As much as any sane person avoids the mention of our elites, we tend to shy away from names like “Brooklyn Brewery” because such trendy terms and locations can only be designed for the denialists who rule us through money, law and social pretense. Much as in the Soviet Union — another dying society in late-stage collapse — what is said in Pravda is never trusted and always mocked, but… very carefully. In Western totalitarianism, we still have the freedom to purchase, and so, we avoid those products tainted with the symbology of the elites.
Two indie female-fronted bands (Wax Idols and King Woman) have dropped off pseudo-metal, psychedelic rock band Pentagram’s ongoing tour, breaking their separate agreements with promoters. The women in both bands were surprised when ex-junkie Pentagram frontman Bobby Liebling hit on them. The news of this passive-aggressive move being broken by Vice, both indie bands being backed by Vice, and subsequently embarking on a Vice-funded tour reeks of self-aggrandizing unprofessionalism.
We get a lot of comments here, but a frequent type — and they are nearly identical — is this:
This site has really gone to shit. Instead of doing articles about true underground metal, you’ve got all these stupid articles on tobacco, whiskey, SJWs and beer.
This is a variation on an old argument that splits the “No True Scotsman” logical fallacy in half. If you recall, that fallacy takes this form:
Person 1: Christians do not spit on their enemies.
Person 2: The pope just hocked a loogie onto the Queen.
Person 1: He’s not a true Christian, just a pro forma one.
Sometimes fallacies are not fallacies per se but a description of a common trope of language used to deflect an argument. When used wrongly, they fail, such as slippery slope, which is a real argument but is frequently used by ham-handed idiots (“If we legalize heavy metal, people will turn to Nazism next!”). The No True Scotsman argument is a fallacy when used to enforce a broken category, but not when it points out the exception strengthens the rule. For example, most Christians will not spit on the Queen, and that pope might just be out of line.
In the case of metal, trueness exists. It refers to people who understand metal on its own terms, instead of re-purposing it for their own social needs like hipsters do, and uphold that worldview and values system which we might call a “culture.” On the other hand, some are quick to call “untrue” anything which does not fit a selective stereotype of metalheads as being only about music and a certain lifestyle. These types are not scene-policing, but bullying others into accepting lowest common denominator behavior.
Wearing denim vests with patches, drinking trendy beer and buying lots of metal albums is not what metal is about. It’s false signaling to allow useless people to join the community because doing those things is easy, where living and understanding metal — a form of art with its own outlook and philosophy, like most artistic movements — takes some effort internal to the human being. And that is what most refuse to do. They do not want to internalize learning and share themselves and limit their own reckless impulses. They would rather have a surface-level conformity that gains them entrance to the group, and to do that, they need to spit on anyone who thinks metal is more than credit card payments, goofy clothing and being drunk all the time.
I tend to reply to such people with these:
Feel free to send in articles or ideas.
So far, none have taken me up on this. How can results be so consistent? It’s in the psychology: their psychology is not about what they say it is about, which is articles about metal. Their psychology is in putting others down by claiming those others are untrue, only so that they can in turn claim they are true for these token conformist attributes. They will never contribute… because their contribution is angry, pointless criticism. They will never do more than that. You will find whole forums (NWN/FMP) full of such people. They are hipsters of another stripe.
They remind me of another type of person that I call “the California personality.” This type is very common among bloggers. They are equal parts self-promoting and defensive, with a totalitarian intolerance of anything that seems to them to be critical of them or their choices in life. The California personality will always tell you how amazing their life is, and how they’ve made choices that magically worked out in defiance of conventional wisdom. If people think it is unsafe to walk the Cass Corridor after dark, the California personality went there and not only was safe, but met a famous artist and partied till dawn drinking artisanal wine. If people think you shouldn’t build your house on a fault line, the California personality lives in the fault and has a precious, sunlight-kissed bungalow (which is highly energy efficient).
The California personality will fool you for some time. You will look at your own life, and wonder why you don’t get such great results. They, on the other hand, appear to be picked by the hand of God to succeed in everything. But over time, you start seeing cracks in their narrative. The great house actually has lots of leaks, which is why they’re selling it. The artist they met in the Cass Corridor held them hostage until dawn and drank all their artisanal wine. Their statements are not merely rose-colored, but outright lies. A California personality goes through life always justifying their decisions as successes, after the fact, when often they are simply chumps making poor choices but are good at making those choices seem appealing to others.
The same mentality infests the hipsters, tryhards, poseurs and “trve kvlt” types in metal. Their own lives are ruins, but they want to hide that by putting down your life. They contribute nothing, but want to pull down your contributions. Like lifestyle bloggers (especially the odious “mommy bloggers”) they want to show you their great-looking children, quirky recipes and fantastic decorating choices, but are hiding a vast inner despair as their marriages fail, careers stall, and total lack of ideas creates lack of personal direction. These people are not here to do anything, but to partake in the doing of others. It’s why they are best mocked and pushed aside as this article hopes to do.
People think like they eat, so when someone talks about heavy metal being destroyed, they envision it being completely consumed like a donut before coffee. In reality, destruction is more like tainting, namely that if I spill a thousandth of a drop of nerve gas on your donut, you won’t want to eat it, ever.
Heavy metal can be destroyed if enough of it becomes hogwash that the smart people flee. Someone would say that has already happened, but I go for the more cheerful “in progress” designation. When a certain amount — say, 20% — of people surrounding metal are the same idiots that one finds everywhere else, or worse highly specialized types of idiots like hipsters, then the good people abandon the genre and it becomes swallowed up by people who do not understand it. They quickly convert it into the Same Old Thing the way they do to every genre and soon it sounds a lot like regular rock music with some heavy distortion and a metal riff now and again. It “lives on” in a different form, but for practical purposes, it is dead.
With revelations emerging that SJWs in punk bands who banned Disma from the Netherlands Deathfest wanted to go after another band first, but when they couldn’t find an excuse for a beatdown there had to attack Disma instead, it has become clear to metalheads that they are under attack. Because of the way SJWs behave, you can no longer not take a side; you are either with the SJWs, or their enemy, in their view. This is driving many metalheads to the anti-censorship side because, independent of political view, we realize that allowing bully gangs to form lynch mobs to witch hunt “bad” thought will result in the destruction of metal.
These incursions are part of a larger pattern. When Mastodon gets shamed and forced to apologize for having scantily-clad women in their hard rock videos, and then Metalgate was launched when SJWs tried to censor non-SJWs on metal mailing lists, it seemed that it was a cluster of events. Then we saw SJWs faking the news and a series of new attacks on actual metal bands by these pretenders. There’s a list of articles published since AD 2000 in which journalists and their lackeys in certain hipster bands and labels push for guilt that leads to censorship. In their view, there is one good way to be, and everyone else is pure bad. Like a light switch: it’s either set to “Full SJW” or it is off, and you should feel bad.
What is frightening about this is how easily SJWs can succeed. Different groups have been trying to take over heavy metal for years because heavy metal is a media signal for rebellion that cannot be bought out with ready cash money like every other “movement” in our time. We’re used to politicians pretending to regulate a group when they are in fact working for that group, or journalists representing entrenched political interests while pretending to be objective. When the FBI talks about corruption threatening the soul and fabric of the US, this — in part — is what they mean. It is relatively easy to take over a genre, turn it into a megaphone for political views, and then discard it when the trend is over. Christians, the far-right, the far-left, and other groups have tried to assimilate metal in this way.
Industry is backing the SJW incursion because it will allow them to make a lot of money in the short term and then transition into selling rock music, which is what they do best because it is easy to make a lot of it and if no stronger option, like metal, exists, to sell a lot of it to an audience bored with pop. Like the Republicans, rock and especially heavy rock are the controlled opposition to sugar-pop but if the industry has its way, will not be really all that different. Media supports industry. Apparently, so do the metalfests. We are seeing a situation where once again metal stands alone, hated by all, but this time our enemies are using passive-aggression to try to take over metal, instead of trying to outright ban it.
Those who love metal will be standing up to protect it. Unlike SJWs, the anti-censorship side does not demand that you adopt a political orthodoxy. It simply says that we need to stop pre-filtering music by whether it has the “correct” political outlook, and need to start being more open-minded. Mention any group and you have immediately assumed they are all the same; not all Democrats or all Republicans are identical. Among there, some interpretations of those belief systems are in fact more advanced than others. Having free speech allows, much like natural selection, better ideas to rise to the top, and this means that we all benefit from clearer information. It’s questionable why anyone would want to stop that — well, unless they want to control your minds through music, of course.
The great secret of hipsters is that they are K-mart shoppers like everyone else. That is: their lives lack meaning, and they fill them with objects, but they demand artisanal™ exotic and ethical lifestyle objects instead of the accessories the rest of the herd demands. The guy buying an 18-pack of Miller Lite wants only to be accepted by his social group, but the hipster is a social climber, and wants to appear unique, thoughtful, wise, “in the know,” different and unusual to his social group. That is because unlike in a healthy blue collar social group, where people want to demonstrate competence, hipsters need to show they are socially important which they do through flattering the predominant individualist opinion (SJW) and then doing something unpredictable. It is the conformity of non-conformity.
Next time you see a (giggin’, which I’m told is slang to mean without a plan) hipster cruising down the street in his Victorian moustache with 1970s porno beard on a penny-farthing cycle while texting on his iPhone 6HIV+, realize you are just seeing another shopper. He is in fact the most mainstream of shoppers, hoping that he can borrow the hipness and authenticity™ factor from a niche and extend it to the same rules of acceptance that apply to every other social group. As a result, hipsters represent a lucrative market because in their desire to be clued in, they are clueless. Everything for them is a signal, a show of appearance and lifestyle accessories for others, so they do not care about the underlying quality. They are not shopping for a Mercedes-Benz. They want a Hyundai with superheroes painted on it and a smartphone jack, which are actually easy and cheap to achieve. Hyundai puts out the same butt-stupid product as for anyone else but tricks it out, and the hipsters buy it for 30% over list. Flawless victory for commerce! This is no different than how they sell absurdly burly trucks to rednecks, or chromed-out cars to “the urban market,” or even how they make girly cars out of last year’s model for the clueless 20-something bar concubine market segment. In the case of beers, the IPA demographic has exploded as hipsters have realized they can socialize for hours just talking about their favorite IPAs, and marketers have realized that if you take average beer and dump grapefruit into it, you can sell it to hipsters for 30% over list.
That being said, the review of Lagunitas India Pale Ale is this: slightly better-than-average beer entirely concealed behind grapefruit juice flavor, this IPA has above-average alcohol and zero taste since you literally have no idea what the underlying beer tastes like. It seems like a thicker, meatier version of Budweiser with higher ABV (6.2%). It would not matter if it was horse urine because the grapefruit juice obliterates that. Luckily it is not absurdly sweet to counter the bitter citrus, but more likely, a yeasty middle of the road beer given a jolt of some of Everclear to bump it up to hipster levels. That way, they can drink alongside their wine-swiggin’ friends and still be about as drunk when it comes time to share a Lyft (via micropayments) for the trip back to their managed housing. There is simply no reason to pick up this beer unless you are buying it for the price, which at $5/22oz is acceptable in most areas. Unfortunately, it just does not deliver a pleasurable drinking experience, so unless you are picking this up for hipster cred factor, it is unnecessary like so many other things.
Quality rating: 2/5
Purchase rating: 1/5
The metal community has always defended itself against poseurs, with most of us realizing that hipsters, scenesters and other groups are varieties of poseur.
What is a poseur? Someone who pretends for the social status of being seen in a hip group. Metal, as it turns out, has authenticity because we are actual rebels, not rock ‘n’ rollers singing protest songs to give legitimacy to their pursuit of hedonism.
Hipsters, poseurs and scenesters are threatening because they are insincere. They adopt a musical genre to make themselves look cool, and in the process sabotaging it by bring it to a lowest common denominator of attention-getting behavior.
This guts the genre from within. The spirit that made it authentic has been replaced with the same trashy plastic advertising that covers everything else. The genre then becomes absorbed by the same old stuff, which is itself a mishmash of whatever has sold records over the past five generations.
Perhaps the best definition of hipster — the mishmash left over when a civilization fails — comes to us from AdBusters magazine:
Ever since the Allies bombed the Axis into submission, Western civilization has had a succession of counter-culture movements that have energetically challenged the status quo. Each successive decade of the post-war era has seen it smash social standards, riot and fight to revolutionize every aspect of music, art, government and civil society.
But after punk was plasticized and hip hop lost its impetus for social change, all of the formerly dominant streams of “counter-culture” have merged together. Now, one mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior has come to define the generally indefinable idea of the “Hipster.”
An artificial appropriation of different styles from different eras, the hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture lost in the superficiality of its past and unable to create any new meaning. Not only is it unsustainable, it is suicidal. While previous youth movements have challenged the dysfunction and decadence of their elders, today we have the “hipster” – a youth subculture that mirrors the doomed shallowness of mainstream society.
But even that captures what hipsters are now, not the simple fact that they are an old archetype going back to The Enlightenment. The Bohemians of the 1900s, the rebels of the 1600s, and the giggin’ hipsters of the 2010s have some things in common: deliberately unconventional behavior, focus on ironism and uniqueness at an aesthetic level, and hedonistic lifestyles at the expense of the rest of us.
New York Magazine has more on the history of the hipster:
The hipster, however, was someone else already. Specifically, he was a black subcultural figure of the late forties, best anatomized by Anatole Broyard in an essay for the Partisan Review called “A Portrait of the Hipster.” A decade later, the hipster had evolved into a white subcultural figure. This hipster—and the reference here is to Norman Mailer’s “The White Negro” essay for Dissent in 1957—was explicitly defined by the desire of a white avant-garde to disaffiliate itself from whiteness, with its stain of Eisenhower, the bomb, and the corporation, and achieve the “cool” knowledge and exoticized energy, lust, and violence of black Americans. (Hippie itself was originally an insulting diminutive of hipster, a jab at the sloppy kids who hung around North Beach or Greenwich Village after 1960 and didn’t care about jazz or poetry, only drugs and fun.)
The hipster, in both black and white incarnations, in his essence had been about superior knowledge—what Broyard called “a priorism.” He insisted that hipsterism was developed from a sense that minorities in America were subject to decisions made about their lives by conspiracies of power they could never possibly know. The hip reaction was to insist, purely symbolically, on forms of knowledge that they possessed before anyone else, indeed before the creation of positive knowledge—a priori.
This leads us to wonder: why are hipsters so omnipresent, if they are transparent? Hipsters seek others who are either clueless or equally dependent on not mentioning the fakeness of hipsterism. Like drug addicts clustering, or cult members in their caverns, hipsters seek out people they can manipulate, control and influence.
The New York Times gives us a glimpse into the psychology of the hipster:
All hipsters play at being the inventors or first adopters of novelties: pride comes from knowing, and deciding, what’s cool in advance of the rest of the world. Yet the habits of hatred and accusation are endemic to hipsters because they feel the weakness of everyone’s position — including their own. Proving that someone is trying desperately to boost himself instantly undoes him as an opponent. He’s a fake, while you are a natural aristocrat of taste. That’s why “He’s not for real, he’s just a hipster” is a potent insult among all the people identifiable as hipsters themselves.
With all that being said, would you want this self-important psychology and fake social scene to invade your genre? This question weighs heavily on metalheads as SJWs emerge as the newest form of hipster, combining the demands for personal hedonism with a Communist-derived insistence that others subsidize it through tolerance and, ultimately, actual subsidies. It’s not surprising that many hipsters exist on an equal diet of trust funds and food stamps.
SJWs want to have the hipster psychology take over heavy metal, and while they claim it is for political reasons, the real reason is much simpler: they want to fill the room with people they can control, manipulate and influence by excluding anyone who is a realist, or has a complex worldview, or adheres to traditional heavy metal ideals. SJWs want to destroy our standards and replace them with their own so that, in the new chaos, they can keep the genre filled with clueless people who won’t point out the obvious.
That SJWs are just giggin’ hipsters.
Controversial early footage has emerged of post-metal band Deafheaven in an earlier look for them: rigorous, military, and intolerant with shaved heads and NSBM styling to their approach.
Obviously this has changed over time, as the band now follow a retro-hipster aesthetic, but you can see the early footage here:
If you are a false, do not entry. – Sarcofago
Elitism gets a bad rap because it has been appropriated by hipsters to justify their interest in low-quality but obscure bands. The obscurity of those bands makes them rare, which makes them valuable in a social situation, as you can always one up someone else by suggesting something more obscure, connoting greater knowledge, experience and “being in the know” on your part. This is the inverse of elitism however which is a simple formula of quality > quantity, which hipsters confuse with simply measuring by quantity alone in order to find the least popular and equate it with the highest quality.
Inferior substitutes replacing quality originals is after all a trope if not the defining feature of what happens over time in our society. A good idea becomes edgy, then hip, and so a dumbed-down version is made for the masses to democratically share in the hipness, at which point declining quality (dumbing down) destroys whatever made the idea important in the first place. One needs look no further than the progression of Metallica from their second album to their fourth to see this in action. Over time, the complexity and intensity erodes and is replaced by a friendly, vapid and appearance-based substitute. The story arc of black metal shows this most clearly, moving from an outlaw genre that upended all rock and pop conventions to a pale imitation in the form of indie rock with incomprehensible screaming.
It is no wonder the hipsters want elitism misunderstood. It would eliminate the entirety of hipster bands by pointing out that, instead of being quality because of their rare quantity, they are impostors and pretenders. Poseurs, if you will. Then again, what defines hipsters is the formula appearance > reality, so that entire genre of people are by nature poseurs, scenesters, day-trippers, tourists, pretenders and the like. Elitism offers cynicism with hope: that by raising our standards, we can raise quality. World-weary observers may note that this has something in common with the theories of Charles Darwin, which held that better adapted creatures reproduce more and thus over the years their traits predominate; on the other hand, traits which are not used die out. Cynicism by itself leads to a dark place where nothing has value, but cynicism with hope leads out of the confusing harangue of nonsense that most people rationalize themselves into liking, and shows instead a chance to clear the clutter, value the good, and spend life on more meaningful pursuits than what is new or obscure.
Darwin gave us a warning, however. Humans now control the index of selection, and so if we value the wrong things, those will predominate over other traits and exclude those traits. For example, in black metal it became fashionable to like the novelty of hybrids with indie-rock, and those sold more as a result, and this displaced most of the original material. In turn, the originalists attempted to preserve their music through exaggerating its external characteristics, which led to self-parody and low quality. Elitism is recognition of what our ancestors could have told us: most people, most of the time, are engaged in useless or stupid activity in order to appear important. The self-importance of the individual is the death of humanity, perhaps, but it certainly forms the death of music. One needs look no further than a thread of favorite bands where each user busily types in the most obscure bands he can think of in order to appear wise.
Misanthropy has long been a trait of metal. Compassionate misanthropy would be much like cynicism with hope, or a recognition that most people are busy with the useless, but that some are not, and if we value those good, we get more of the good; on the other hand, if we ignore them, they die out. Darwin would nod and smile at this implementation of his theory. Unfortunately for humans, only some — those with the intelligence, experience and honesty/aggression to pursue the truth — can articulate the difference between gunk and glory. These are opposed by the rest because these tastemakers will point out the the Emperor has no clothes on at all, which invalidates the posing and posturing of the majority. This in turn renders the hipster, scenester and try-hard irrelevant, and they fear this and as a result fight hard against any quality > quantity assessment, which leads them to try doubly hard to find the obscure but mediocre and champion it as the apex of the genre.
Majorities however determine the order of the day. They have more money and in democratic societies, political power; their misery is that by “winning,” they self-destruct by replacing quality with inferior substitutes. The last twenty years of heavy metal reflect this anti-Darwinian approach and quality has declined proportionately. Even record labels find that following the most recent trends — the way to success in a mass society — has stopped working for them as consistently as it used to. This intensifies the desire to replace quality with quantity, especially by claiming that a small quantity or being ironic, different, unique or contrarian signals quality. On this point, hipsters join with the bourgeois mass consumer marketers in the same theory, and through two different pathways, produce the same inferior result.
Take a sneak peek at this fascinating chart: over the last few months, interest in hipster “indie metal” and “post-metal” bands has been fading like interest in a Justin Bieber death metal album. This could explain the vast nervousness and agitation among that group, who had a ten-year window to take over metal and use it for their own ends by replacing the original metal fans with a larger audience of quasi-mainstream SJW-style indie hipsters.
But they have failed.
As Google trends reveals, hipstermetal has been a flash in the pan, and these bands that received huge media attention from SJW journalists have collapsed. Even much more extreme and abrasive and non-hipster bands maintain a surprising degree of relative popularity in comparison to the dying indie/hipster metal trend.
Even Windir is more popular even today than Liturgy and Wolves in the Throne Room combined. Why is it that even though all these bands try so damn hard to sound like real black metal, true fans can always tell? Moreover, people with the true metalhead personality always end up gravitating to the real stuff. I think that’s because of psychological makeup and possibly even genetics related to brain structure.
In other news, the henhouse is clucking. But how they will be screeching when the destruction specialists appear for the first time. The anticipation is unbearable. The savoring of the flavor of the moment, as SJWs realize their gambit failed and they have now again been reduced to being low-paid entry-level workers in a world that does not care about their “Male Tears” mugs and bold, independent, brave and different social justice opinions…
The hipster has one salient trait: ironism. Whatever everyone else is doing, he is not. He uses this trait in a passive-aggressive way to force acceptance through provocation. Where normal people gather, the hipster will show up looking as weird as possible, hoping that someone will say something because he knows that social pressure is on his side. If he is criticized, he can use the dominant paradigm of our age (individualism) as a weapon and claim the other party is bullying him, when in fact it is the hipster who is starting the argument by deliberately being unusual, different and “unique.”
This approach combines some of the ugliest aspects of human behavior. First is bullying, because the hipster is waiting for criticism so he can say, “Look boys, it’s just like in Napoleon Dynamite, the popular kids ganging up on all of us accepting and tolerant freaks! I’m just different, why am I the victim here?” and have an instant army of angry complainers to attack the critic. He has government on his side, which supports being freaky any way you want to so long as you pay taxes and don’t murder, and popular opinion. Second is egomania. The hipster is not concerned with truth, the future, the past or fact; he is concerned with social appearance, which serves as both his justification for existence and his weapon against others.
SJWs arose when people realized they could politicize this hipster approach. In addition to looking freaky, they took extremist positions within the dominant leftist+consumerism individualist ideology of the West. This attitude combines the liberal social attitudes of the left with the market-oriented attitudes of the right, and creates a nasty hybrid which supports freedom above all else, so long as profits (and taxes) are made. SJWs are not “different”; they are a different variety of the same. This allows them to style themselves as unique and deep thinkers without offending any of the current attitudes of society, but because they manifest these ideas in physically odd appearances and extreme versions of those accepted views, they provoke criticism and can then attack, increasing their own power in the process.
When SJWs decided to adopt metal, their first goal was to style the rest of us as aggressors. That way, the hipsters could passive-aggressively claim to be victimized and begin the group counter-attack. Their problem has been that metalheads use apathy as a weapon. We view this society as moribund and on its path to self-destruction, and so tend to consider SJWs irrelevant drama. On their second assault, SJWs refined their attack to “if you do not participate in our crusade, you are bad and must be destroyed.” This is why we now have articles on a regular basis talking about how metal is not accepting enough and must be reformed.
All of this comes as metal struggles with its own refinement, namely the smooth fusion of hardcore punk, progressive rock and heavy metal that was underground metal (death metal, black metal, grindcore and doom metal). The SJW hipsters do not like this fusion because it is too far from the warmed-over 1960s protest rock that they favor — let us face facts and admit that emo, and anything tinged with it, is basically Bob Dylan worship. Metal rode on a wave of energy caused by the need to make such a fusion, but once it was achieved, had no idea where to take it further. There were no further (coherent) extremes, nor new musical developments to occur. As a mature style, it is still waiting for fresh energy to revitalize its lexicon of techniques and conventions and put them into a new language, and while some bands have forged a path in this direction, most continue to either re-hash the past or re-hash other genres with metal flavoring. For this reason, SJWs infest it, because they sense a dying trend they can turn into something they control.