Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hipsters, Craftsmanship & Lattes: the Sinister Spectre of Elitism

ITEM!: As an incumbent Tory who lost his rural Saskatchewan seat in the last federal election to elect a right wing majority government, John Gormley knows about "the relentless pursuit of mediocrity." After careers in politics and law stalled out, Gormley came to rest as the media mouthpiece for the Saskatchewan Party in 1998, one year after the right wing coalition party's formation.
Gormley has regularly used his Rawlco Radio bully pulpit (as well as a weekly column in the StarPhoenix) to bash gays, immigrants, women, unions and liberals. He supports the pro-business lobby and the social conservatives by creating an atmosphere of antagonism, a false binary of "Us and Them". In short, the dude is full bag, equal parts scum and douche.
In his new book, what looks like a paranoid screed against the provincial NDP, he unleashes a fresh assault that finely illustrates what how out of touch he really is. On page 17 of Left Out (is he sad because he feels unwelcome or is he using the term as an imperative?), he refers to liberals as "latte-sipping" and "Birkenstock-wearing". FOR REAL. Because only communists can drink fancy coffees. That's why Starbucks has become an international symbol of leftist thought and the people's victory over free market capitalism. Welcome to 1991, John, we have received your fax!

ITEM!: Gaspereau Press keeps its cool in the wake of Giller win. Several things are at play here: 1) Gaspereau, in refusing to adapt their process to meet the swelling demand for Johanna Skibsrud's The Sentimentalists, takes a stand for the value of books as objects and the power of those objects as containers of art. 2) The Sentimentalists is widely available as an e-book, and that, undeniably, is where publishing is headed. 3) Gaspereau says they'll fill orders for indie booksellers first, who supported the book before it was a winner. What it means: Creating a successful book (by any definition) in Canada is not dependent on the current bookselling infrastructure.

ITEM!: I think this dude is calling me a hipster. First of all, awesome. Hipsters are rad. I know a lot of people who seem to be stereotypical hipsters who are fantastic people engaged in creative work that serves their community. I think it's great that young people today feel free to wear stupid clothes and grow ugly mustaches. Takes a lot of pressure of me. Second of all, the comment poster seems to be equating hipsterism with a fetishization of the obscure, and vain elitism of exclusion. Frankly, I don't see that at all. I see an appreciation of the paradox that is Lou Reed, someone who has managed to turn his most subversively iconic song into an advertising jingle and yet remains an symbol of integrity in the music biz.

mp3: "Three's Company" by Arabesque featuring Maylee Todd
mp3: "Lifetime of Deception" by Masonic

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