Trends That Need to End in 2010
It was a weird year—a year we won’t be sorry to see go. Natasha Vargas-Cooper picks 2009’s worst cultural trends, from Ed Hardy to bacon-love to tween-bashing.
Wasn’t this past year surreal? Pigs infecting us with plague, President Obama, media bloodbaths, the great celebrity die off, protests in the form of 140 characters, and sex with the undead became super hot thanks to a sparkly teen. In such double-take times we clung—tightly—to the things, silly things, that we have outgrown. They are as follows!
Criticizing reality television is just an overly simplistic way of saying that people themselves are gross.
For years now, healthy well-intentioned hipster hate has broiled on culture blogs. And rightly so. Watching hipsters’ fanny-packed hips sway aloofly to electroclash; or listening to them espouse on the “fill-your-chest-until-it-bursts” beauty of Wes Anderson; or their mindless championing of anything that leaned to the political left could fill any hot-blooded human with scorn. But the hipster fashion wave has swelled, dispersed, and become ubiquitous, soiling everyone from the Olsen twins to twentysomething mall employees in skinny jeans and neon Nikes. With such mass production and mainstream embrace of the hipster look, singling them out as some kind of worthy subculture is a waste of a keystroke. But if you do happen to encounter true believers of manufactured wackiness and fedoras, pay them no heed! The entire ethos of hipsterdom relishes flagellation. Nothing reinforces a hipster’s level of self-importance more than your judgment.
There was a 2012-style explosion of this gaudy, bedazzled bullshit in the middle of this year. What? How did this fashion line gain any traction? Who said, “Yes. I would love a tiger covered in glitter sprawled over some Microsoft Word Olde English font across my too-tight-around-the-belly-T-shirt?” Honestly, who said this? I would like their home address and a list of their fears.
Hey, stop being mean to that young girl in the body glitter and Twilight tee! Tweens are not a new phenom of course (12-year-olds have been around since the early 1800s, you guys), but admonishing them for siphoning American Idol votes away from some soulful, matronly black lady and giving them over to a milquetoast dreamboat, or for their screeching about vampires, is bad form! Their enthusiasm, devotion, and mixed-up sense of romance for squinty boys is one of the more quaint aspects of pop culture.
Talking About Twitter
Twitter as a dilemma. Twitter as an institution. Twitter as a threat. Twitter as a revolution. Let us skip Twitter.
Awkward Leading Men
Pack it up, pigeon-chested young men! The Michael Ceras, John Krasinskis, Joseph Gordon-Levitts and all the other well-meaning, fragile, cerebral, maladjusted boys with anemic sexual personas and childlike notions about women. Remember when you had to flash a little peen in the movies to get some cred as a leading man (miss you, Harvey Keitel)? We are counting on you, Jon Hamm, to slam us into the mattresses of 2k10.
Snark had such great run. And it was so great and necessary; piercing a hole through that manufactured stentorian tone of old media, but man, talk about market saturation. Maybe it was the election of Obama and residual trauma of the Bush years, or the collapse financial markets, but sarcasm and irony just won’t do. Now that the authority of print is dissolving into the more fluid forms of online publishing, maybe the Internet is a good a place as any to write things with sincerity. So, the new headline: THE INTERNET OUTGROWS ITS INFERIORTY COMPLEX IN 2K10!
Criticizing reality television is just an overly simplistic way of saying that people themselves are gross. People have been gross forever! From Spartacus to Nitro, people have been gross. Are murderers like the Megan Wants a Millionaire psycho worse MURDERERS because they also go on reality dating shows? Are bad parents—who should just be abusing their kids in their own home, like the Heenes—somehow worse child abusers because their crazy balloon boy minds are trying to get them on television as well? Sex-slave dungeons are no less dungeon-y when the dungeon master is on TV! All reality TV does is put a big old spotlight on all the sordid behaviors have always existed. And isn’t it better that we see it rather than just reading about it in some Florida daily crime blotter?
First it started with bacon. What was once an innocent Sunday morning treat became a culinary armband that signaled “I don’t eat junk food, and my favorite micro green is kale but I do love being terribly naughty and wrapping this bacon around my Turkish figs! Can I get you some more Yerba Mate?” Then it was cupcakes. Butter-packed soul-bombs that sent you back to second-grade birthday parties. And now in 2010 it could be dolphin-safe tuna casseroles, or some other kind of “low brow” food elevated to the suit the delicate palates of foodies and Michael Pollan fans. Enough. Drench me in high fructose and let’s call it a decade.
This tradition of free labor to enter some creative profession is outdated horseshit. Now that the Internet has de-professionalized and democratized our generation, 2k9 should be the last year that we ever need to pay dues by working for some boomer with a pension and “a vision” for free. It lowers the expectations and productivity of bright young things who are willing to break their backs just to get paid at a third of the rate of what you do with you rather than for you. The idea of an aspiring blogger, photographer, or screenwriter submitting themselves to useless tutelage is absurd. You could be all those things you want to be. Whatever you want to be, you should just be it. And I bet there's a sick iPhone app for it, too!