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In Defense of "Crusty Alt-Boys," an Op-Ed

In Defense of "Crusty Alt-Boys," an Op-Ed

This article is a response article I wrote upon impulse late at night. It's not intended to be taken personally (or even seriously), but rather with a little humor and an open mind. I agreed with the original piece in many areas, and thought it was well-done and funny.

What defines a Crusty Alt-Boy?

  1. They think they're special because they listen to The Smiths
  2. They wear skinny jeans and band shirts (one may infer "because they think they're so off-the-beaten-path")
  3. They're not malicious or knowingly sexist, but they overrate themselves and expect too much out of girls
  4. Though they may seem cool from afar, everything about them is aesthetically-based, thus they do not know what they're talking about
  5. They aren't different that from jocks, because both jocks and crusty alt-boys think they're "the shit" but are, in actuality, just average
  6. Their relationships are petty; they have "deep texting" and "playlist making" (filled with bands such as The Cure, The Smiths, The Strokes, Mary Chain, etc.) instead of actually deep romantic connections
  7. Their shoelaces are dirty and/or greasy
  8. They don't deserve goddesses

On the surface, it may appear as though these young men are superficial morons using deep music for social expediency. That is because they are, in fact, superficial morons using deep music for social expediency. But does that mean that they are bad? They aren't malicious or knowingly sexist, yet they continue to menace the public with their ignorance. They are the product of a consumerist culture, the pathetic poster-children of postmodernity. 

I understand the concern behind the comedy, I do. It is easier to mock the upsetting or unsettling when its face is crusty and pitiable. And that's the thing about postmodernism: it uses irony or cynicism to point out the flaws of the reality we live in, but neglects to offer any solution or alternative. I ask one favor and offer an alternative. 

My Favor: let's not define Crusty Alt-Boys as the 8 definitions above. Yes, they are all of those things, sure. We all are.

 The original Crusty Alt's. "People in the Sun" by Edward Hopper

The original Crusty Alt's. "People in the Sun" by Edward Hopper

My alternative: Let us remember the existentialists. In a post-World War world, people asked themselves questions like: "Why?" "The?" "Fuck?" "Would?" "Something?" "This?" "Horrible?" "Ever?" "Happen?" and "When?" "Will?" "It?" "Happen?" "Again?" (or in summary, just "Why?")

tHE entire FUCKING WORLD was in shock. So what did the great artists of the age do? They made shock art and shock theatre because they were in SHOCK. I don't think we've recovered, maybe we're in a narcosis or trance, but the PTSD still remains ingrained into the world. The world was a shade that even Rothko couldn't fully paste onto a canvas.

 Jackson Pullock: One: Number 31, 1950

Jackson Pullock: One: Number 31, 1950

That was the antecedent of these: (the embrace of consumerism)

And those were the antecedents to this. This culture. Trump inauguration, memes, youtube, everything. Laugh, I said the word meme, go ahead. The world's biggest internet troll got elected as President of the United States, up there with Abraham Lincoln and Washington. It's hilarious. It's the type of joke that Kafka would make. Maybe millennials are just smart enough to understand not only the complexity of the joke, the existential value within, and that they—we—are the butt of that joke. 

The apotheosis of the pop in postwar art marked a whole new marriage between high and low culture. For the artistic viability of postmodernism is a direct consequence, again, not of any new facts about art, but of facts about the new importance of mass commercial culture. Americans seemed no longer united so much by common feelings as by common images: what binds us became what we stood witness to.
— E Unibus Pluram; David Foster Wallace

That's the context. And as you've expected, dear reader, the article is not about "Crusty Alt-Boys". It's about us. 

So we're living in an Act Without Words. Where do we go after existentialism, self-ridicule and embrace of consumerism, and the development of irony and cynicism into culture? My guess is that society will react to its own negativity with optimism and perseverance, but while still embracing consumerism. Then again, I'm some idiot high-schooler with a laptop. 

Crusty Alt-Boys expect way too much out of girls, and sure, their shoelaces are greasy, and they're superficial. Boy, are they superficial. I would know, I—in many respects—identify with the definitions of a "Crusty Alt-Boy". Maybe we should pity them, and move on. Most Crusty Alt-Boys hate themselves already. None of us deserves a goddess. None of us are sinless. All of us are going to die, and all of us are in constant pursuit of distraction from that knowledge. Some of us are trying to make things better for the rest of us. Some of us gave up. Is it too much to ask the world for morphine in the form of skinny jeans and The Smiths?

On Being Out of Ideas

On Being Out of Ideas

On Caring

On Caring