Juggalos, Justin Beiber, Emos, Hipsters…everyone’s got their hate bandwagon.
In my youth I saw it all around me and kind of took it as canon.
In the goth clubs. Don’t dance to Manson. Manson’s a poser. Don’t shop at Hot Topic. Suburbans goths suck. New York goths are snobs. DC goths are hicks.
At the punk shows. Spiked hair is for posers. Short mohawks are for posers. Skinheads are all racist, no matter what they say. Hardcore punk is crap. American punk is crap. Pop punk is crap. UK 77 era punk is crap compared to US 77 era punk. Crust punk is for kids that don’t shower. Glam punk is for kids that shower too much.
Now that I’m older, my effort to justify my relationships with people by what music they listen to, or don’t listen to, has officially ended. And frankly it was half-assed to begin with because you can’t keep up. My old crew (and mostly still current crew) was a mix of every kind of misfit, and everyone got along fine. Somewhere in my late teens to early 20’s, who you were seen with became immensely important to many of my friends. Being a fat, awkward weirdo and being graciously let into some inner circles felt great at first. After a while, keeping up with the do’s and don’t of scene life was exhausting. Have the wrong friend? Wear the wrong T shirt? Listen to the wrong album? Forget it. GTFO.
I found myself in an odd state of envy towards people who could blindly listen to pop music and thoroughly enjoy themselves without apologies. Of course, this envy was deeply embedded between a layer of self doubt followed by an even thicker layer of belief that they were brainless hive-minded morons and I was way smarter and more enlightened!
As I got older, things changed. That happens when you get older. Those base and stupid things we think tie us all together started to fade into the background. Deeper relationships (although less of them) were founded on a sort of mutual energy. A feeling of “you’re really neat even though you watch reality TV and like Nickleback”.
I’m not writing about suddenly becoming the Dahli Llama and loving everyone no matter what. I’m also not writing about over-tolerance of things like hate organizations. I’m writing about the weird, seemingly growing intolerance of other people’s completely banal shit. Hipsters and Justin Beiber come to mind almost instantly. Some of the folks I know that hate on Hipsters the hardest…actually kind of look like them. Hipsters, to me, seem like the amalgamation of all the scenes I grew up watching kind of…coming together. Why is that so bad?
The Beiber thing is a bit easier to understand, as pop music featuring kids has been a boil on the butt of outside the box thinkers and grumpy old adults since the dawn of time. The Beatles, Menudo, heck my brother had a “New Kids Suck” all caps T shirt that got him sent home from school once (and it was hilarious). It’s always existed, but this was before the internet. Trolls had to work harder then. If you truly wanted to piss off a fangirl, you had to walk into a building full of them with neon letters painted on your chest that said “EVERYTHING YOU LIKE IS DUMB.” Now you just write it in bold white all-caps on a picture and share it on Facebook. Instant Troll.
So I get it, it’s irritating. You don’t like it. So don’t listen to it. Here’s a kid who got famous doing what he loves and I really hope it doesn’t screw him up. That’s my end thought on the matter. His existence, and the existence of those before and after him will continue to please and annoy until the end of time. I’m choosing to be tolerant of it’s presence because I have many other delightful things to steam up about. My rights as a woman, the future of my career, and the government peering into my vagoo every five seconds just off the top of my head.
The easiest to understand may be Juggalos. Here are some fun people who believe in a Valhalla of weed and ax murder founded by two insanely chauvinistic guys in clown makeup. There’s SO MUCH THERE TO RUN WITH! But should I? They’re basically just another group of kids who found an accepting subculture.
Where to draw the line.
For me, it’s drawn on how you effect my life. This is perhaps more selfish a move than condemning them outright, but I look at it this way. Racial intolerance effects my life. Violence against men, women and children effects my life. 12 year olds looking for some sweet and dulcet teen pop tones to ease them gently into womanhood does not. Someone wearing lenseless glasses (seriously why do you do that) does not.
I attempt to carry this tolerance of hoomans beyond music genre. I carry it into religions, political differences, and completely different sets of beliefs. I can think of some amazing lessons learned from staying judgement. Some of my most favorite conversations have been with people who are nothing like me on a surface level.
So although it’s very easy to pick on subcultures, it’s even easier to let them do what they’re designed to do. Give kids a way to feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves.
I spoke to a friend recently who lamented her daughter’s obsession with My Little Pony.
“I hate it, but she’s got no idea. She’s five. I don’t want her dressing like one at 35 because mommy didn’t like ponies.”
There will always be cool and uncool, and there will always be a dichotomy drawn on which is which. Rage up about things worth raging about. If that thing is Hipster glasses, count yourself lucky. You’re doing alright.
PS. You totally sound like your parents.