Sometimes a Pipe Wrench Fight is a Thing of Beauty

An item I posted at Crooked Timber yesterday -- while in fact little more than a nod in the direction of fellow ArtsJournal blogger book/daddy -- has generated not just discussion but meta-discussion, and maybe a power or two higher than that.

The last word should (but won't) go to the guy who started it all:

Displaying a talent for meta-commentary will often find itself running down an ad infinitum rat hole. That is, you model your comment on mine in order to exemplify my failings--the archness, the high-and-low shiftings, the display of pop snottery, etc. etc.--embodying them yourself but making it clear to us that what distinguishes you is you know you're doing it, which means you can do it much better. You have self-knowledge.... Not such a redeeming factor, in the end: Anything can be subjected to such an approach, leaving us with nothing but attitude.

What's kind of sad about the whole thing is that both Jerome and I indulged in the "critical commentary" gestures as an excuse to circulate particular "literal videos" themselves, out of appreciation for the craft involved. The best ones are well-done in ways that you come to appreciate the minute you look at some of the less skillful examples. And the lyrics to the remake of "Take Me Home" are so much better than anything in the original that it's arguably a better video for having them. I was naive enough not to have anticipated the triggering of all the free-floating anxiety out there about "hipsters" and their "irony." Who knew?

I mourn the day "hipster" stopped having its Milton Klonsky/Norman Mailer-era connotations and instead started applying to certain strategies of self-production through niche-market consumerism, but can't be bothered to keep up with all the fallout of that unfortunate development. To quote Quick Study's longtime imaginary friend Spamzatura, the whole thing is "more like meta-hipster intellectual thumbsucking, actually. Either that or hipster-intellectual meta-thumbsucking. I always get those two confused."

Would it make things worse to point out that the literalism of literal video is arguably the exact opposite of irony? Yes, it probably would.
November 4, 2008 10:21 AM | | Comments (1)

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But it was all worth it, as you wrote, just to learn that A-ha is a sacred text -- to the hipster and dullard alike, to the ironist and, um, the wrinkled.

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This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on November 4, 2008 10:21 AM.

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