Are you a junkie for culture? Feel an aching nostalgia for a time you’ve never known? Are the most meaningful conversations in your life about which bands best project the hopelessness you feel inside yourself? Would you give your life to be Burroughs, Kerouac, or Ginsberg?
Well fellow hipsters, freaks, and beatniks, lend me your ears.
I come bearing good news.
Let’s hypothesize for a minute: suppose that every one of your self-fulfilling intellectual musings are true. You weren’t wrong to be existential; you were right. Life is meaningless. God did die back in the 1800s and the nationalism, corporatism, and now rugged individualism that has followed has done little to reinstate the average armchair philosopher’s faith in humanity. All of Western Civilization’s “glorious” achievements have, in fact, lead us to a time now where there’s nothing left to do but pass the time slowly killing ourselves with cigarettes, booze and superficial discussion. “Nothing MEANS anything anymore!” your soul screams from your Hello Kitty bow down to your Chucks.
Well of course nothing means anything, you dolt!
We’re not stupid. We know the ways of the world. We know about the gridlock that is international politics. Facebook is more important anyway. Seriously! We know Capitalism is evil, but we also know that it has been a long time since any public demonstration of disapproval has changed anybody’s mind on the subject. Forms of self-expression we produce such as fashion, music, or art can’t really hold up against the work produced by the earnestness of an earlier age. We dream of being the next big thing, and some bedroom artists out there have even got their small piece of the rock star pie. At the end of the day, though, we are trapped with our bread and circuses of cheap beer and YouTube. Rather than hurt others with our ambitions, we take our apathy out on ourselves. We are forced to stay children forever. There’s no room to grow.
You know what I’m talking about. You can hear it in the lyrics of Arcade Fire, Fever Ray, MGMT and many more popular modern musicians. Xiu Xiu just put out an album called “Dear God, I Hate Myself” and even Lil Wayne’s lyrics are getting more and more masochistic (see new track “Fuck Today”). Thanks to the internet’s magical ability to catalogue the cultural canon at an exponential rate, it’s easier than ever to feel angsty, radicalized and nostalgic. (The beauty of this, of course, is that more voices are being heard than ever before.) But where do we channel all of these emotions?
Well I have an answer. It’s an obvious one, but not an easy one: we need to slowly, cooperatively deconstruct our civilization to a level where it can sustain itself without the killing of the planet. I know what you’re thinking: “that’s crazy!” but I mean, what else are we going to do with our time on earth? While we pondered the uselessness of existence over Pabst Blue Ribbon, we were passively responsible for killing all kinds of species, disrupting traditional cultures, and destroying our own natural food and water supplies. The least we could do is bum old mother nature a little bit of our spare time.
I am pretty sure the 21st century is going to be fricken awesome. One for the history books for sure (har har). Feel me, though. This only works if we put our pride on the shelf and work together toward a positive future. We have the facts on our side. Environmentalism is not just hippy shit anymore, guys. This is all we have left. There’s no aliens out there to save us. We ARE the aliens of our own world. (David Bowie hit the manicured nail on the head). We have constructed our own planet of concrete and disconnection, rushing from city to city while driving on highways through the natural world that’s been struggling to continue along. Our real earth is something so foreign to us that we need blue humanoids to epicly battle in 3-D to get what all the fuss is about. My personal favorite is thinking about the new Discovery Channel show “Life” where Oprah’s voiceover provides insight into a natural world that’s been there all along.
Here’s a new life direction for all the beautiful loners out there: create a life for yourself that doesn’t hurt anyone, including yourself. That means environmental sustainability. I think I speak for all the urban dwellers out there when I say that I have no idea how to grow my own food, or about what my neighbourhood would look like if it wasn’t covered in paved streets and superficially constructed parks.
We’ve got a whole life ahead of us, though, and that’s what we have going for us over the emotionally stunted cast of, say, High Fidelity or The Royal Tenenbaums. We have the time to learn how to grow our own food, how to cook with local fruits and vegetables, and learn about the native wildlife in our area. There are plenty of opportunities out there like WWOOFing and volunteering where we can learn the skills we need in the future to live a peaceful life. Obviously the internet is our best friend. Let’s go for it.
We need to build a world where the Kurt Cobains, the Elliot Smiths, and the Mark Linkous’s don’t die. Imagine the songs that will be written in the hypothetical paradise that only we can create for ourselves. Let’s get over the rock and roll glory days and make something we can call our own. Lets be environmentally sustainable! The reconnection to our environment will be one of the biggest hurdles in our dawning century; we might as well jump right in. Hipsters, gamers, and the great untapped weirdos of our generation are probably the truly best resources for our awesome future. It’s going to be tight. There are plenty of people already living off the grid right now. You probably haven’t heard of them, but chances are they’re probably cooler than you. And they don’t even try. So what are you gonna do about it?