Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hipster Trifecta and Quasi-Irony

Chapter XV of Portland author James Bernard Frost's Hawthorne Books "A Very Minor Prophet" was probably my favorite. There wasn't as much focus on religion or politics (which admittedly were primary elements of the book) but there was one of the locally legendary nicknamed houses with creepy stuff going on in the basement, and there are wonderfully awkward lurches forward with the love story arc.

And I think by this point in the work I'd hit two hard to resist references: a black The Residents t-shirt and Zia of the Dandy Warhols. The trifecta was later complete with a tertiary "Sweat Loaf" quote.

So yes, while it may not be a perfectly realized work - one triggered by the shock and passion of those years following 9-11 but lingering into a detached aftermath by a years-later publication date - it is a loving, not-yet-jaded tour of Portland and in particular the counter-culture scene and it was actually that aspect and the various scenes and settings, as well as the rhythm and pacing of the story that I enjoyed the most.

And for me the most resonant theme by far was the battle between irony and earnestness. This infuses so many layers of our culture, from politics to entertainment, from what it means to be hip versus what it means to be "good people". Get it wrong and you may get your eardrums perforated with a massive gong hit blasted through a steroidal PA system.

So, what would you do if you were naked, injured, and dripping wet and wandering lost through the subterranean corridors of the Bug Cave and kept passing a room with a buzzing sound on the other side of the door?

And did I mention there was a Zia reference in this work?

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