Diet of Disappointment, Features

Misanthrope Seeks Misanthrope: When Uncool Becomes Cool, Then Uncool Again


“I prefer Netflix and Chill-ed wine”

I’d like to attribute my lack of internet activity to a recent string of nightmares, which includes, but surely isn’t limited to:

  1. Being kidnapped by Melanie C and Mel B, who reveal their serial killer agendas to me as they tie me to a rickshaw and fire away
  2. Watching a Morrissey biopic, wherein Morrissey starts flinging popcorn chicken at me through the movie screen
  3. Seeing copies of PJ Harvey’s holiday album (which one can only presume sounds like a political version of Kisswhistle’s “Verhannukah“) shelved next to $6 red wine at Target

This, in turn, may have been induced by discovering a book titled Mating In Captivity: Sex, Lies, and Domestic Bliss by Esther Perel in my father’s library. I should have stopped right there, but the high school sleuth/ second-wave masochist in me felt compelled to understand the inescapable death of Eros and grapple with the “Gordian knot of how to reconcile sexuality and domesticity”. Rest assured, the book has been safely discarded, and I am back, ready to discuss pressing issues such as Alessia Cara, Hikikomori and the after-clap that was 2015.

Ok, so remember the guys who oversold us She & Him Christmas albums and populated mainstream media with terrible portmanteau words like “adorkable” and “nomonym”? Well, they’re back with Justin Bieber’s Purpose on cassette and year-end lists that cite Alessia Cara’s “Here” video as one of 2015’s best, informing us with due diligence, that (1) wallflowers are observant, and (2) uncool is the new ultracool. Wow, thanks! It’s not like any of this is factually inaccurate–staying in and drinking beer with Twizzler straws whilst watching Gilmore Girls is infinitely cooler now than it was during my sophomore year of college (the same goes for Sad Twitter)–but such statements imply a cultural authority, even when merely pointing out trends six years after they spread like wildfire (quick etymology lesson).


Here’s the problem with the much sensationalized uncool-is-the-new-ultracool clause: the margin between the hip-to-be-uncool and the uncool has decreased drastically and suddenly, everybody is listening to pop music ironically, proclaiming themselves as cat ladies (and gentlemen, respectively) and dying their hair the colors of the ocean floor. Does the romanticizing of the lonely, hunkered down types give them then a feeling of acceptance or exclusion? Are we still misanthropes if we’re seeking misanthropes? Or are we victim to acute social withdrawal, or Hikikomori, as the Japanese call it? And if we aren’t suffering from a social disorder, why did we start idealizing it? Sidebar: can a Kappa Kappa Gamma girl wear a GG Allin tank top she bought from Hot Topic without knowing the words to “Pissing on Cosloy” because anti-pop is now ubiquitous?

Dear After-clappers, I have no problem with you congregating with Alessia Cara by the refrigerator or buying a “throwback” Boombox from Urban Outfitters, but please refrain from gentrifying the cultural landscape by reviewing Boiler Room videos of bands that disbarred you from their shows. And while you’re at it, see if you can convince Urban Outfitters to stop sandwiching 1983 releases between Alvvays and Halsey cassettes. Sincerely, “Anti-social pessimist.”


oh, Urban

December 30, 2015

About Author

Gauraa Shekhar Gauraa is a freelance writer who divides her time between New York, Jakarta and Mumbai. She founded The Sympathizer because she was sick of having editors reprimand her for ending sentences with prepositions and charging songs guilty of being "as contagious as cholera in a sewer pipe." She is currently working on her first book.

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