13 February 2009


High school Valentine's Day has got to stimulate the economy at least a little. So many balloons. My homeroom teacher called the whole ordeal VD -- infectious and drippy.

I woke up at 4 to make cookies for a friend's birthday and was overall not in a good mood, sleepy and alone and sad that I have to put my trusty minivan to rest. On my way out of my lit class, my friend Sammi points to a Valentine on the floor. I pick it up. It's for Sarah! From Allie. Apparently, Sarah is purrrfect. There's a picture of a cat on it too, in traditional elementary school style.

So this is for Allie, wherever you are. I hope the intended Sarah doesn't miss her valentine too much, cause I needed it. Made my day.

I left it in a different hallway for another Sarah to find. My little contribution to somebody's happiness for the weekend.

08 February 2009

Town Mob Meeting

I went to a town hall meeting with my congressman Representative John Linder yesterday. It broke my heart.

In case I’d forgotten where I live (I guess I’ve surrounded myself with too many people who read blogs and care about the world), I was reminded that Georgia is indeed red. There were a couple hundred people crammed into the Sugar Hill Community Center. Palin bumper stickers outnumbered black people (there were seven).

The Fair Tax crazies and even one ardent Anti-Federalist who went everywhere with his copy of the Constitution and defending states rights came out to the meeting. I was one of maybe ten people under thirty. I’d have been surprised if there were more than a dozen Democrats. One of my vols who came left twenty minutes in because she couldn’t stand it. I’m glad she left.

It was frustrating. I’d forgotten people could be so hateful.

Linder was very paternal in his sweater, citing classical economists and Cicero for his opposition to the bailout and championing the Fair Tax as the solution to the country’s ills that were being caused by illegal immigrants and unwed mothers. He, as well as at least half the people in the room, genuinely believed this.

When one brave woman praised FDR (not even Obama), she was booed and laughed at. Even Linder chuckled.

He made sure to call on a black person. When she asked, “Since it looks like the bailout will pass, how do you plan to secure some of those jobs for Gwinnett?” she too was booed.

One man stood and asked, “Senator, how do we fire Washington?”
So many things are wrong with that question, the least of which is that Linder isn’t a senator.

Another man suggested we hold another Constitutional Convention. When everyone started talking over each other about how they wanted things to go back to the way they used to be, another of my volunteers and one of the seven black people in the room said out loud, “I don’t want to be a slave.” She was shushed.

Of course there was the Second Amendment question. "Obama is on the bullet train to taking away our bullets," said one guy in the audience. Linder said he wished Obama would try and that he wouldn't let that happen. How comforting, just like Big Daddy Saxby.

The bailout was of course a popular topic. One person asked Linder what he was doing to stop it and who he could call. He said that Washington should leave America alone and let the market fix itself.

We can’t use this as an excuse to pay off all the interest groups that bought the election, said the woman standing next to me. She and I then had a “discussion” that ended in her yelling at me in whispers about ACORN and then stalking off when I mentioned how a third of the campaign funds came from donations under $250. I finally got a chair to sit in.

Another man asked when the Republican Party would kick out Olympia Snowe for voting with “those Democrats.” At one point, Linder said (and I quote, because I wrote it down it made me so angry), “Thankfully, all the big newspapers are dying,” so then the liberal media would stop influencing the country so much.

I don't know if I've been living in a bubble where there's hope for the world or if they all are living in a bubble that still wants plantations.

At the end of the meeting, one man from the crowd came to the front and took the microphone. He told us he’d been in Nam (cue the standing ovation) and had the solution to the economy’s troubles. Pause for dramatic effect. Pray. We just all needed to pray and leave it in God’s hands.

I was really impressed my car didn’t get keyed. I came home and cried.

06 February 2009

I hate myself a little bit.

Earlier this week, I was at a show in Atlanta. The guy in front of me, in his sweater over his plaid shirt (I'm always shocked by how much plaid I see when I'm at a show), said of the people on the floor, "Yeah, all the hipsters are down here." From the way he said it, it seemed like he didn't consider himself one of them.

And, embarrassingly enough, I scoffed at him. Like I didn't consider myself one either. Like I was removed from the scene.

Isn't that what I didn't like about him?

Is that wrong? I mean. I knew where to find the cheap parking around Variety Playhouse just like everyone else. The secret exit to the secret parking lot? Dozens of hipsters streaming out of it after the encore. Why do I think I'm better than the girl who wore cat ears? The multitudes in their wool hats? We were all there to watch Andrew Bird. I was no more entitled to enjoy the show than they were, just because I starting listening to his albums three years ago.

The term "hipster" originated in the 1940s, describing people, who, sort of like the beatniks etc., smoked a lot of weed, rejected their supposed roles in middle class society, and liked the alternative jazz music of the time. Seems sort of familiar.

I think, essentially, what makes a hipster is the qualification that you need to believe that you are not a hipster. Not many people embrace the term, despite what Stuff White People Like may suggest.

I know a kid who has a tan line from his American Apparel deep-V shirts. He doesn't think he's a hipster.

Today, these people "escaping" the mainstream have coalesced and created their own. You like Girl Talk? Isn't it a shame that Arrested Development got canceled? What's your favorite Wes Anderson movie? Is Chuck Klosterman too much like Dave Eggers? These are all conversations I've had at least once. (Yes, oh yes, Rushmore, and No! Go read Killing Yourself to Live.) After a bit, I wonder if I actually like the things I like. Or if maybe since we're all the same, we subconsciously just adopt the same interests and then pretend we discovered them. Or it could be coincidence?

The hipster movement is post-postmodernism cemented into a culture. It's the reaction to postmodernism, the reaction to being self-aware—being so self-aware that you realize you don't want to be. That that's not cool. It's wearing non-prescription glasses and pretending you don't read Pitchfork. And, I guess, it's writing blogs about hipsters.

Maybe I'm too hard on myself. I hope.