Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome to the Hampden Adventureland theme park, hon.

The Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, which I remember from the eighties as a domain of the European-American working class, has since been gentrified into a land of prepackaged funkiness for hipsters, particularly during the Honfest street fair. Like the suburban subdivisions named after the trees that were cleared to build them, the new Hampden mockingly "honors" its previous residents.

This parody of local working-class culture appeals to those hipsters who crave not authenticity, but "authenticity." Once they encounter anything authentically authentic, they remake it in their own image to make it as inauthentic as possible. It also shows that the white working class is still a safe target for derision.

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