's the Smirnoff Ice????" Now?  "It's soooo good!  You can really taste the " as they try and not gag and secretly wish there was a melon flavored something they could enjoy without shame); maple syrup (fake pancake syrup is gross.  I have held this standard as far back as I can remember.  Generally, if it's not available, I will change my breakfast order to a dish that doesn't require syrup.  It just tastes BETTER.  By far.  Now?  Somebody has decided that real maple syrup has some kind of anti-oxidant benefit and is an acceptable "natural" sweetener for a New Agey diet.  It's been lumped into Agave syrup and other exotics.  Whatever.  Thanks for doubling its price you twats**); butter (been the family standard cooking fat of choice since I was born, as well as the obvious choice for toast, etc.  I used to go to friends homes as a kid and they'd offer me margarine and it was all I could do not to wretch as I tried to choke it down.  I discovered grass fed butter when I went to England in 1995.  I loved it.  Kerry Gold was the closest to it you could get here, and I used to buy it as a treat...was awesome on sourdough with blackberry jam.  Now?  It's the uber cool thing to mix into your coffee.  Um...ok.  So now, every Silicon Valley master of the universe is mixing it into their fair trade, organic, lizard dung beans every morning for it's transformative health benefits.  Again, giant "what-evs" from me...other than, again, thanks for driving the price through the roof); bacon (used to be bacon was Satan's candybar.  The nitrates!  Meat is murder!  Cancer!  Etc. Etc.  And it was cheap...generally, the cheapest cut of meat at the grocery store.  Now?  Every dingleberry with a beard and waxed mustache has webpages devoted to the worship of it, and restaurateurs and food trucks have entire lines of cuisine devoted to it.  Again, the end result?  Bacon is like the price of steak now, and suddenly a delicacy that can be found coated in chocolate, on donuts, and mixed into ice-cream); slim-cut jeans (when I was in high-school, you could not find a slim-cut jean.  Most folks had to either fold over the pant leg and cuff it up, or, if you were a bit more punkish, some folks would safety pin them up along the seam.  Me?  I got tired of messing with it and would rip the seam out and have my mom...who could blissfully them up to my satisfaction.  It wasn't perfect, but it would do.  Now?  The glockenspiel and flannel shirt crowd wears jeans so tight they must cut off circulation to their ankles.  Fine.  Whatever.  But when I wear a pair of jeans with a slender cut, the same way I have since about '84-'85, I feel like I'm being shamelessly trendy, as opposed to wearing the same jeans I have for the last 30 years, and will continue to wear when they are no longer in style, and the "kids" go back to wearing jeans that fit like a circus tent); desert boots (I've been wearing them since 1988, and I have the pics to prove it.  For reasons I do not understand, they became "the shit".  Again, prices exploded.  Blissfully waiting for the day they become passe, and I can wear my Clarks in peace again); tacos (how much do I love tacos?  I found one of my mom's old diaries where an entry talks about when I was 3 yrs. old and recovering from pneumonia, my mom knew I was on the mend because I ate TWO tacos.  It used to be you had to go to the latin part of town to find a good taco, because the only other choice was Taco Bell...which is fine if you're drunk, or starving and in a hurry, or both, but it's hardly the epitome of the taco.  Now?  Food trucks roam the streets featuring things like Korean rib and kimchi tacos.  For some reason, it has been decided the fried corn tortilla has been declared the hipster food delivery starch of choice.  I'm waiting for the maple infused bacon taco with a bourbon reduction to emerge from the pierced eyebrow crowd), etc.  You get the picture here.  There's more, like the sudden re-emergence of shoegaze music, but I'll save that rant for another time.  So, my latest annoyance?  The worship of STAR WARS.

I have a strong emotional attachment to Star Wars.  I saw the original release when it debuted in 1977, and remember being a wee tyke standing in line for HOURS outside the theater in a line that wrapped around the building multiple times.  I remember thinking "this is stupid....why are we waiting so long?  I want to go're screwing up my Saturday and cartoon watching time".  Then, I finally got into the theater, and my mind was absolutely blown for the next two hours.  It was a game changer.  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING had ever been made like that before.  I was instantaneously hooked.  I bought the soundtrack records (yes, records.  33 1/3 baby...) and listened to them obsessively.  I saw it in the theaters on its original run like 4-5 times (a big deal back then), watched the Christmas specials, The Muppet Show specials, had every toy released, etc.  In 1983 for Return of the Jedi, as a brand new teen, I honestly developed my "Slave Leia" obsession (this obsession was only nearly equalled by that other transformative female lead in a Sci-Fi moment I had experienced years earlier: Jenny Agutter in Logan's Run...ah, memories) by actually seeing Carrie Fisher in the movie in an unexpected way, as opposed to it being some sort of now cool nerd fetish.  When Empire was released, I found a pair of ski goggles and would wrap a sock (I didn't own a scarf) around my mouth while wearing a winter jacket (this is in the middle of a Fresno summer, btw) so I could look like the Rebel troops fighting the Imperial Army on Hoth.  My parents thought I was more than a little odd.  Years later, when the prequels were released, despite how I may have felt about them, I watched and enjoyed them for what they were.  I didn't go on tirades about how George Lucas had screwed up the franchise, etc. (here's a concept: it was HIS franchise.  He could "do" with it as he pleased).  I was especially galled when 20-somethings, too young to have seen the originals when they came out, or even most theatrical re-releases, wrote long and lengthy pieces about how they felt their childhood was now tarnished by these new abominations.  Really?  What childhood memories?  What Kairotic moment?  Sitting at home on the sofa and watching them on VHS/DVD while you simultaneously played your Nintendo DS?  That's not an investment.  That's not a transitive moment.  They simply cannot know what it was like to stand in the heat for 4-5 hours to see something wholly new.  So new, Lucas had to invent new cameras and XF techniques just to make the movies.  These Gen-Y, Gen-Next nattering nabobs of narcissism grew up with the XF blockbuster.  The movie world was transformed long before they started watching movies.

Anyways, something happened in the last few years to where Star Wars became a "thing".  Girls are now sporting hoochie R2-D2 dresses and Slave Leia costumes at conventions, guys are getting Sith Lord tattoos, blah blah blah.  Whenever I see a 23 year old exclaim, "I'm such a Star Wars nerd!", I want to ask, "Why?"  Did they stand in line as a child for hours on end to see the films because there was no cable or at home video?  Did the movies open up a new world of fantasy that had never been seen before?  Just why, exactly, do you have a Wookie tattooed to your ass?  I'm curious...please enlighten me.  I don't think they really know, other than some Borg-like, nerd hive-mind somewhere decided "Thou shalt like Star Wars!  Oh, and bacon and whiskey too...", and like the empty headed lemmings they are, they all swan-dove off of the bearded, craft brewed, locally sourced cliff.
So, here we are, another thing sullied by the hipster d-bag crowd.  Is it too much to expect these folks to come up with something on their own?  Or are they too creatively bankrupt?  Maybe their electronic interconnectedness has prevented anyone from breaking out from the crowd and come up with their own thing?  Their generation blockbuster movies are all based on comic books going back decades.  Where's their George Lucas?  Actually, that's not entirely fair.  They have been great at technical innovation.  I give them credit for taking the internet revolution and running with it.  But they seem so tech heavy/savvy, so obsessed with the technical, the digital, the STERILE, they seem to lack the ability to indulge in the ephemeral, or even the corporeal.  They're so bored and over stimulated, they've never experienced a true visceral moment.  Seems kind of sad...***

Anyways, here's a few other things I massively enjoyed in my younger days.  Let's see how long before they become bastardized by the hipster crowd: original, un-pc Warner Bros. cartoons, especially any featuring Daffy Duck in a satirical role (Duck Dodgers, The Scarlet Pumperkickel, Duck Twacy, etc.); ska logo t-shirts (Specials/The Beat, etc); the Ibanez MC 800/900 bass guitar; pot roast/beef stew; the Tom Collins; and bikini underwear on women (as opposed to the "thong"...bleh).
Let's see what happens...

*when KFC and Budweiser are making commercials featuring the mustachioed crowd, the supposed lovers of irony (as evidenced by their beloved t-shirts) are failing to grasp that they, themselves, have become ironic  
**my chosen name for hipsters, and often used together.  See "hipster twats" in previous posts.
***Sad or not, you've stained Star Wars...and for that, there is no sympathy or forgiveness      

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