The Relentless Pace of Hipsterdom: A Day at Pitchfork Music Festival Paris

[Editor's note: Please welcome Greg Spivak to ToM.  All photos appearing here were taken by Mr. Spivak, we encourage you to click on them to see them at full size and resolution.] In French there is no equivalent for “hipster.” Recently the term has been adopted by the French press, with articles describing this American idea of “le hipster”; slowly, the word is starting to lose its italicized status as a new loan word along with les has-been, les best-of and les lifting (fine, the last is a strange Gallic deformation of "face-lift"). The closest the French come is the bobo, which, although coined by David Brooks, moved to, settled, and thrived in France -- talk shows speak endlessly of … [Read more...]

“My man MCA’s got a beard like a billy goat”: MCA, the Beastie Boys, and Identity

I looked out the window and seen his bald head I ran to the fridge and pulled out an egg Scoped him with my scopes he had no hair Launched that shot and he was caught out there Saw the convertible driving by Loaded up the slingshot and let one fly He went for his to find he didn't have one Put him in check correct with my egg gun The egg a symbol of life Go inside your house and bust out your wife Pulled out the jammy he thought it was a joke The trigger I pulled his face the yoke Reached in his pocket took all his cash Left my man standing with an egg moustache -- Egg Man, Paul's Boutique “Beginning with Paul's Boutique, part of their appeal has been that they've built a … [Read more...]

Essence Precedes Existence? The Problem of Identity Politics in Hurewitz’s Bohemian LA

What does it mean to “be” white, or black, or gay, or working-class? How might a Jewish Ethiopian-American who grew up in poverty but now has a big bank account define himself? Which identity matters most – the current status of wealth and privilege, the experience of coming from a hardscrabble background, or Jewishness or Africanness or national identity (native or adopted)? Does one dimension of identity actually have to subordinate the others? Our current president is almost always described as being black, despite having one white parent and growing up almost entirely with a white family. His own experience is far more complex than our contemporary framework of race and identity allows, … [Read more...]

The World in 2011

As regular readers know, we at Tropics of Meta try in all things to be as much like the Economist as possible.  For this reason, we have consulted a distinguished panel of historians, political scientists, fishmongers and Daley machine hacks to weigh in on their expectations for the year 2011.  Their predictions range from likely events in academia and politics to music, fiction, and fast food -- and sometimes a combination of these fields.  So without further ado, we give you the shape of things to come: ........................................................... The writers of the defunct TV show Lost will admit they were just kidding and air a new sixth season. Columbia University … [Read more...]