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On People, Posers, and Mallcore

By Eric | September 5, 2005 2:09 pm

Other people are fascinating. As we were walking around the New York State Fair on Thursday, it occured to me that people watching really is one of my favorite pastimes. And there’s really no better place to do that then at large public gatherings of people, of which fairs would be a fine example. The cross-section of the population, and more specifically their habits, just astound me. And while everyone makes snap judgements, you see various families, or groups of people, and you wonder what their home life is like, what their house looks like, etc. What possesses someone to walk out of the house looking the way they do, wearing what they’re wearing? Why the hell do you act like an imbecile in public? For once, I don’t have any concrete examples from the fair, but rather an overarching, cynical, completely baseless continuing belief that John Q. Public is still an idiot.

I’m actually very thankful that Tiffany loves to comment on the people and surroundings as much as I do, because what fun would it be to see these things and not have anyone to bounce them off of? Every time I hear Carlo speak about his psych minor, or Sara about her psych major, I wonder if I should have gone into that, because I’m just fascinated about why people do what they do, and why they act the way they act.

Along these lines, I feel like now more than ever before I’m actually paying attention to trends, especially with the glut of back to school ads on TV and in the stores. While I realize that everything is something to be marketed, and every age group is a target market, I’m just a little surprised at how subtlety has gone out the window in regards to marketing. The ad execs will latch onto anything that seems hot and exploit it for all its worth, and then some. I think the reason I’m noticing it a lot more these days is because of the rise and continuation of the “rock star”, or “vintage” fashion trend that’s currently popular. Mallcore, if you will. I’m not even talking about places like Hot Topic, although they’re part of it. I mean walking into the department stores and seeing them sell clothes with concert/band/backstage icons or slogans. Now this is probably the music snob in me coming out, but half these kids wouldn’t know a rock concert if it hit them in the face, and the other half that actually go to shows just stand there, just so they can tell their friends that they were there and had a “killer time”. You are not rock fans, you don’t rock, you’re not “with the band” as your shirt proclaims. You only know two songs (singles?) from the band whose shirt you just bought at Hot Topic (and that band probably sucks anyway. See My Chemical Romance for a wonderful example). Case in point, the two kids that were in front of us at the 3DD/Staind show. Mom and Dad brought them (which is admirable, rock on Mom and Dad!), and they were each decked out in their brand new $50 Staind hoodies, yet during Staind’s entire set, sat, SAT in their seats, and never once looked to be into the show, singing along, headbanging, nodding, dancing, ANYTHING. Nothing like paying almost $40 per ticket to keep the seat warm. Yet, they’ll go to school this week raving about how awesome the show was, and how they’re Staind’s biggest fans to their friends, who are wearing their crisp new Fall Out Boy t-shirts and gushing about how cute the lead singer is.

I know I’ve made this argument before, but it used to be a much smaller subset of kids that tried to get in on it. Mallcore has become a much bigger epidemic in the last year or so, and from my observation, this back to school fashion season is the peak of it. Makes me want to puke.

If nothing else, remember two things:
1. Nothing is any good if other people like it. And if a lot of other people like it, then it REALLY sucks. (This goes for me too, I know, I know.)

2. (and this also goes for me) “I didn’t sell out, son. I bought in. Keep that in mind.” Words to live by.

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