Wednesday, June 11, 2003

What Is Hip? USA Today tackles the age-old question, noting that the centripetal acceleration on the fashion curve is pulling more g-force than a Saturn rocket on liftoff. "Everything is so five minutes ago," declares one expert on the zen of cool. There's the requisite meditation on aping the modes of the lower classes (PBR, John Deere hats), the what's-hot/what's-not graphic, and the phoenix-like state of kitsch -- when something has descended so far along the Great Chain of Being Cool, is so defiantly unhip, that it is exhumed in a fit of hipster necrophilia. (Think of a multi-pierced, mohawk-sporting freak in a Hello Kitty t-shirt.) USA Today even gets off a funny crack at its own expense: If you're reading about it in USA Today, it's not hip anymore. This, I suppose, means irony is definitely unhip.

Well, fashion eats its young, and always was it thus. And it's entertaining to see it happen, too -- like watching the spider eat its eggs on the Discovery Channel. I can remember walking (nervously) through Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in search of take-out tacos. Now its the hip, gentrified place to be. I remember my "Dukes of Hazzard" lunchbox, which is now -- via some thrift shop alchemy -- no doubt being carried by one of the fashion elite.

When I see him, I can tell him, "I was carrying that lunchbox before it was hip."

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