WEAKNESS IS STRENGTH (and Other Orwellian Twists Courtesy of Our Confused Pals in the Haute-Hipoisie)
Mar 28, 2007, 01:53
Went to a show last night at El Rio. I like the joint, a casual and homey hole with cheap drinks and shuffleboard, but the crowd made me want to go all Stalin on a buncha fuckers. Have you noticed how today's hipsters seem to own no muscular system whatsoever? It's all slack faces, slumped over shoulders, and soft bodies, as if their entire bodies had atrophied from lack of physical toil and mental adversity. Add to that the widespread sickness of irony and fashion posturing and you have a cult without any ability to project a force of individual will.
Don't get me wrong: I'm no fan of neckless hardcore thugs, e.g., those meatheads from the Boston Beatdown DVD. But I coulda used just one decent, dangerous outburst of primal punk anger to reaffirm that the whole underground rock scene hasn't become childish, retro, and pathetic...
...and then a spongy, round marshmallow of a man took the stage. Looking like a weird, shrunken cross between Sonny Bono, Gordon Gano, and Fat Mike from NOFX, he proceeded to wail a wobbly set of solo "songs" that couldn't maintain a consistent rhythm, were marred by botched chords, and overwhelmed by his complete failure to sing on key. It was like watching that weeper from Casiotone for the Painfully Alone trying to cover Daniel Johnston on a guitar he didn't know how to play. I was in agony. AND THE AUDIENCE LOVED IT. I realized it has finally come to this: The inability to articulate has now been recast as charming naivetÃ©; the inability to perform has now been recast as willful, punk-inspired rejection of polish; and the inability to express original emotion has been recast as ironic commentary on our ersatz American Idol society.
It's all bullshit, of course.
What it all adds up to is an intentional hijacking of indie culture by untalented wannabe intellectuals, artists and musicians who, lacking any actual skills, used their collegiate degrees to bum-rush the music media and pop-cult apparatus over the past decade and, through sheer force of numbers—via zines, blogs, online mags like Pitchfork, and even mainstream outlets as banal as the New York Times and Rolling Stone—convince the nation that their flaws and lack of aptitude were actually secret strengths. Grade everything on their new curve, where fumbling ineptitude becomes instant folk art. Please don't ask us to challenge ourselves. In this new anti-meritocracy, all must be embraced with equal ears...thus allowing their occasional gleams of cleverness to shine above the otherwise lifeless and lackluster music, art, and performance.
And what was Marshmallow Man's funny, clever, intellectual twist on tonight's performance? An insipid cover of "I Started a Joke" by the Bee Gees. Oh, how HILARIOUS. Y'know, indie kids, I bet even Kelly Clarkson would have been enlightened enough to catch an ironic meatball that obvious.
Final note: Jello Biafra was in the audience at the beginning of the night. I assure you, at least HE knows the difference between pointed satire and puerile irony. He was also noticeably missing while Marshmallow Man lowered the IQs and the quality standards of the room later on. Hopefully he was at another show, scouting for some real talent. Not the inefficacious replacements offered by today's limp hipster elite.
Now, if you'll pardon me, I have some Atari 2600 video games to play and episodes of Knight Rider to watch while I get out the finger paints to work on the cover art for my latest zine, Purple Rainbow Battle Zone: Deathwolf vs. the Squirrel Assassin. It's gonna be a huge seller on Insound. I can feel it.