Wednesday, April 29, 2009


1993 or 2009?

I can't stop thinking about how everyone is repping early- to mid-90s fashion hard this summer. I can't count how many kids I've seen frontin' the nearly ubiquitous lumberjack shirt with Nike high-tops combo, sometimes with baseballs caps (half of which have the lids flipped up), John Lennon sunglasses and even dreadlocks. Everywhere I look, I'm seeing weird tones of purple and pink that I haven't seen since I was 11.

The fact that a lot of people are looking like Pearl Jam roadies is no big deal: we all know that fashion moves in cycles, yadda yadda yadda, but the cycles are feeling like they're getting a little closer together. But in the late 90s it seemed like it was more about mid- to late-1970s fashion, with the mid-2000s ushering in a revival of mid-1980s fashion. If we have moved into an era where everyone is dressing like its 1995, then where will we be in two years? Will everyone be dressing like its 2003, when people were starting to dress like it was 1983? This is the part where my brain 'splodes.

It's got me thinking about postmodernism a bit. Yeah, pastiche is fun, and it's liberating in the sense that you don't need to be slavish to meta-narratives whose applicability is pretty questionable. But on the other hand, when it becomes normative I think it's more or less a free pass to be gleefully self-indulgent and superficial. When everything is so aestheticized and the traditional concept of narrative is subverted, then isn't there a chance we are just moving towards this dystopian scenario where the meaning of all cultural symbols get lost, as the aesthetic of the symbols are recycled ad nauseam with no regard for context?

I know it sounds like warmed over Frederic Jameson/Baudrillard, but it's worth thinking about, I think. I mean, I'm not sure how down I am with every song title/band name being a tongue-in-cheek pop-culture reference ("Walk Before You Run DMC". What is that shit?). Then again I play in a band called Baader Meinhof Overdrive. Then again, I don't think Jordan and I pretend that BMO is supposed to be super-meaningful or insightful. Then again, we have a song about how somebody should resurrect Zombie Reagan, so punk rock can have something to mobilize against. I don't know, my brain hurts. The answers aren't easy, but then again maybe they aren't supposed to be. But then again, isn't the idea that things are "supposed to be" a certain way indicative of a meta-narrative or higher order? If my brain was 'sploding before, then my brain just went supernova now.

The ca-razy postmodern (and not so postmodern) things I'm hyped on right now: Lightning Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow, Charles Bronson - Youth Attack!, Spazz - Crush, Kill, Destroy, Stephen Hawking - A Breifer History of Time, 2005 Duckhorn Decoy (perfect mid- to high-range good times steak wine), Planet Earth, Metric - Fantasies (what can I say: this album is shit-hot. It contains no less than five perfect window-down, sing-a-long anthems good for cruising in your white Camaro in 2009 like its 1986. Wait....)


  1. hey chief, I found your blog by googling the words of Paul Bowles on the track "Gutters" by Cursed, but then I discovered this post about 90's fashion coming back. I've been wondering about that myself recently....another one of life's little coincidences.

  2. Gaz - that is indeed where I got those Paul Bowles words. And yes, postmodernism is lots of fun, but sometimes it drives me fucking nuts. I hate 90s fashion in the 90s and I hate it now. What gives? I don't know.