Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Drugs, Man

I didn't think people still did heroin (mistakenly thought that all stopped in the 90's, which was just a reincarnation of the 70's) but apparently they do if they're in New York and fancy themselves artistes but actually just do a lot of drugs and film themselves having sex and spray newspapers with semen and glitter. Trust. This is what Dash Snow did (if you don't know the name, he was big in certain circles here for the last five years who was buddies with Ryan McGinley and Gavin McInnes of Vice) and he ended up offing himself a few weeks ago in my neighborhood with 13 glassine envelopes of heroin.

He was 27.

Before we start thinking this is in any way romantic, he committed this knowingly (called his girlfriend to tell her he loved her) and did so despite his two year old daughter. As cinematic as this all is, it's actually very sad, sure, but more so, very gross. We know better. Come on. It's not Woodstock and it's not Punk and it's not even Grunge, all the forward "I'm young and it's a revolution, damnit!" movements in music and art and writing and politics have kind of been made, or at least, because of those who have come before us, have been made way easier and therefore has made this time of shock-value rabble-rousing pretty damn extinct (in my assertion, all we have left is technology wars, which is actually very cool). So what's up with this ridiculous shit! Even hipsters are over, are people really still selfishly dying from heroin for God's sake? This is just another landmark for people who get older but refuse the next and better stages of their lives to still skulk around in Ramones T-Shirts and bemoan when New York MEANT SOMETHING and was all thriving and filthy and dirty and therefore better. But you know what? That's bunk, because people only say that about New York, or any place for that matter, because it was the world they lived in when they were 20-27 years old. When they were full of promise and hadn't done everything already and they had a zest for life and everything seemed new and exciting: love, money, substances.

New York wasn't cooler in the 70's. There were shooting galleries and garbage fires and general malaise and gang violence and all that. Just because CBGB's was home to a burgeoning scene doesn't mean that scene was worth all the rest of the crap that came along with it or even that the scene was that good. But, you know, people who say that it was were young then. And the thing about being young is....everything is good! It's like that phenomenon when a guy gets laid in, say Ottowa, and then later relates to his friends, "Dudes, Ottowa is awesome!" No, it's not. Anecdotal good times aren't evidence, and are colored by factors that have nothing at all to do with Ottowa. And that's what people are saying right now about New York in 2005.

I know, this is what's being said. I can't believe it either. Now that Dash Snow is dead, he's become an icon for the hipster movement and everywhere you go people are going on about how NY was SO MUCH COOLER in 2005. No it wasn't! You're just four years older and you're pissed, because you're immature. People who choose life beyond one-night stands and pukefests that seemed so awesome a few years back are not losers who've lost their edge. It's like this, you thought you kicked ass when you were 13 didn't you? Was life so much more awesome then? No it wasn't. But somehow when this very same notion is applied to the time when you were 21, it holds water. Maybe because you can have sex and drive and do drugs and buy things finally. So you don't romanticize 13, you romanticize 21 because it represents the years when you finally had access to everything in the world and still had the naivete to think it was brand new and you ruled.

The thing is, if you don't think you can kick ass at 30 or 40 or 50, you never kicked ass to begin with. Sorry Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, Dash Snow. I had nascent crushes on all of you but I hope I never, ever be so naive as to think that's cool of you.

Also, this is the best thing that I've read on the subject of us as aging kids in New York City. It's just very good if you're not easily offended.


C-47 said...

I grew up with Mr. Snow, we attended the same elementary school, and hung out in the same circles about four years back, and among that circle of his friends he is now the third lost to OD, and I must concur, it is neither cool nor nostalgic. Its sad, and leaves a wake of grief behind it. My heart goes out to the family and friends, he was actually a real cute little kid.

jon said...

Great post - I wish more of the articles that covered his death weren't so quick to reverence and thought about it more seriously