The most radical act of dissent and remonstrance I committed in 2011 was not watching the Rebecca Black video. And you? Yeah.
If you, like me, were born in North America in or around 1985, you don’t remember the Berlin Wall falling. You believe Baudrillard when he says the Gulf War didn’t happen, because you probably don’t remember that, either. You spent your adolescence in the world’s lull. By mid-morning on September 11, 2001, the most significant way you—and I—could acknowledge the happening of a disastrous and terrible and terribly sad thing was to say that “it looked like a movie.”
What were we supposed to fight for? The Beastie Boys had taken care of our right to party and after that, like what could be left? If our textbooks were to be believed, everything worthwhile had passed the “post-” (post-modernism, post-feminism, post-punk) and gone. Our elders sighed philosophically and said there was nothing new to be done.
Then they complained that we don’t do anything.
We’re “Generation Why,” like “Why Bother?” Zadie Smith even said so, and Zadie Smith is one of like ten authors whose last names we can spell. We’re apathetic and apolitical and ADD/ADHD and that’s just the A section in the encyclopedia of why kids today suck. Every sixteen weeks, The New York Times devotes a greater percentage of its dwindling journo-power to answer the big question: what’s wrong with us? Of course, we never know if they’ve come up with anything, because those articles are like six to eight pages long and holy shit, look what Madison found on Vimeo.
Speaking of which, look what I found on Vimeo. There was a riot. This weekend. In North America! At SXSW, actually, where all of North America was, except me. It was at the Death From Above 1979 “secret” first reunion show.
I know. I too had to replay it to believe it because when I read it on Twitter, I thought, “A riot at a rock show? Whatever, I bet it was just ’cause two boys wore the same Rodarte for Opening Ceremony cardigan.”
But here are the kids and they’re screaming and they’re kicking and they’re… is that moshing? I think that’s moshing and they all want to see this electroclash band that made a killer record in 2004 and we all loved it and no one’s seen them play in years and that is long enough. LONG ENOUGH, we said. We are NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE. The police want to stop these kids tearing down a fence and trampling these other kids? FUCK THE POLICE.
Keep watching and believing, cause then Sebastien Grainger–the way-better half of DFA 1979, i.e. the one not responsible for MSTRKRFT–tells everyone to stop rioting and put a hand on someone else’s shoulder. And I think the kids actually do this. Weird, no? But they do. I guess I’ve been going to the wrong concerts, by which I mean all the “right” ones, because last time I swayed into someone at the approximate speed of ketamine–I think it was at the Ariel Pink show–I got serious back-up-off-me looks. But here are all these people my age and they’re touching each other and they’re not getting weirded out at all.
Isn’t it revolutionary? It’s been years since it was cool to give one single exclamation point about anything, but now! A riot!! At a rock show!!! The kinds of riots at rock shows we only heretofore knew about from our parents and the teachers we slept with!!!! Yikes, too many exclamation points. But still. RIIIIIIIOT. Punk can stay dead for all we’d know but electroclash is BACK and I GUESS SO IS CARING.
The New York Times can call off the search for meaning because our generation is finding shit to do. Egypt has democracy. Libya has democracy and war. England has tuition fees and education rights and something else, I forget. And North America has a big-in-2004 Pitchfork band that got back together for the summer festival season. Whatever. They’re still rad. And when they come back to Toronto I’m going to go to that show and I’m gonna dance with all two of my feet and I might even touch somebody. Get ready.