This was my response:
It’s a really good article – I remember reading it a few months ago. Though I think Atherton has a tendency to romanticise past counter-culture movements while unrealistically criticizing of “hipsters.” He notes that all the other movements began with a challenge to the status-quo, which they did, but the indie scene, at its beginning also had ideals – it was not merely a mirror of the “shallowness of mainstream society.”
It stressed the importance of individuality, clothing yourself not with brand name clothes but value-village clothes that reflected who you were as a person. This carried tones of anti-consumerism, which is also present in the culture’s defining embrace of indie music and films – the idea that the best comes straight from people, not what’s been perverted by a corporate filter and packaged with the sole motivation of selling copies. There also has always been an interest and respect of art, and all its forms associated with the indie movement.
I couldn’t agree more with George Atherton, so much of the indie scene is pretentious, disingenuous, and outright self-absorbed. This, however, is not exclusive to the indie movement as he has suggested. Every counter-culture movement has been populated by many who sorrily missed the point - flaunted the style but forgot the philosophy.
The ‘hippies’ in the 1960’s began as a very intelligent movement of social change. They railed against war, the military-industrial complex, and screamed civil-rights, love and peace. Yet, there were many who mindlessly piggy-backed on this movement, merely growing long hair and smoking weed.
Also, of course people realized they could make profit by selling the indie image, like American Apparel. This is just a natural function of our society. This reality, however, has had a more devastating effect on the indie movement than past counter-cultural movements. Because it built itself on individuality and anti-consumerism, this reality makes much of the indie movement hypocritical to its core.
It’s no better, or no worse than other movements. Of course there are posers who miss the point, but, after all, it’s just a trend. By no means, is it “the dead end of Western Civilization.”