An excellent article, indeed. We can look at this emergent group of aging indie kids through two lenses: economic and social. First, let's take the easy one, and discuss the economic implications of Sternbergh's "Grups". In his celebrated book The Rise of the Creative Class, Carnegie Mellon professor Richard Florida advances the thesis that a new class of workers (read: "Grups") is changing the way we live, work, and play. At one point, Florida recalls a rock-star software engineer student of his who received a job offer while playing frisbee with a group of T-shirt-clad recruiters from an Austin firm. The recruiters, interestingly did not identify themselves as such, but preferred to think of themselves as "just hanging out." To be sure, the American economy is undergoing rapid changes. But these changes are nothing to fear; rather, they will give people the freedom and flexiblity they need to innovate. Looking at the grups on a social level raises a set of bigger and scarier questions. Why are 40-somethings clinging to their Cramps T-shirts, ratty sneakers, and undergrad partying habits? Are Americans losing their identities in the face of mass media, mass marketing, and massive disposable incomes? And (to wax cliched) what about the children? Is a two-year-old really capable of sonically appreciating Wilco and Sufjan Stevens? And how will these grups respond to the (inevitable?) teen angst of their hipster progeny?

I'm still going to listen to the Walkmen on my Walkman when I'm 30. I don't see myself cashing in my taste in music (and fashion, art, food, movies, etc.) upon receiving my first "good job". But I am going to be nonetheless concerned about this generation of Peter Pans surrounding me. Why? If for no other reason than the alarming confession a grup makes, revealing her worst fear: that "Our kids are going to become Republicans." It seems freedom of thought is not a hot item at Urban Outfitters.

Daniel Corbett

 

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