March 28, 2006

Once Upon A Time, There Was A Magazine Writer...

nymag-dads.jpg...and his name was Adam. He was 35, which meant he was Generation-X. Now unlike Douglas Coupland, who coined the term "Generation-X," Adam had never created a neologism, even though he had written about pop cultural trends for like ten years. He wanted more than anything to come up with one, but what?

One day, his fairy godfather, the features editor at New York Magazine called and said, "Whaddya know about hipster parents? Can you give me 10,000 words on hipster parents?" Not having any kids himself, but sensing his chance, he said, "10,000? I can give you 100,000!" "No, no, even 10,000's pushing it. Good luck, and I need it by Thursday."

So Adam set to work. He immediately recognized that the most important things in the world were pop music and denim. This is 80% of all he'd ever written about, so it was a perfect fit. Because he was Gen-X, Adam knew he had to craft an ironic retro neologism, and since the other 20% of his oeuvre was making generalizations based on TV shows, he chose "grup" [aka "grown-up"] as his word. It's from Star Trek, but boomer/flower children/Kirk-era Star Trek, not Picard; Picard is too new and still actually nerdy, not "nerdy."]

That left 9,999 words. 9.998 if you count the obligatory mention of Neal Pollack's "Alternadads," which would've been competition, but isn't since "grups" covers both men AND women, and even kid-free hipsters. hahaha. Take that, Pollack. So. with 9,998 words left. Adam just wrote down whatever the hell crossed his mind while he was transferring from the L train to the F.

He even got the cover. And they all lived happily ever after. Except for me, because my head just exploded. The End.

Up With Grups* [nymag via jason, the ricedaddies jason]

16 Comments

Great post, Greg. I was very excited to do the interview with Sternbergh, but was very disappointed in how it turned out. There are certainly some ridiculous and pretentious aspects to this Alternadad culture (I will NOT relinquish my catchphrase, thank you very much), but I think we should feel insulted to be reduced to a few consumer choices that we may not have made anyway. There's a lot of quiet depth and creativity floating around dad-land these days. That got very short shrift.

[hey, the catchphrase wars beat the mommy wars any day of the week. My first instinct was to post about the clear-eyed things you and the guy with the guitars...Asa's dad... said, which I found pretty relevant, but then I kept getting snagged on the denim. Even from a pure generational/consumerist standpoint, it takes a lot of selective remembering for a generation to believe that it's actually different from its predecessors. There were Studio54 survivors wandering around Copacabana and Palladium when I was there as a dewy youth, so scenesters refusing to get old is nothing new. Mr. McInerney. -ed.]

It's funny, this New York. At times, they want to be a good magazine, at other times they want to be an alterna-weekly. This is a decidedly alterna-weekly article, particularly considering the "we're mocking them all together" tone of the whole thing.

It's a little over the top but that NYC. I won't pay more than $50 for a pair of jeans. But I do have a lot of the same attitudes about passion and finding one's own way. But then so did my mother. That's who I'm actually emulating in wanting to listen to cool music for my daughter. My mother listened to Elvis Costello and Roxy Music and Velvet Underground in my youth. It was a nice thing to have with her.

I thought one poster on mefi had a good point. People my age (37) are interested in the same things they were in the 80's. The fact that we can still somehow pass ourselves off as "hipster" says far more about the generation below us than really anything about us.

Thank you, Greg. Adam unwittingly proves his Gruppiness by writing an article fit for a high school newspaper.

I cannot figure out why I continue to subscribe to this magazine.

Coupland popularized, but did not coin, "Generation X". It was also a punk band Billy Idol was in in the 1970s, and before that a book from the 1960s.

Just sayin'.

Well, if you want to get really technical, anyone who is 35 cannot actually claim to be GenX, they're too young. GenX is generally defined as anyone who is born right after the Boomer generation, 1960-65. So what's interesting is that the term is still being used to describe this new generation. Is it because GenX'ers caused a cultural shift that is still being felt? Or is it because no other term has yet to over throw it? In that case, I don't think Grups will be a contender. Who wants to be known as a Grup? Sounds like something you need medication for. As in, "We were going to go to the playground, but I came down with the Grup and couldn't go." eh.

[but no one calls themselves a yuppie or a hipster or a metrosexual, either, S. It's meant as a tidy shorthand for talking about someone else or about a group. And it was always my understanding that GenX extended from the end of the Boomers into the 80's, up until the Boomerkids, who are Gen Y. Until you go in to edit it, Wikipedia agrees with me. -ed.]

I just read the Wikepedia info and it appears as if you are both right. The term Gen X was originally coined to describe "the angst" (quote from Wikepedia) "felt by those born b/t 1960-65".
But as noted ther term has evolved in common usage to describe the generation in its entirety born after the boomers. Interestingly, the 1960-65 babies have also been refered to a "tweeners" because they are between the boomers and genx (as it is commonly used.

I myself am a tweener.
Regarding the article, a few interesting observations mainly on fashion and not much more. This won't stand to be the piece that defined a generation.

[Wow, someone clicks through the links? I guess by "read" I really meant "read the first sentence." -ed.]

Okay now Greg, lets be "grup" about this and apologize to S.

Couldn't resist. Snicker, snicker, snicker...

On a somewhat related note, this Onion item is hilarious.
Two Hipsters Angrily Call Each Other 'Hipster'

[lolol, and so timely, too! -ed.]

Word, Tweeners. How you find us is by walking into a party and asking if anyone knows the address to Zoom. If you do, we're the same age/generation. 'Nuff said.

Nicely done, man, nicely done.

*applause*

Grups my ass.

So when you become a parent, you suddenly stop caring about music and the way you dress and your personal interests?

What I find most insulting about this article is the insinuation that if you do retain aspects of your "old" life, you must be some kind of materialistic jerk.

I wasn't as put off by this article as so many others were, but I did think it had some problems. And Sternberg is no Douglas Coupland! I'm LMAO about your take on the word count....yes, he went on WAY too long to find his point.

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