Chunklet to Go Go

"Cool" Comes from Borderline Autistic People

By Ben Johnson

f

When I write things on the internet about some things being good and other things not being good, people often accuse me of having a “hipster attitude.” This does not bother me. Those people are probably just upset because they like something I just described as not being good, and are defensive about that even though opinions on the internet should be taken about as seriously as farts in an old folks’ home. 

As for being a “hipster,” I am currently wearing an Old Navy sweater and Land’s End pants, both gifts from not especially hip people who are justifiably worried that I would just walk around naked without their help. I’m also watching multiple baseball games on the internet, which, thanks to my involvement in fantasy baseball, I consider “research.” There is a 96 percent chance I have barbecue sauce on some part of me. As far as I can tell, there is not a female woman within ten miles of here. I don’t know if any of that is currently fashionable or not, but it doesn’t really feel like it. And this is all more or less by design. I like my life.

How in hot holy fuck could a guy like me ever have a “hipster attitude”? The very accusation implies occasional blowjobs. Whatever my “hipster attitude” opinions are, I can assure you they are not helping me get blown.

You know what I think it is? I collect records. It’s a hobby of mine. I like it like other people like other hobbies, such as building model trains and fire eating and dressing up like Swamp Thing in public for a whole weekend. Those hobbies are especially lame hobbies, but all hobbies are essentially lame because they all involve the decision to do only one thing instead of just livin’ life without spending hours on end “perfecting” the completely unnecessary face ridges on a Swamp Thing costume. At a certain point, all hobbies become excessive and obsession-driven, often to a near-chronic degree.

Collecting records is a hobby that people sometimes think is “cool” if they are curious about recorded music. Everybody likes music. People who collect records all the time and therefore know more things than the average person about recorded music are often helpful to regular human beings who like music but aren’t making a whole ding dang lifestyle out of it. If you can amiably pull off those interactions without having a visible boner or smelling like you eat cat food, chances are somebody will eventually think your knowledge is vaguely “cool.” 

Dirty industry secret: record collectors tend to prefer rarer records to more popular, easily attainable ones, because we collect records. THAT’S WHAT WE DO. We look for the rarest possible record we can find that we still enjoy listening to, and then we get it, and then we have it, and then we die, and then our families listen to our copy of Kenneth Higney’s Attic Demonstration and wonder what the hell was wrong with us, and then they dump it all at the local record store, where a new generation of dandruff-riddled halitosis sufferers can’t believe their luck at the score they just ripped off from some dead guy’s estranged niece, and etc. until the end of time.

Nobody in the above-mentioned timeline did anything that could remotely be considered “hip.” Not even Kenneth Higney. Nevertheless, the engrained philosophy “rarer is better” tends to seep from collectors’ every greasy pore. And you know who picks up on that? Regular human people who are curious enough about good music to ask for a little advice from some synaptically-challenged old creep currently presiding over the vinyl-rich dingy back corner of some forgotten flea market. Or, in a twist that is potentially problematic due to anonymity and the ambiguous presentation-driven authority of all things internet (I write, therefore I’m right), that guy’s blog.

Some of these knowledge-seekers are young and impressionable, and maybe due to their personal experiences of being a high school student in addition to thinking some 56-year-old store clerk is “cool,” they get the idea that rare = cool and popular = shitty. Maybe these little cocksuckers try to ape their way into a shorthand version of the supposedly “cool” knowledge they just had dropped on them by whatever tuberculoid weirdo they just pestered. Maybe they develop and exude what many internet commenters think of as a “hipster attitude,” without knowing why, exactly. Maybe this “hipster attitude” becomes so prevalent, due to the seemingly increased cultural importance of knowledge transmittal in the internet age, that it borders on oppressive.

Is that the fault of old Nicotine-Beard back there in his dust palace? Does that make HIM worthy of contempt for having an elitist “hipster attitude”? Maybe if he wrote the single most destructive missive on the entire internet, but even then, if you got a look at the guy, you’d probably laugh yourself sick over the idea of responding to his opinions with anything approaching a defensive posture. This is not a hipster, and if the attitude is a little salty, that’s probably just because the internet has largely usurped whatever hard-won value he placed on the entire contents of his brain. How would you feel if you had to move back in with your parents at age 45? Don’t answer that. I have a feeling I’ll know soon enough.

Don’t worry. I’ll blog about it.

Great records listened to during this writing: Pagans Shit Street compilation (Crypt, 2001); Pagans The Pink Album Plus! compilation (Crypt, 2001); Steel Pole Bathtub Unlistenable reissue (Permanent, 2010); Kenneth Higney Attic Demonstration reissue (One Kind Favor, 2012); Jay Reatard Singles 06-07 compilation (In The Red, 2008).

All other records, opinions, and ways of life: not good.

Previously - We Are All Shitty Buddhists

Comments