"It was around this time that the term “hipster,” which has cycled in and out of the English language under various guises since the 1940s, began to denote something very specific to my 17-year-old soul. It was something pretty different from the groan-worthy “hipster” I think of today whenever I hear people bitching about Williamsburg residents with their fixed gear bikes and their speakeasies and their McCarren Park movies and their quinoa. Back then, in my understanding of the word, being a “hipster” wasn’t about buying into a series of marketing-driven lifestyle choices that make up a person of “good taste.”
Instead, back then, “hipster” referred to an all-encompassing, almost pathological reverence for art and music, often to the exclusion of other, traditional white bourgeois concerns, like educational and professional advancement. It was being part of a small, self-selecting group of people who had a completest attitude to pop culture and its history, an informal network of struggling artists and culture junkies who spent their free time buying old records and studying the minor footnotes of dead musical movements. Often, it seemed to be about things that most people didn’t care about, recognizing beauty in places where other people didn’t see it.”
an open letter to Thurston Moore from a social media professional/feminist/fan
As a communications professional and a fan of Sonic Youth—not to mention, also a feminist—I gotta say, this is not a great way of handling any of this bad press you’re getting. Sorry, NOT SORRY. Let’s get real: lambasting a big media outlet for picking up on your obnoxious, insensitive comments, well, it’s a little Alec Baldwin of you, eh? Right? ARE YOU THE NEW ROCK N ROLL ALEC BALDWIN? Yeah. You are. Bad choices all around, oh lanky artier-than-thou one.
While we’re on the subject, this whole debacle has made me really contemplate how much of a fan I can be at this point. And I question my fandom not because you a dick, but because you are just so meh. I mean I wept when Lou Reed died. And he was such a dick!
No, it’s that upon further inspection, I think you’re more of tastemaker than a great musician. Or anti-musician. Or whatever you claim to be. Pretend I’m not a girl now. It’s easier to think of me like a genderless music geek. So ok, I think you really did help people learn more about Suicide the band and that is a cool thing! I LOVE Suicide! And a bunch of graphic designers were prompted to start noise bands at RISD because of you, which made for some fun loft parties in Brooklyn in the early oughts. Bravo! Once I saw you at one and you were huddled in a corner looking at your feet. But you really need to lighten up/get off the ego trip. You, Thurston, are boring.
Without Kim and her badass bass playing, her simultaneous come hither/fuck off image, and her ability to package High Brow Noise No-Wave Punk Mayhem into something interesting and inspiring and FUN TO FUCKING LOOK AT and BE PART OF— your band would not be nearly as important as it is. Sonic Youth sans Kim would have the cultural significance of, well, Husker Du. With no offense to Husker Du, of course (great 80s college rock indie band!). I’m sorry, you are not the one who inspired a movement (Riot Grrl). No one has ever talked about your stage presence. And those masturbatory guitar noise fuzz things you did on stage EVERY SINGLE TIME I saw Sonic Youth (four times between 2001 and 2010)? Oy, they were just always SO LONG. I’m not sad to miss those anymore.
So, yeah, ultimately, I think probably the reason you are doing all of this idiotic media, rather than just staying out of the limelight and playing with broken synthesizers, is that you really want to stay culturally relevant now that you’ve lost your more interesting half. Musically and culturally. And that is way lame. Having an affair with a younger woman who was married (is married?) to a duke or something, a woman who never actually speaks but is represented by your adoring (but also kind of creepy oh “hey she’s hot and young, look at her”) social media posts, it’s just not cutting it. We don’t care, except when you lash out re: Kim. So shut up and produce something and get out of the spotlight, ok?
Dana “I had a Free Kitten t shirt in high school and owned a VHS copy of THE YEAR PUNK BROKE” C. Trombley