Volume 97, Issue 3
Thursday, June 5, 2003

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Don't believe the hype, the hip

Maggie Wrobel
Campus Life Editor

Unless you've been brought up in a cult, making your own decisions has always been one of the things that goes along with being christened an "adult."

It usually means deciding on your own accord when it's time to do laundry and fill the fridge with something more than Diet Coke. As an adult, you also get to choose how to spend your hard-earned money. No more begging mom and dad for money to go to the movies, or saving from your paper route to get that New Kids on the Block album. No sir, you're finally free to do what we've all been bred to do: consume and spend, all on your own terms.

But what will you buy? I've come to the realization it will most likely be what others tell you to buy.

While so many of us twenty-something adults live with the notion that we are free-thinking, liberal-minded people who create our own identities, make our own choices and above all, believe we're different from "the rest"; it's actually a pretty safe bet to say we're not.

Whether they want to admit it (and they usually don't), or even realize it, many of the most avant-garde, self-dubbed hipsters hover directly within the buzz of the mainstream.

Although it's been discussed to death already, the "New York rock" bandwagon is a perfect example. Rolling Stone says the word and suddenly, a bunch of private school boys with scuffed-up designer jeans are the new saviours of rock. We all buy Is This It? because we've been told there's a new rock revolution and we don't want to be left out of the monumental event. A month later however, a new "it" band is on the cover of RS and The Strokes are yesterday's news.

The other day, looking at my complete discography of White Stripes albums, I came to the realization I don't even like the band all that much and the CDs only really got any play at the point of their immediate release (read: the highest point of hype).

Ultimately, the main point is it's hard to make up your own mind in a world full of media that's been designed to brainwash you and take your money at all costs. What can we do to escape this hamster wheel of hype? Keep your eyes open for alternative media sources, go to live shows to experience music for yourself and above all, keep an open mind to things you haven't read about in SPIN.



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