|"I've been hip since 1969, you fool!"|
And while I usually concentrate my vim, vigor, and vicious vulgar verse (say that three times fast) on the Post's totally inept local and opinion sections (seriously, this is just factually wrong), today it's on their usually inconsequential Style section. Poor thing...
I just can't get over this article, which seeks to "uncover" Moscow's hip side through the kinds of "duh"-inducing observations that anyone under the age of 50 had already made 10 years ago. It's this kind of decade-late corny sh*t that makes DC seem like a city full of unsophisticated suburbanites to the rest of the world.
The problem is, that's exactly the audience that the Post always seems to be going for. (ZOMG, DID THEY EVER FIND THAT GOAT?!?!) But serious question: when was the last time an article in the Post's Style section related to anything going on in the life of a 20- or 30-something living in the actual city (or even in the more denser populated areas of Arlington)? I can't think of anything off the top of my head.
That's sad. A paper with all those resources can't seem to hire a few writers who can do more than state the obvious... But let's return to the article about Moscow for a minute to see what's going on here:
[Moscow's] an amazing, intriguing and rewarding place -- I never tire of urging friends to visit -- and I thought I knew it pretty well, until I discovered another Moscow, nearly hidden somewhere between excess and deficiency, a very cool city with cutting-edge galleries, cafes and clubs, all informed by an urbane sensibility and designed on an intimate scale. Call it hip Moscow.I will not call it "hip Moscow" because that sounds like just about the most un-hip way to describe anything, especially something that's pretty obvious. Moscow is cool. It is cutting edge. And it has been for quite some time. And what's weird is, ironically, this writer seems to have actually known that. She pointed out the underground art in Soviet Russia in the 1920's, rightfully calling it hip. However, then she makes a pretty obvious mistake in saying that that was the last time Moscow offered anything neither drab nor decadent, and indicated that the years between 1930 and 2011 were nothing but lame.
And with that, any leftover miniscule modicum of credence I may have given this writer to actually tell me something new and relevant to my life and interests instantly vanished. Some of the world's coolest, most hip art sprung out from underneath the most crushing years of Communism in the 1930s and beyond. Take literature for example. If Mikhail Bulgakov, who wrote what I believe is still one of the most cutting-edge novels of all time, The Master and Margarita, in the 1930's, which was banned but published anyway in the underground press in the 1960's, wasn't/isn't f*cking hip, then that word means absolutely nothing.
But I get it. Moscow is also filled with all kinds of tacky, definitional "un-hip" sh*t. Walk down any street and you're sure to see a slew of taller, blonder, skinnier Snooki's waiting in line to purchase more lace, leopard print and lip plumper than most people can imagine. However, unless Moscow's actually become less hip in recent years, I can't believe someone who lives and works there today can have such a hard time seeing past that veneer. When I was living there
But of course, the Post failed to note that because they're writing for people, I guess, who still seriously think of Russia as a place where you're either poor peeling potatoes or rich with so much opulence to haz. Which explains this ridiculous paragraph that came after the above-quoted last one:
Moscow, hip? Hip, after all, speaks to the individual, the personal, the idiosyncratic, and it should involve some fun, a word that doesn't even translate well into Russian. [Anti DC note: This actually makes the Russian version of Rebecca Black's Friday better.] I'd lived here some years ago and returned last fall to report from The Post's Moscow bureau. I thought I knew Moscow 2011, but it took visitors from Washington to help me discover hip Moscow. You know how it is -- you can walk past the Smithsonian every day for years but never know that the Hope Diamond lies sparkling inside until a cousin comes to stay.I don't even know where to start with this. Is she calling the Smithsonian hip? The f*cking hope diamond is cutting edge? I suppose if she means that literally... (HAR!) But seriously, it took people from Washington to show you "hip Moscow"? Really? Right there should tell you how the rest of the article goes. It turns out the hippest parts of "hip Moscow" are a well-known photography museum, a design and architecture institute run by oligarchs, a gallery owned by an oligarch's wife, an art museum that's been around for over a century, and a handful of other things that are worth going to, for sure, but probably don't deserve the moniker "hip," nor to be categorized under the headline "Moscow's hidden secret." That's like calling American Apparel and Urban Outfitters secret shopping spots. They're fine, cool even in the non cutting-edge sense, but they're certainly not "hip."
See, using the Post writer's own definition of "hip" -- "individual, the personal, the idiosyncratic" -- just like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, which are ubiquitous in any mall, I'm not sure this list of major Moscow art spaces that any given travel book would include on their city maps qualifies. The definition of "hip" to me means something must be somewhat underground, cutting edge, not yet mainstream. That's why we make fun of the word "hipsters" now. With the popularization of stores like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, what people used to think of as cutting edge is now the mainstream. Every kid these days dresses like the lovechild of Roger Rabbit and Tom Cruise in Risky Business. (God, you should see my outfit today, p-b-b-b-blease!)
But look, despite my critique, this article wasn't actually horrible. Beneath the rather misguided conceit and totally wrong headline, there's actually a lot of good, basic information in there. And really, had the article just been titled, "Some worthwhile art spaces to visit in Moscow," I wouldn't be writing this right now. But alas, once again, with the promise of telling me something I already don't know the Post came up short for my demographic...
This is hip Moscow. Sorta. What's really hip wouldn't be on the Web yet.