The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Worst Misuse of Cowboy Hats Since "Hey Dude"

A few weeks ago, I was browsing the New York Times’ website when I came across an article that discussed how the Western fashions depicted in the film, “Brokeback Mountain,” were the newest trend sweeping through the fashion world.

According to the article:

“In New York, Ralph Lauren has opened two stores devoted to RRL, his line of clothes with a vintage Western feel; Los Angeles is next. At Rockmount Ranch Wear, the venerable Denver retailer, sales of Western shirts are up 25 percent in the last year. On eBay, Western hats, belt buckles and shirts are up 25 percent in the last month alone. The latest collaboration between a hot fashion designer and an old-school brand is Marc Jacobs and Wrangler. Mr. Jacobs has gone into the Wrangler archives and reinvented some classic cowboy wear from the late 1940's and early 50's. He also showed Western shirts in his own spring collection.

And the Dsquared spring collection, a nostalgic cowboy roundup (complete with leather aprons for shoeing your horse), has been one of the season's best sellers at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.”

This was disturbing. I had thought that people had learned their lesson several years back when for about six months to a year, sorority girls and frat boys rocked cowboy hats, a trend I found particularly insidious. If I had been blogging back then, you better believe I would’ve written an article how the frat/sorority crowd was to cowboy hats what hipsters were to trucker hats: i.e. a feeble attempt at irony. Nice work guys. Way to be stereotypes.

My point is, I thought we'd all learned our lesson. Cowboy hats are stupid unless you're a fucking cowboy. As is western gear. Alls I'm saying is if you're going to rock the Western look you better be chewing Skoal and have a horse with a name like "Steel" or "Mr. Ed."

Luckily, in my fear that this insidious trend was returning I consoled myself with the belief that the article appeared in the New York Times' Thursday Styles section. How accurate could journalists be? Journalists typically write trend stories of two kinds. One is based off of a small slice of the urban population (think 200 people in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) who have adopted some silly trend that never leaves that particular area. However, a scoop-happy journalist eager to best the competition writes a story about something that isn't a trend (see flash mobs, blogging, L'il catch my drift)

The other type of trend story that journalists write are about trends that are already "over" in hip circles. For instance, by the time journalists caught onto the Uggs phenomenon no "cool" women would've been caught dead in them. Accordingly, in an effort to get a head-start on being totally scooped, they tried to start other trend stories (anyone remember Muk-Luks? Anyone ever actually see anyone in a pair of Muk-Luks...nuff said).

Essentially, I figured the Brokeback fashion story was like the former, a bunch of rich hags and metrosexual New Yorkers were buying western garb at like three boutiques and the Times had jumped the gun on this being a trend. I was wrong. The cancer has spread much further than I ever imagined.

At first, I was driving through Silverlake the other day, adjacent to the Los Feliz neighborhood where I like to throw rocks at passing cars, rant, rave and smoke funny cigarettes. Very funny cigarettes. And what did I see by the Trader Joe's Silverlake. That's right. A man in a cowboy hat. And not just any cowboy hat. A Brokeback style Cowboy hat. There was no irony inherent in this fashion adoption. He was going for the gusto. He was trying to be a trend-setter. I resisted the urge to projectile vomit. But it was cool, I told myself. This is Silverlake after all. Spin Magazine did name it the hippest neighborhood in America (I had to make that joke somewhere on this blog..honestly, Spin, your crediblity is shot when your readers named My Chemical Romance the band of 2005. And by the way, letting Klosterman go, that's what people would refer to as a death-knell). If anyone in Los Angeles would rock Cowboy fashion it would be some yupster Silverlaker.

But that's what they wanted me to believe. They wanted me to lure me into thinking the trend was an aberration of sorts. But I wasn't fooled, particularly when I was at the Kibbitz Room of all places for a friend's b-day when it happened again. Another cowboy hat. On another person. And this wasn't just within the super hipstery confines of Silverlake, this was the fucking Kibbitz room. I mean this was Westside. I mean this was terrible.

I'm not sure how far this deleterous disease has spread and if there's anything we can do about it. Maybe it's just my repellant luck to have gotten my eyes tasered by two of Los Angeles' lamest specimens. But I think not. I think this is the new trend. I think that within days there's going to be some jackass trying to get into The Lobby wearing a Brokeback Mountain Cowboy Hat. Now I'm not against this because it has gay connotations. I'm against this because it's just fucking stupid. You people aren't cowboys. You people make six figures a year. Act like it. No one's going to believe you're Clint Eastwood because you wear the same hat. In fact, I think Jack Palance at 84 years old still could kick the shit out of the two 20-somethings I saw rocking the cowboy look.

Please be forewarned of this damning development. The end could be at hand. The cowboy look might indeed be returning. I swear to God if the trucker cap look comes back, I'm honestly moving to Canada. Then again knowing my luck, I'd stumble into the one neighborhood in Vancouver where people dress up like mounties, just to be "ironic."


At 9:58 PM, Blogger amphimacer said...

1. Here in Canada (where they filmed "Brokeback Mountain") we wear cowboy hats just to piss off ironists. (Well, everybody but me, because I think Alanis Morissette is ironic. Or did I mean iconic?)

2. When I played in a bad venue (student lounge at the University of Manitoba, where I played, among other things, the full eight minutes of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"), when things were working, as they did once every half hour or so, the sudience paid attention and it was worthwhile, even though I was making about the same money I would have made manfacturing shirts in a Taiwanese factory. So good venue or bad, what counts is the music.

3. How can we not love L. Ron Hubbard for creating Scientology (and John Campbell for goading him into it)? The 19th century gave us the Book of Mormon; the twentieth gave us Dianetics; what will the twenty-first century bring, and how does one propose to top those two?

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

1. Way to say one step ahead of the Ironists. It's tough. Because you never know if and when something is going to go ironic. The horror.

2. Agreed. Completely. Though Coachella does make everything a whole lot better.

3. A Giant Stay Puft Marshmallo walking across New York. THat tops everything I feel.


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