Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tumblr cool

To complement yesterday's post on what Tumblr tells us about common associations with the word "hipster", let's look at what Tumblr tells us about "cool".

The top three Tumblr blogs on cool are this one, this one, and this one. Looking at all three of them, my first reaction is to think of Sesame Street: One of these things is not like the others.

The first two are heavy on nostalgia and heavy on black and white photographs. The hipster blogs I highlighted yesterday had some nostalgic items, mostly fashion inspired by the late 1960s and early 1970s but nothing like the relentlessly nostalgic attitude that seems to go with the word "cool". And they flash back mostly to the post war period, running from 1945 to the early 1960s.

They are also very male in outlook. That is also the one thing they clearly do share with the third blog in the group above. It is packed with male stuff: motorbikes, guns, ammunition and partially undressed women with big breasts.

That said there are certain commonalities. The male outlook for example. The pictures of women on the first two tend to be just as contemptuously objectifying as the third. The first two features photos that are artsy, which is to say deliberately non-pornographic, but you don't get a good feel about women from looking at them. The third, if you look long enough, also has the same nostalgic elements as the first two, just not as prominently.

What strikes me about these blogs is how much I share in common with them. When writing about neo-noir, I have highlighted the conscious sense of nostalgia these movies evoke, the femme fatale character who highlights male weaknesses. Well, same thing in all three of these blogs. I can understand how these guys got where they are.

At the same time,  I do have to wonder if the angry attack on hipsters isn't, at least partially, a misogynist thing.

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