My mom suggested I try to write for Teen Vogue.
‘They’re impressive… they’re political. And they need writers. Niko, they’re definitely with it.’
23 is not so far from the halcyon days of teenagerdom. I’m aware that American life peaks at 17 and then flattens into a very long and slow withering of lifeless drudgery and the slow crushing of every romantic notion you ever harbored- but still; I remember what it was like, those days, getting high, breaking shit, being cooler than a MF’r.
I’ll admit, I have no fucking idea what the kids are talking about these days. I’m reading Epicurus. I listen to Marvin Gaye. I don’t know if I’m Teen Vogue material. Vice wouldn’t even fuck with me. Somewhere I lost touch. Am I… young? Am I… alive?
So I went over there to Teen Vogue dot com and took a gander at what the youth are saying, out of sociological curiosity, in this crazy, crazy world… ‘Teen Vogue.’ I swished the words around in my mouth, scanning the headlines…
and, My god. Whoa.
So much has changed since I was 16.
I never read magazines, let alone this one, but generally, I remember, it was considered faux-pas, patently uncool, to ever talk about politics, to ever lay a hint that you actually cared about something, anything. We were still crammed with the ethos of that forgotten age, the MTV (non)sensibility and vapidity for which so many critics despised American culture.
No longer. The times, they have a-changed. Wow.
Make no mistake, my nonchalant, nose-ring-socialist disenchantment is to blame for my inability to express the positive emotions that are rushing through me. It’s due to my generation, man, the (non)sensibility. Whatever. I don’t know. But I’m way fucking impressed with these kids. Teen Vogue is the shit. For example:
Did these motherfuckers just use the word ‘politicization’?! I don’t think the Guardian would even put that in a headline! This shit would NEVER fly when I was in high school!
It was weird. Do kids really… care about the world and the future and other human beings? Isn’t that… bad for capitalism? What is going on here?
They interweave these little interviews and news-stories with a mishmash of relationship-columns and vapid gossip, but still, it’s quite a balancing act. It’s almost propaganda. It is propaganda. But as long as it’s on the right side of things, a little propaganda is good, right? Then it’s just education.
Of course, it’s Teen Vogue and not Counterpunch. In between articles like ‘Zendaya had a SECRET BOYFRIEND for 4 years’ you have thoughtful pieces about ‘What You Need to Know to Be a Better Ally‘. Shit is great. They are obviously veterans, masters of the latest (vogue) semantics of Liberal Arts Campuses everywhere. Their sensibility is on point: (From ‘…spearheading the politicization of electronic music’)
‘Born in Riverside, California, Elysia still maintains a strong connection to her indigenous Aymara roots. As such, identity politics is a big talking point for her, as is modern colonialism and the subjugation of Native Americans. However, that’s not the only issue that’s near and dear to her. As a transwoman of color, Elysia is also a vocal proponent for education as a means of minimizing violence against gender-nonconforming or trans bodies. So, on the heels of her new Vinyl Factory project, Teen Vogue sat down with her to talk about everything from the politicization of electronic music to how privilege still exists within so-called progressive spaces.’
Very intelligently written. Even though I strongly dislike this robotic discourse that has come into being of late, and I cringe when I hear it actually spoken (or rather, re-produced), I appreciate their eschewing the conspiracy of silence around racism and inequality. It’s rather fearless of them, given that most newspapers (and not teeny-bopper fashion magazines) still by-and-large ascribe to that mythology of America; as the unblemished, always infallible poster child of righteousness and humanity. Where these venerable giants fuck up, what do you know, Teen fuckin’ Vogue is right there to tell the truth.
Diving into Teen Vogue, I felt like Channing Tatum in 21 Jumpstreet; I admit:
So yeah. I approve. I like what I’m seeing out there.
Despite the notorious Twitter Nazis and their various personality-cults, I believe this sort of post-modern open-mindedness is the main sentiment. Despite the con-artist chimpanzee in the Oval Office. People like Richard Spencer and Milo (shudder, cross yourself) are the uncool reactionaries of an already bygone era. They will never, ever be as cool as Teen Vogue. Fuck them. They’re ‘fuck boi’s’ as the kids say nowadays. The left is cool again. Politics, in this new form, is cool again. Damn. Where was I?
It feels rather silly to be critical. So I won’t. I’m still speechless, jesus.
It’s great. That’s all the enthusiasm my brain-washing allows for. The next crop of kids will be much more feeling and much less numb. I see it already!
Ahh, I love the youth! Onwards! to Revolution, comrades! Bread, Peace, Land!