What It Is: Dad Hats, Pins, And A Gang Of Posers Pretending
Bobby has 1,000,000 followers with bad taste, and Jill has 2,000 followers with good taste. If Bobby’s post gets 100,000 likes, and Jill’s post gets 100 likes, whose post is better?
The answer is Jill’s. Because Bobby’s followers have bad taste, that means that 100,000 out of 1,000,000 people (10%) confirmed that Bobby’s post contained things that are pleasing to people with bad taste. Things that are pleasing to people with bad taste are not good, it’s the equivalent of multiplying a positive number by a negative number: the outcome is negative. Jill’s followers have good taste, which means that 200 out of 2,000 people (20%) confirmed that Jill’s post contained things that are pleasing to people with good taste.
All these people who want to be famous on social media for selling pins, or selling art, or selling whatever cheap commodity they could outsource with a google search, are not good at word problems, and they are not artists. They’re not creative people. They’re posers looking for something to sell in the capitalist shitstorm of social media fame. Everyone knows that most people making pins, and dad hats are lazy consumers who wish that they could be artists. But instead of just being artists–which is the most obvious, easy, and natural solution–they go to all the sociopathic trouble of making the things that artists sell, and posting the pictures that artists post, without ever making art. It’s like advertising a home-cooked meal-appreciators club, that meets at McDonalds. Anybody who is doing this for reasons that go deeper than, “I wanna be the loudest idiot selling the most things this week,” sees exactly what’s going on. There are a lot of problematic people who have “started a brand” that makes pins, patches, t-shirts, and other ancillary consumer goods that do not matter. And these people share common goals: get real big on Instagram and sell lots of stuff.
"It’s like advertising a home-cooked meal-appreciators club, that meets at McDonalds."
Now, just because I can neatly summarize the frail novelty that is being perpetuated here doesn’t mean that I am condemning it. For one, you can only meet the audience where they’re at. If people are buying pins and dad hats and you wanna make stuff, then you gotta start with selling pins and dad hats. And if people are buying combs disguised as switch blades then you gotta meet them there. It’s stupid but it’s reality. Secondly, I’m not here to judge anyone. I know I come across harsh at times–URL and IRL–but my intention is never to focus on any individual person as the cause of these dilemmas. I’m here to point out how our culture betrays itself: don’t hate the player, hate the game. Today people are eager to accept culture as it is presented, and get back to chasing fame on social media. If we really want to alter our cultures’ infrastructure to best serve all who might seek to use it–as people so vehemently claim to in this era of unignorable civil rights reform–then it starts with critical dialog. But right now if you speak up and try to initiate that critical dialog then you’ll be met with resistance, because “Things are good enough for us thirsty fame-seekers right now!”
We live in a time when culture is being presented from capitalist institutions that seek to use culture as a means to subjugate and profit from the masses. If you accept culture as it is presented on the internet then you are not participating in art, or creativity. You are participating in a marketing scheme that portents to depict art. Unless you are employing some kind of critical insight and creating alternatives in your practice, then you’re part of the problem. Has anyone thought about how easy it is to make pins? All you have to do is:
trace a simpson’s character on your cracked version of Illustrator,
then upload the files to a website that you found via google,
fork over a little bit of cash that your employer gave you for working at their business,
wait a few weeks for the pins to show up at your door,
take a picture with your iphone and upload it to your big cartel and your instagram,
then print out your labels and ship out all the pins
All it takes to be “a great artist” today, is following those six easy steps. And then you too can be another node in the network of grotesque capitalist greed utilizing limited resources, and offering little more than a few trinkets that will ultimately be discarded when consumers need to clean out their lives. If the definition of artist and project manager are interchangeable, then things are about to get really fucking boring. And they have. There are so many people making boring crap, and desperately seeking approval in creative circles, that you can’t even find the stuff you want to experience anymore. Everything is a mess because a bunch of thirsty people who really don’t belong, are out here shoving their dicks down everyone’s eyes in hopes that someone will think they’re special. But the only people giving praise are the people with bad taste, so . . .
"You’re not creative. You’re not artists. You’re just stupid privileged capitalists wasting resources trying to make yourselves feel special."
Is the commodification of your shitty uninformed opinion so special that it needs to obscure the original idea you’re trying to copy? Is it really that important, or that cool, to start a brand and manufacture a bunch of consumer goods that nobody needs? Especially if we’re talking about creative culture? It would be one thing if all the people making pins and patches, and lusting for social media fame, were bankers or hedge fund nimrods. But they’re not–the people who are producing a ceaseless amount of superfluous objects are artists, musicians, makers, crafters, et cetera. The people who are wasting natural resources and energy, and creating all sorts of pollution (both terrestrial and cultural) are the supposed creatives. On the positive side these idiots will all be immortalized in the carbonite-like concreteness of the internet. In 15 years society will be vilifying 40 year olds who spent their 20s and 30s filling the world with meaningless repugnant crap that nobody cares about. Shit, if we’re lucky they’ll be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. You’re not creative. You’re not artists. You’re just stupid privileged capitalists wasting resources trying to make yourselves feel special.
Make no mistake there is a direct correlation between basing your “brand” on selling pins and dad hats, and being a major contributor to this questionable era of consumer glut. The people who don’t recognize–or don’t care–that pin collecting is a mindless glutinous trend with no connection to usefulness are the people who are overcome by this era’s worst influences. If you’re just shifting existing consumer resources by hiring someone to print popular graphics onto metal pins then you’re not making art, or culture, and you don’t have a brand–you’re a poser. Being a poser is shameful, and while I’m not out to shame individuals, I think folks need to recognize a painful reality: being a poser is a betrayal against humanity, and all posers should feel an eternity of shame. If you are calling yourself, or your work something that it’s not, then you’re fucking it up for everyone that ever did it, and everyone that ever will do it. And if you’re screwing over all those people just so that you can be short-term famous on Instagram, and sell a bunch of things that nobody needs, then you will have something to answer for when you pass from this realm. You’re fucking with nature, and when you fuck with nature you get bucked.
Now, I don’t think that fools are necessarily engaging in a malicious deception, because as I said, most of these folks are simply overcome by bad influences. I don’t think that most people are really aware of the impact of their actions because they they fail to recognize the systems that they’re actually acting in. You might think, “Oh hey I’m in 2017 doing what’s hot on Instagram and catching shine. I tell my story, promote positivity, and respecting women, so I’m making the world a better place.” But when you consider that we’re in an era where values and social institutions are being recast, telling one’s story, and promoting values by celebrating consumerism is not doing any of the hard work of creating the new culture of our society. If you’re out here “telling your story,” and “promoting positivity” without creating new kinds of experiences, and building new kinds of places where culture can affect society, then you’re the problem.
". . . promoting values by celebrating consumerism is not doing any of the hard work of creating the new culture of our society."
You’re not changing anything for the better and you’re taking attention away from the people who are doing the best work. Artists and creatives don’t get likes and money. Artists and creatives create, we bring productive change, we are the generative force of nature as embodied by the industrious benevolence of human ingenuity. Artists bring nature’s influence to bear on society via culture. If we happen to be astute in the practices of business then we also have the opportunity to earn good money, and if we happen to be astute in the best practices of social media then we might get a lot of likes, but money and likes will never mean anything in art, creativity, or culture. When the loudest proclaimers of “I AM AN ARTIST,” are also those who blindly transpose the shackles of old world white man supremacy onto our new ways we are in trouble. Def don’t get it twisted: consumerism and capitalism are the white man’s most successful tools of oppression in this era.
Today being a successful artist or creative means nothing more than having millions of followers, and millions of dollars. There is no reason to get the money other than having more than everyone else. The only reason why people want the attention is to be the one who is envied by all the other obviously insecure posers–everyone is competing to be the biggest fucking loser out there. “Creatives” are desperate to deceive because that’s the only way to be perceived properly in the capitalist institution, and these “creatives” are only capitalists in the end. Actual creatives are struggling in the realms of capitalism because we have ceded the majority of culture to multinational corporate interests, or silicon valley fucktards who are desperate to be perceived as genuine and cool. Instead of demanding that these outmoded institutions of elitist oppression change and become more like us, irresponsible posers have taken the free lunch and lowered our cultural institutions to the standards of hedge funds and multinational soda corporations. When “artists” are “fortunate enough” to be the “hard working individual” who sells out a whole culture to a corporate interest they should be using that money to build the spaces where their culture can influence society. Instead, these “artists” use the money to aggrandize themselves, they retreat into expensive villas of private demoralization, and culture is left to wallow in the leftover spaces–bars, galleries, and bullshit music venues–of an antiquated era.
"There is no reason to get the money other than having more than everyone else."
People will try to say that I shouldn’t worry about it, that it’s negative to speak like this, and if I worried more about myself then maybe I would have millions of dollars too. Well that’s all bullshit. If more people were like me, then there wouldn’t be time for all this yabba dabba doo ass flintstone ass feet powering a car of the future ass bullshit. If more people pushed for real alternatives, and spoke out to criticize what’s going on then maybe all these posers wouldn’t feel comfortable pissing in the punch bowl. Sure everyone has the right to participate, but not everyone has the right to represent culture, especially if it means you’re getting paid to do it. I’ve met a ton of false idols who are dangerous to the culture, but I’ve met way more fools who blindly empower them. The rarest thing out here is great artists who aren’t thirsty for fame and money. I’m fortunate to know a lot of those, and I do my best to promote them. But I also do my best to make posers feel entirely unwelcome. If your fraud ass is out here making pins of famous cartoons, you’re trash. You need to delete your instagram, and bury all your product in a 90 foot deep cement pit. If you’re out here claiming to be an artist and all you have to show for it is an instagram feed, some merch, and some art shows that you did in other people’s galleries then get the fuck off the computer and go do something that matters before you post again. I’m not angry, mad, or mean, I’m just someone from before the internet who knows better, and is overwhelmed by how shitty this has all become.