Monday, May 27, 2013

The Sorrows of the Young Hipster

I always have to laugh when people get irritated about "these kids today". We all want to think that the next generation is the new and most annoying generation of all time.

But look, hipsters are nothing new.

In ye oldeny times of 1774, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was the owner of the world's most impressive name and writer of a novel called The Sorrows of Young Werther.

With a title like that, you know it's gotta be good. In fact, 24-year-old Goethe laid the foundation for the Romantic movement with his woeful epistolary novel detailing the doomed love between a young peasant girl and the dude who knows she's engaged before he gets all up in her business. (It was also autobiographical, which got real awkward for everyone involved, especially Goethe.) Peasant girl gets married, Werther suffers poetically a bunch, and then eventually shoots himself and dies.

This book is basically what happens if you mix Romeo & Juliet and Sherlock Holmes. Goethe ended up hating this novel and saying he "could not have been more haunted by a vengeful ghost". Arthur Conan Doyle feels your pain, bro.

"I can't help it that I'm popular."
The novel was a big success. Like, a really big success. Like, everyone quickly started wishing the book would go away.

How did this get here?
It started a trend of "Werther-Fever" where young dandies dressed like the character in the novel, showed up at Goethe's door to generally annoy him, and even committed copycat suicides. No, really. It was actually such a problem that the book was BANNED in a bunch of places.

So be grateful, I guess. Instead of duckface and Times articles, we could have yellow pants and blue jackets. And angsty poetry recitations at dawn (*shudder*).

"If I sit here awhile longer, I'll probably have a super deep thought.
Any time now. Aaaaannnnnyyyyy time."

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