Felix da Housecat for the 2003 film “Party Animal”
We are living
In the age
In which the pursuit of all values
Money success fame glamour
Has either been discredited
Money success fame glamour
For we are living in the age of the thing
I wasn’t a club kid in the Iraq War era. I had not yet rebelled. Like all class jumpers I was safely ensconced at a private university where I studied great books. I was however a club kid in the era of indie sleeze which arrived at an even more bleak sociopolitical nadir.
The Global Financial Crisis imploded expectations for how middle class millennials might pay off loans for expensive educations while we redeployed our working class to Afghanistan. But we’d elected Obama so like our politics were a little weird. Yes, we can’t? It’s was a dissonant age.
The remnant aesthetics from that era are somewhat shameful (as is all true youth culture) and yet here we are repeating them as the twenty year cycles of cultural remixing arrive to demand their due from my youth. 2003 is reappearing in 2023.
Logan Paul cannot marry a slut just as Britney Spears should never have given it up to Justin Timberlake. Elite social mores are not for the Bourgeoisie to emulate.
Perhaps we should call this tendency for aesthetic return the “‘70s Show’ Show” effect as the nostalgia for our youth by the middle aged is always more consumer friendly than the culture was at its birth.
I get to enjoy feeling like I was cool when I was 22 and Zoomers pick over our wardrobes at theme parties. It’s a fair trade.
I encourage you to revisit an artifact from the 2003 called Party Monster to explore this aesthetics original form. It stars Chloe Sevigny, Seth Green (remember him) and McCauley Caulkin. The music video for the big hit from the soundtrack is titled “Money, Success, Fame, Glamour”. I quoted it at the top.
With lyrics that rooted so deeply in modernist materialism I’m tempted to yell “Eat your heart out Walter Benjamin!” The Marxist continental philosopher was a sexy club kid. Consider the engraving on tombstone in Portugal where he died fleeing the Nazis.
There is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism
Theses on the Philosophy of History
Benjamin was a great historian of German romanticism and it’s impact on fascist political aestheticism. So consider that history and ponder it’s relationship to the 2003 era counter cultural artifact.
The “Money, Success, Fame, Glamour” lyrics are materialism distilled and reflective of the nihilism of the Bush era. Forever wars and inflationary spending on empire was harder to smooth over with propaganda as the internet fought back. But in the aughts we still hadn’t quite realized we’d never be rid of our elites after the shocks of reactionary terrorism.
Maybe in our twenties we thought eventually we might take over and do things differently. I’m turning forty this year, and well, Joe Biden is president.
So here we are revisiting the past that won’t leave. RuPaul has a remix challenge of Party Monster soundtrack’s hits released this year and it’s worth seeing how ugly the refinements are compared to the original.
The most you can hope for now is that some millennial will turn your influencer work into a Netflix comedy in which you show off your cultural savvy by going to a queer club party themed 2003 in Bushwick. No the Kim Cattrall vehicle Glamorous is not very good.