Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two new genres for 2012, two examples for each

-Defending the Glamorous:

We saw this with the pains a former prof of James Franco took to insist upon the movie star-scholar's academic serious. But we saw it again when Nicholas Kristof stood up for known underdogs like George Clooney (!) and Angelina Jolie (!!!), the latter of whom Kristof confesses, in an aw-shucks-intellectual-version moment, he did not recognize.

-Offending the Target Audience:

It's a safe bet that Matt Gross (see the post below, and his response - ! - in the comments) knew his article about Jerusalem would tick off religious Jews, Zionists. He may have guessed that in simply agreeing to fly to Israel as a travel writer and not a Rachel Corrie, he would win the ire of some on the left. (And he did!) But he also managed to offend the kind of left-of-center Jews who do get involved in learning about and criticizing the treatment of the Palestinians, the growing power of the not-so-progressive ultra-Orthodox, other "iffy" aspects of Israel. Gross's problem seems to come not from the genuine problems (myriad and well-reported) with Israel, but from a sense that the place is kinda Jewy, and that which is Jewy induces a cringe. Thus even his ostensible fan base - the readers who praise every Roger Cohen intervention - did not give him his hero's welcome after all.

Then there's Alex Gallo Brown in Salon, who, along with his girlfriend, grew tired of being hipsters with "privilege" and left Portland of all places to become volunteer organic farmers in the South-loosely-defined. (New Mexico?) All they wanted was to see the country, get out of their parochial "blue state" environment, and make the world a better place! Yet pretentious turns of phrase, a remarkable lack of self-awareness, a bizarre grievance against "blue-state" women who do grocery shopping, all of it hits the wrong note, and wins them all kinds of YPIS-hurling enemies among Salon readers and, inevitably, Gawker. The angry horde is of course made up of those very much like the writer (that is, in favor of owning privilege, and demolishing regionalist parochialism in its snootier forms), and not Mexican farm workers or poor Southerners. But oh, they're angry.

1 comment:

J. Otto Pohl said...

I keep seeing this word hipster and I have yet to figure out what it means.