Friday, July 18, 2008

Satire: Always hitting the nail on the head

In my vast wanderings in the music blog aggregator Hype Machine, I often come across a brilliant blog called HIPSTER RUNOFF. HIPSTER RUNOFF sometimes posts mp3s, but it's largely dedicated to mocking hipsters on Myspace and party photo sites. It's also conducting a social survey of all things "alt" - the "alt bro" ("I am a bro with facial hair. This is me."), the perfect alternative breast (which size is most alt?), and alt-cities, such as the one I call home.

And I quote:

I'd say Austin, TX is pretty good example of 'shitty city who is gimmickifying it's underwhelmingly-alternative brand', too. Most of the music in Austin, TX is more approachable indie fodder than the Portland concept crap, so I'll give the edge to Portland when it comes to 'moderately alt cities that major-city-alts-want-to-move-to-bc-they-think-their-life-will-be-simple, yet-authentic,yet-still-as-alt as they feel comfortable with.' No matter what, we all need an alt-city full of alts to feel comfortable around without the high-cost-of-living that major metropolitan areas have. Don't you feel like you have met a lot of people who have idealized Portland and Austin as 'heaven on alt-earth'? Like they imagine settling down with a humble-&-emotionally-connected trophy alt who is done with his/her 'partying phase' and ready to start buying well-designed carriages for their newborn babies (lil alts).

Common traits of overhyped 2nd rate alternative cities:
  • Perception of being 'green'
  • Perception of a bustling 'local economy'
  • A high 'basically unemployment' rate (this figure represents people who are over 30, but still have the jobs a 16 year old would have)
  • An excess of corporate and independent coffee shops
  • An excess of people with too many tattoos working in independent coffee shops
  • An excess of coffee shop employees playing RLLY gimmicky 'interesting' music in coffee shops during their shifts/playing the albums of their friend's band who sound exactly like _______
  • Overhearing the 'future plans' of people who work in these coffee shops to start their own business in design/food/recordstore/boutique/other alternative biz idea.
  • An excess of people in bands that have shows in an excess of venues
  • An otherwise stable maintream economy which allows the alternative population to work in the service industry. While this usually happens in all cities, the minorities in the service industry are replaced by these aging alts.
  • Overhearing all of these people talking about stuff that was cool between 2 to 40 years ago. They basically have a 2 year delay on 'what is currently cool' and usually just rely on 'liking aesthetics/bands that are from before 1985.'
  • A handful of decent bands, a few imitators, and a bunch of krappie bands that have tied their identity to their home city and guilt their friends into attending their show/post a lot of myspace bulletins to impressionable local-17-year olds.
  • They attempt to assert their city-wide inferiority complexes by having excessive representation when it comes to liberal activities, particularly 'marches.' Examples include Gay Pride Marches, Anti-Racism Marches, Marches Against 'The War', and general Marches Against Stuff That Exists Because of Conservative People.
  • These cities have significant populations of 'cool dads' and 'free spirited moms' by choice/believe in their personal images, as opposed to the real-city versions of these parents who are simply 'participating in a gimmick which they have no control over.'
  • A lot of these cities have a major university or a well-branded liberal arts school with a progressive identity which the 'hip side of town' feels like they need to cater to in order to keep up sales of vegan wraps, pizza-made-from-only-organic-ingredients, and interesting t-shirts.

Living in alt-heaven feels so right.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Today's favorites

Bumper stickers sighted:

"Pro-Accordion & I VOTE!"

"At least we're doing well with the war on the environment."

Pixar movie that "everyone is talking about":

Wall-E, of course.

I saw it last night, and you know how I'm a sucker for robots in love. I kept thinking how the robot love message would prime a whole generation for having weirdly intimate relationships with robots. (Sci-fi is near reality now, folks.) I also kept thinking that the post-apocalyptic Earth Wall-E lives on is scarily realistic. Abandoned by humans, with giant towers of waste lining the sky. Waterways disappeared, a barren planet. Kudos to the people at Pixar for impressing those images on the minds of children, even those with conservative parents.

However, with my characteristic environmental pessimism, I disagree with the optimism of the latter half of the movie. It gives the message: So we'll fuck up the Earth, but at least we can escape on our giant spaceship, and then recolonize later. Even if we've gotten far stupider and fatter in the seven hundred years in between, and appear to be in no condition to do any form of work. For example: All of humanity claps when the spaceship captain manages to stand on his sausage feet and determinedly waddle forward. Then he speaks of growing "pizza plants." Perhaps there is a hidden seed bank of Domino's GM crop?

Regardless, if I had a child, I would let him watch this movie repeatedly. It's definitely cute. But the cutest part (for me) was when Marshall yelled out at the robots, "KEEP THE PLANT IN THE BOX!" and kind of thrust out his hands as if to take the plant from the screen. It was a very dramatic moment in the movie, and the plant held the future of humanity. But meanwhile, the 5 year old sitting next to us managed to contain himself.