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The Agony of Chuck Taylors

February 28, 2011

I have just acquired a pair of Converse. One of my friends, in an odd moment of sartorial imprudence, bought a pair that was clearly labeled a size too large for her. They then fell upon me and my ridiculously grabby hands for the grand price of ten dollars and a chocolate bar, which somehow sounds less impressive in writing then it did in my head. Bad news though: these shoes are an absolutely ridiculous shade of light lavender. Think feminine hygiene boxes. Think bland soulless flower prints that bitterly optimistic grade school teachers hang behind their desks. Think girlishness filtered through a haze of anesthetic, its brightness neatly washed out by rubbing alcohol.

That’s not fair.

But the same way that hemp bags covered in witty buttons and 1970s punk rock patches are meant for the kind of girl who watches Brazil and Monty Python and who more likely than not have a ridiculously cool pair of Doc Martens, light lavender sneakers are destined for happy girls with slightly quirky personalities who listen to Regina Spektor and have rhinestone-studded cellphones and a long list of cellphone contacts with silly whimsical nicknames like Brixy or Chocokate.

Too lazy to actually buy fabric dye, I decided to just paint them with a can of india ink.

But wait, every article of clothing carries with it subtle connotations. And black converse, as we all know, is the iconic emblem of the hipster.

What that means is that I now have a bizarre fear of random passersby on the streets spitting in my face and mocking me for my choice of footwear. The worst part of it all is that I’m pretty sure I fit under the “hipster” definition. I like old stuff, I listen to indie music, I frequent secondhand bookstores, and now I’m the frantic possessor of a pair of Converse. I am fine with most of that. It is what I like to do, and if that’s who I am then that’s that. What’s really worrying is that if I admit I am a hipster, am I now ironically hipster? Isn’t that just a timey-wimey topsy-turvey logicbomb mindfuck implosion of irony? I hate myself suddenly, because suddenly I’m not just something – which was supposed to be fine – I’m now ironically something. If I admit to that, as I am doing by rambling about this now, is that ironically ironical irony? But if I try to escape that by going back to square one and restarting my personality constructions, and thus resorting to the first generation hipsterdom from which I just originated, is that not a sign of hipster-ness as well? The very idea of hipster is set up to collapse under anxiously paranoid self-scrutiny. What is irony? Where does it end? Is this a pipe? Do pop stars really think that no one will notice their nosejobs? Where does the sun go at night? What is authenticity? Who am I? What is reality?

Good questions all. But if we(well, me) really are getting to this point, then we might as well fuck it all and torch civilization to the ground and start over.

I’ll start with my shoes.

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