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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Kamrani: Go indie or go home

By Chris Kamrani

Conformity. A term hazily thrown around when it comes to the modernization of certain cultures. We have all been graced with certain pop-culture fads throughout the decades, but one that is proving to be the frontrunner for our generation is of remarkable adherence, not to mention affluent hypocrisy. My apologies, that wasn’t a lyric to a Rilo Kiley ensemble.

The “culture,” as many feel it should be dubbed, or rather the “indie culture,” has risen to insurmountable heights during the past few years. Based on the thriving independent aspects, it could be argued that this culture bleeds certain double standards.

The indie scene has established its own subculture within the humble dwelling of the Wasatch Mountains.

Living paradigms careen across the ice-laden sidewalks on a daily basis. Chuck Taylors (which, keep in mind, are arguably the most popular shoe in the history of footwear). Any sort of vintage piece of torso clothing, presumably with a proverb that only those who belong to the “scene” would understand. To go a step further, blazers, cardigans, suspenders, most likely followed-up with elaborately-colored articles of clothing. Basically, if someone wanted to stereotype a few things, he or she would keep a keen eye out for them.

But, please, cast aside all sorts of theatrical jabs one will or would wish to take once reading this column. I am no saint. I am no sort of do-gooder who decides to look down upon a certain populace and what they wish to embody.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, right? I, myself, have been known to dabble a bit in indie music, but in reality, who hasn’t?

Historically, subcultures have been dubbed by certain callings. Greasers, socs, jocks, emos, indies, gangsters, whatever. The list could go on for miles. Each is different in its own specific ways. Indie comes into play because of its desired separation from the mainstream culture. The evident hypocrisy throughout this subculture can be viewed in and around what it represents. The fueled-necessity to be “original” or to be “different” puts many indie followers on a self-placed lofty pedestal.

Could it be that people focus so much on being different that they have just become what they have known and grown to despise? Without question. How can they justify placing themselves in an elite status when they, themselves, have become a culturally-driven drone? Granted we have always wanted to embody those we look up to and aspire to be like one day.

Case-in-point: Every indie follower worships Wes Anderson and any movie he makes. Everyone must own or be familiar with Either/Or of the late Elliott Smith.

Independent films are at the forefront of the film genre. A personal experience of mine started what I wished to become an intriguing indulgence in the indie culture. “Little Miss Sunshine” had been released at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. I had the distinct pleasure to view it later that summer. It was starring hit funnyman Steve Carell, the lead in everyone’s favorite comedy “The Office.”

Presumably led on an independent-high, the movie was ruined by constant ill-advised laughter. Although I, myself, now come off as an elitist, I began to presume that everyone in the theater was laughing because the others were laughing — at whom else but Steve Carell only. Ditto for “The Darjeeling Limited,” Anderson’s new movie.

Now, I am not riding a personal wave of elitism. This is simply heresy on my part. Simply the sum of observations throughout the recent days, months and years.

Most importantly, the DIY (do it yourself) motto of many independent culture followers is a total falsity. What happened to steering clear of mainstream? Well, as stove-hot Urban Outfitters has taught us, the steering clear is not exactly No. 1 with a bullet. The store proceeds to charge an absurd amount of money for articles of clothing, especially ones that have been bought from thrift stores. I guess certain indie-goers are connecting with their inner-indie when they purchase $70 sweatshirts from Urban, rather than picking one up from your run-of-the-mill thrifty.

But with or without the culture’s stereotyped “elitist” views on many things, everyone is guilty of being indie at one point or another in their lifetime. Everyone wants to be special. Everyone wants to be unique, and everyone wants to be part of that specific counterculture that people see strictly with an outsider’s view.

Whether it be the hairstyles, apparel, taste in music or film, the indie subculture is thriving. Thriving on being having that alleged “outside-looking-in” mentality. Give no credit where credit is due, and another credited mentality amongst the subculture. People are people. They are allowed to say and do whatever they want. If they want to wear goofy hats like Sufjan Stevens or make perplexing films like Michele Gondry, it’s something people will do. No one can control what others want to do. Will indie continue to blossom? My guess would be for certain, but with no shameful reason. To quote indie-royalty Bright Eyes, “The sun came up with no conclusions.”

At the end of the day, I’m still the clueless, out-of-touch sports writer who still finds Old Navy attire hip. Now I could be selling myself short, wouldn’t that be incredibly indie of me?

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