Everything You Ever Needed To Know About So-Called “Hipster Racism,” Lester Bangs Sorted Out In 1979
Call it juvenile if you like, but we picked up Lester Bangs‘s Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung sometime in the late 1980s, and if we are to be honest, we’ve never put it down for long. A life spent with Lester can have its diminishing returns, for sure, but in those early years, it gave us so much. And even still, every once in a while, the ol’ Lester will double back and deliver a bag of goodies to your door all over again. So, possibly like you, we’ve been watching the strange Gawker/Jezebel obsession with railroading the HBO show Girls — who seem to be doing a plenty good job of that on their own, thanks — with half interest and half PLEASE SHUT UP, WHITE PEOPLE.
But it wasn’t until a late-night Facebook chat with our buddy El Malito last night that it hit us: Lester already sorted out “ironic racism” or “hipster racism” over 30 years ago, when he penned a piece for the Village Voice in 1979 called “The White Noise Supremacists,” which took aim on the then-rampant racism boiling under in the now oh-so-lionized CBGB’s/early punk and new wave scene. After a lot of fretting and ugly admissions, Bangs wrote:
[..]Nothing could make the rage of the underclass greater than it is already, and nothing short of a hydrogen bomb on their own heads or a sudden brutal bigoted slap in the face will make almost anybody think about anybody else’s problems but their own. And that’s where you cross over the line. At least when you allow the poison in you to erupt, that can be dealt with; maybe the greater evil occurs when you refuse to recognize that the poison even exists. In other words, when you assent by passivity or indifference. Hell, most people live on the other side of that line.
There’s a PDF of the piece available here if you’re interested. But it just goes to show: Why read blogs when you could be reading BOOKS. They’ve already solved so many problems. They’re just waiting there for you.