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Monthly Archives: December 2018

So, IKEA was something I was not aware of as a place I could actually go to until around 2007-2008. When I first saw Fight Club in late 2001, I assumed Jack/Tyler had ordered all that Swedish furniture directly from Sweden.

I didn’t know yet that IKEA existed as a brick-and-mortar store in the US – or that IKEA products were stigmatized as stuff bought on the cheap to quickly furnish dorm apartments and the homes of bachelors (like Jack/Tyler in the movie,) and not “good furniture,” especially at the prosperous tail-end of the 1990s and early 2000s.

To me, the idea of Jack/Tyler ordering a Yin/Yang coffee table directly from Sweden seemed like yet another symptom of his isolated, materialistic life.

In 2005-2006, IKEA was a four-letter word that Draven/Fake Internet Neo used to vilify anyone who didn’t acknowledge him as a messiah – which he had in fact appropriated from Fight Club. So when I learned, post Matrix-cult, in 2007 that IKEA did in fact have brick-and-mortar stores in the USA, and that they had just built one in the nearby town of Frisco, I just had to go check it out.

I wasn’t a real adult in 2007. (I don’t think I actually began to qualify as one until three years later.) I’d never bought my own furniture before that – everything had come down to me from my grandparents, recovered from storage when I moved out.

I’d never even bought my own sheets before that. I got all my Grandfather’s linens after he died. It wasn’t until I was trying to put the twin extra long sheets from his old bed on the standard twin bed that I ended up with the next time I moved that I realized there were even different sizes of twin mattresses that required differently-sized sheets. I was nearly 31 when this happened.

I didn’t have an aesthetic then, or an idea of one. I didn’t know Boho from Industrial from Mid-Century Modern. My first apartments in the late 90s and early 2000s were combinations of my grandparent’s hand-me-down chintz and gingham sensibilities with my fandom memorabilia, and cheap plastic garage shelves to hold all my books.

I was also forming a philosophy about art, and it’s this; art in a capitalistic culture may be subservient to profit and capital – but that doesn’t make it not art, if that makes sense. People who design furniture do so for it to serve a purpose, but also as a form of expression, and for the people who buy it to serve as a form of expression, even if that expression is, “I am living from paycheck to paycheck, but I still want furniture that looks nice.”

My first IKEA purchases near the end of 2007 were actually cookware and bath towels, then eventually curtains and curtain hardware. By 2010-2011, I was aware that my aesthetic skews somewhere between Boho and Mid-century Modern, particularly that stuff from the 70s that looks like it should belong to outer-space pimps, or on the the set of a Panos Cosmatos film, or in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

(My apartment bedroom circa 2011)

In 2013, I built a queen-sized bedframe out of lumber from plans on the internet. Then I gave that one away and built another one. Woodworking was a skill I really wanted to hone. That bedframe warped to shit because I didn’t finish the wood quickly enough, and Texas in the summer is hot and humid.

After three moves, I was never able to get it back together again correctly, and I didn’t have the space or the tools or the time or the money to make replacement pieces (I still have the pieces that didn’t warp, and I might do that someday.)

I’m currently using a perfectly serviceable metal bed base I bought off of Amazon right now. But sometimes, as I walk through the IKEA showroom, I’m tempted.

One thing that bothers me about the 2018-2019 line is that there is suddenly a focus on soft, cute pastels (which pretty much flies in the face of everything I believe in) as well as the chintzes and ginghams that my grandparents favored. One look through the current online catalog bears this out.

A friend pointed out that pastels tend to be popular during tense, dark times. Pastels were all the rage during the Reagan administration, after all. I miss some of their more daring, bold designs from around 2010-2012. I pieced together two twin duvet covers into a queen duvet cover in 2013, because they didn’t sell that design in a queen bed size, and I wanted one. Here it is.

Anyway, Draven’s scoffing at IKEA was, ironically, hilariously elitist as fuck; he was mocking something that was not a marker of wealth and status as he also erroneously perceived it at the time, but something seen as readily affordable and accessible to the hoi polloi. And it was stupid, because IKEA is fucking awesome. And I wouldn’t know this if I hadn’t gone out of a sense of rebellion after his trifling ass skipped town and was out of my life for good. So, thanks asshole!

For reference, I want to refer to this video, but I’m not going to embed it because I know I have been spamming a lot of videos at my DW followers lately.

Also, I’m not one of those people who worships at the altar of David Foster Wallace as The Other Great Voice Of Generation X Who Killed Himself (the first, and ultimate, is of course Kurt Cobain) mostly because of factors like the ones pointed out in this article. Yes, people are only human, we all have flaws, etc. I never said I reviled him, just that I don’t revere him like a lot of other people seem to.

However, he has a point about the dangers of irony.

Criticism of irony has come up a lot these days, especially when it’s not irony; when it’s being used to mask the truth, as modern Nazis seem to have adopted as their best praxis in order to evade criticism. (Googling search terms like “Ironic Nazis” and “Ironic White Supremacists” brings up a host of articles like this one. I’m not sure which one best defines the problem.)

I was born at what one pundit on Twitter yesterday referred to as “the ass-end of Generation X.”

When I was coming of age, the biggest entertainment powerhouses on TV were Friends and Seinfeld (FYI, modern Nazis, Pepes, Kekistanis, etc. fucking love Seinfeld. IDK.) The takeaway from both shows is basically this: people are flakes and are fucking fake. Even your friends. Especially your friends. People who feel very strongly about things are annoying because nothing is worth feeling very strongly about. Very little in life gets resolved, especially in a 30 minute time block – but this is how real life is, and expecting anything to be different is unrealistic, and will just make the Universe disappoint you over and over again.

And a lot of this stems from a backlash against what we seemed to loathe about what we interpreted as the Baby Boomer inauthenticity, and what the Boomers themselves revolted against with movements like Punk and Pop Art. Without the twee, Father Knows Best sentimentalism of the older Boomer and Greatest Generation set, the younger Boomer and early-stage Gen X edgelords who rebelled against them would never had existed.

Right now I can think of three or four close friends who are 3-7 years younger than me, all born between 1980 and 1985. I love these people, but they sometimes drive me to distraction, and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why. But before I had this epiphany, when I tried to define it, it was like this: it felt to me felt like they belonged in a Wes Anderson movie. Their speech and mannerisms make them seem as if they are always trying to be the human equivalent of a warm cup of tea or a fuzzy blanket.

And I can’t stand it. I can only take this in very small doses. And I think this is because to me, this feels inauthentic. It feels like it must be a mask for, or an evasion of, a greater cynicism. Their mannerisms feel like affectations, I always assumed that they were affectations, and it actively costs me more emotional energy to deal with them.

And I always harbored suspicions that this was maybe the point: that it was some kind of powerplay that they’d adopted to deal with how cynical the world is. But because some of these folks are not neurotypical, I felt like an asshole for feeling this way, for having so much trouble with it. Because for all I knew, they had watched a bunch of Wes Anderson movies in an attempt to learn how to interact, and who was I to judge?

I am not one of those people who like to rant about Millennials, because I never wanted to be a part of the contingent that has been literally and figuratively trying to beat them up for their lunch money since before they even came of age. But I wonder if other Gen Xers feel this way, if this is behind some of the misplaced rage at “The Millennial Generation.”

It’s weird, but before the recent analysis of the effect that cynicism and irony have had on this culture, I didn’t really have a way to put these feelings into words, except as I already described above. The idea that they themselves were behaving due to a generational shift, and a backlash against our perceived irony and nihilism and cynicism, never occurred to me until recently.

Current Mood:

SNL Wes Anderson from Hybrid Collective on Vimeo.

I’d like to believe that in another timeline, The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai would have been a franchise with a bunch of movies, like its creators intended. I’d also like to think the same of Stevie And Zoya.

Stevie And Zoya was an animated short which ran on MTV’s weekly animation showcase Liquid TV in the early 1990s, which is probably better remembered for Aeon Flux. Catching Liquid TV on MTV as a teen was always thrilling, like I was seeing something I wasn’t supposed to, something subversive and forbidden. And really, all of it was the kind of stuff that Youtube was created for, the kind of stuff that would probably have found its audience if something like Youtube had existed back then.

A friend of mine once told me that William Gibson apparently once said “I wanted to learn to write the way that David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album sounded.” That’s what Stevie and Zoya reminds me of.

I was instantly mesmerized by Stevie and Zoya’s mix of noir narration (along with the narrator’s frequent slip-ups and asides) and its rough, patchwork, almost grindhouse aesthetic. I wanted it to be as big as Aeon Flux temporarily became. I wanted there to be a live-action movie. I wanted there to be a fandom. I wanted merch. Sadly, all we had for years was just the one animated short.

The artist/creator Joe Horne is still at it, and his more recent efforts (which are awesome) are on Youtube.

Anyway, I made some icons from the original animation, for Dreamwidth and other similar blogging platforms. Here they are.

Treesicle | Tumblr: The Story You Never Knew

I had a love-hate relationship with Tumblr before leaving it entirely. Nearly all the fandoms I was following at the time (ok, mainly TRON) migrated there fairly early on (2011-2012.) It really started to get a reputation as a haven for “Social Justice Warriors” during 2012-2013 onwards, and yet for all of the language based around social justice, people basically were behaving the same as their counterparts on 4chan, with all theĀ  gatekeeping, harassing, attacking, shaming, and dogpiling that was constantly going on.

I agree with leftists like Natalie Wynn (aka Contrapoints) who say that people should be given a chance to change their minds and redeem themselves – which happens through discussion, not dogpiling. Dogpiling is great for deplatforming people, which I agree should totally happen in extreme cases – but when your idea of social justice discourse breaks down to “stop liking what I don’t like,” in regards to fandoms (which I was seeing way more than reasoned discussions about social justice) we have a problem.

No one ever changed their minds or adopted a more enlightened worldview because they were told to “go kill yourself.”

It started to be a less “how can we make a better and more just world for everyone,” and more “your fandom is problematic.” EDIT: and that was never really the point of fandom on Tumblr for me anyway; I was there mainly in the beginning for fanfic and fanart like everyone else, and the social justice discourse (and fandom gatekeeping thinly disguised as social justice discourse) just started creeping to the forefront around the end of 2012.

And I agree that being conscious of social issues is important! BUT – let people enjoy things. I mean, it doesn’t make any sense to call someone a fascist because you disagree with their fanfic interpretation of Severus Snape or Xehanort, especially with actual fascists so thick on the ground these days.

Anyway, now The Powers That Be at Tumblr have decided to crack down on anything NSFW. I haven’t been there in over a year, and I can still think of several fan artists I knew and liked who would be negatively affected by this. This is LJ Strikethough all over again, but for the Millenials and Generation Z. Which makes me wonder – is Tumblr about to be sold to the Russians?

LJ Strikethrough, for those of you too young to remember, was an incident in which LJ cracked down on “adult themed” fanart and fanfic in an attempt to “clean up the place” before the sale to SUP, the Russian company who bought it in 2007. It caused a mass exodus to LJ clones like InsaneJournal and GreatestJournal, and was the reason the bestest LJ clone ever, Dreamwidth dot org, was created.

I really don’t know what spurred Tumblr on to do this, but I can imagine that the migration to the Next Big Thing in social media platforms has already begun.

ETA: ProZD weighs in on the controversy (also Current Mood)