KHole 4 Youth Mode

KHole report 4 (Oct'2013): Youth Mode http://khole.net/issues/youth-mode/

The assertion of individuality is a rite of passage, but generational branding strips youth of this agency.

Youth is a mode. It’s an attitude. Think Kevin Spacey’s pot- smoking muscle hunk breakdown in American Beauty. That’s a Baby Boomer model of how it’s done. Regression to a state before the suit and the tie sucked all the life out of you and made you into a corporate drone. Everything fell apart for Spacey’s character because he did it all wrong. Being in YOUTH MODE isn’t about perpetually reliving yourself at a younger age, it’s about being youthfully present at any given age.

Mass Indie ditched the Alternative preoccupation with evading sameness and focused on celebrating difference instead.

But just because Mass Indie is pro-diversity, doesn’t mean it’s post-scarcity. There’s a limited amount of difference in the world, and the mainstreaming of its pursuit has only made difference all the scarcer

PROBLEM 1: SEEMING LIKE A CLONE The details that distinguish you are so small that nobody can tell you’re actually different.

PROBLEM 2: ISOLATION You’re so special nobody knows what you’re talking about

PROBLEM 3: MAXING OUT The markers of individuality are so plentiful and regenerate so quickly that it’s impossible to keep up.

If the rule is Think Different, being seen as normal is the scariest thing. (It means being returned to your boring suburban roots, being turned back into a pumpkin, exposed as unexceptional.) Which paradoxically makes normalcy ripe for the Mass Indie überelites to adopt as their own, confirming their status by showing how disposable the trappings of uniqueness are.

Once upon a time people were born into communities and had to find their individuality. Today people are born individuals and have to find their communities. Mass Indie responds to this situation by creating cliques of people in the know, while NormCore knows the real feat is harnessing the potential for connection to spring up. It’s about adaptability, not exclusivity.

Normcore moves away from a coolness that relies on difference to a post-authenticity coolness that opts in to sameness.

Normcore knows your consumer choices aren’t irrelevant, they’re just temporary. People compromise, people are inconsistent. Making one choice today and a conflicting choice tomorrow doesn’t make you a hypocrite. It just makes you complex. Consumption has never been a chance for absolute Self Actualization.

Individuality was once the path to personal freedom — a way to lead life on your own terms. But the terms keep getting more and more specific, making us more and more isolated. Normcore seeks the freedom that comes with non-exclusivity.


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