After close to two months on Cape Cod, I had a smile on my face, my psyche brimming with hope about the culture on this, Massachusetts’ crooked penis. As I shoveled a delicious breakfast into my mouth, a couple next to me, both in their early 20’s, were discussing the films of Jim Jarmusch. Yeah, you heard me. And you can now picture the smirk creasing my face now, can’t you?
This wouldn’t be such a revelation to many of you, but to see it from my perspective is to be a touch depressed by the lack of nerd life here. You see, during my first few weeks out this way, my references were shot down by most of the teenagers I work with and the older generation, who, to be fair, never got them to begin with. So all those Anchorman quotes, lines stolen from YouTube and Funny or Die videos, even those musical references to Rolling Stones and Kinks songs, missed. Totally, completely, miserably missed.
Suddenly, I was the out of touch guy. Me. The guy on Defamer daily, checking CHUD constantly, being on the Danny McBride bus before it even left the station, staying up on all those vacuous indie rock bands that won’t matter by next month (I’m looking at you, Vampire Weekend) and generally being the biggest fucking nerd ever. And now I’m the square. Or just more square than normal, if I’m being fair to myself.
The final straw was when I wore my Team Zissou shirt to work for the fifth time a few weeks back and still, nothing. Not one person has said anything about it. One lady commented that she liked it, but had no clue what the film was, just that she liked the Z’s. Ugh. I mean, I knew Wes was on the fringe, but this is fucking ridiculous.
Does no one know what this movie is?
What beauty the modern day Bill Murray holds?
What my life is?
But then that’s the real problem, isn’t it? That the life I so identify myself with, that was so well understood in Albuquerque, is now something foreign to these people. And there is nothing I can do about it.
There’s no way to build a hipster culture from the ground up. It’s not as if I can rent a whole group of twenty-somethings all the necessary films worth watching, or play them every song worth knowing, read them every cool, post-modern piece of hip lit on the market. It’s exhausting. And let’s be honest, I don’t even read, listen to or watch all that stuff. I have a life too. But I expect it of others.
The real problem is that even if I could develop a whole society of underlings, it wouldn’t work the way I want it. It’s not supposed to be what I expect. It’s supposed to be a collective conscience that develops, born out of a shared taste in the offbeat, be it musically, artistically, cinematically and in the larger view, culturally.
I don’t know how that happens, but it does and a scene develops. And you discover it. You form a small group that finds another small group that leads to another small group and before you know it, people around you all listen to LCD Soundsystem, drink Schlitz and Hamm’s ironically and can discuss the latest superhero film in the same breath as Jarmusch’s work.
And that brings us back around. See how I did that? Yeah, that’s right, suck it.