I thought it was neat that, on the same day Miles Raymer wrote about 90s nostalgia (the operating principle of the Pitchfork Festival, natch), longtime Reader photographer Jim Newberry looked back on the scene he got his start in. I only know Urge Overkill from Tarantino so it’s a different world to me, although I did listen to Freakwater in high school. I think I discovered them via Addicted to Noise, which was Pitchfork before Pitchfork was a gleam in Ryan Schreiber’s eye. I was there, man, at least on a dialup in Virginia, which is why I’m nostalgic for Suck* and Feed. Picking up the last issue of Might in a Barnes & Noble in Evanston? Heady times.

Related: this 3quarksdaily essay on hipsters, irony, and nostalgia isn’t what I’d call “good,” necessarily–it’s kind of got that nü-belles-lettres thing going where it’s arty if the thesis meanders–but there are some nuggets:

Why is irony focused upon the recent past?  Contrary to some facetious fears that the retro gap is closing, and that soon we will be celebrating for its ironic value the cultural output of this very day, in fact it seems that the ironic focus is eternally fixed upon the detritus that was floating about right around the time of one’s own origins, the things that could help to explain how one came to be at all, including the invitation to a moustache ride that just might have led to one’s own conception.


But that of course is no fun, while youthful irony is a blast.  It will thus be interesting to see in the coming decades whether the irony that has defined the world view of an entire generation of educated Western children will prove capable of aging along with those former children’s bodies.  It is still far too early to tell, though it is likely that the repellent example set by their aging parents, who remain deadly serious about the ‘accomplishments’ and enduring relevance of their generation, who never really learned how to be old because they remained so loyal to the moment of their youth, will serve as an incentive towards reflection on how to age well, which, again, the old philosophy tells us, is the same as to die well.

We’re not talking Dick Hebdige here, but it’s not a subject that usually comes in for reflective treatment.

*A master class in writing for the Web that still hasn’t been topped. Imagine Gawker with essays about Adorno and the decline of Cincinnati and more well-intentioned viciousness.