George W. Bush is a Hipster Icon now and Vanity Fair is Angry about itPosted: December 18, 2013
Emily writes: Apparently, the kids these days just think George W. Bush is the bee’s knees. He paints, he loves cats, he’s awesome at the Internet, he writes consoling letters to football kickers who lose important match-ups for their teams and he takes selfies with Bono at major world leaders’ memorial services. And the hipsters are falling as hard for GWB as they did for PBR and Beats by Dre.
Vanity Fair, the sophisticated glossy tome of old Hollywood whose most recent achievement was a near-defamatory observation of Gwyneth Paltrow’s lack of reality in selecting cooking utensils, is old enough to remember when you young whipper-snappers were all “Bush sucks!” and showing up at high school anti-Bush rallies with all manner of creative slogan apparel and diagnosing his apparently impaired cognitive ability in Huffington Post puff pieces. But now that he’s stumbled into something of an image revival, they would like you to please get your George W. Bush limited edition self-portrait lithograph off their front lawn.
If you are a liberal older than, say, 24—old enough to either hate Thought Catalog or not know what Thought Catalog is, is a better barometer—you know this. That George W. Bush is uncool, lame, establishment, square, and odious, etc., is a political fact as self-evident and unnecessary to argue as “Mitt Romney takes double-A batteries” or “Bill Clinton has an oiliness about him.”
But if you are younger than 24, you might not have attended anti-Bush rallies in high school and in college. You might not have pinned “SHRUB” buttons to your tote bag, and might not even remember Bush as a war-lovin’, vowel-droppin’, faux-folksy, ostentatiously religious Connecticut cowboy. This is because Bush has, quietly and wholly, ingeniously refashioned himself into an Internet-friendly, cat-loving, ironic-hat-wearing painter-cum-Instagram savant. Lately, George W. Bush is a hipster icon, and the Internet, unofficial Fourth Estate of the youth of America, is totally buying it.
I would say that this marks a revival of the Bush-as-both-evil-genius-and-developmentally-disabled-child meme of the early 2000s, when he unexpectedly bested a befuddled Al Gore, who went on to make flawlessly accurate scientific predictions about the decline of the polar ice caps, but that gives this piece a bit too much credit, as it requires the author to notice that she’s given George W. Bush both the capability to wholly revitalize an image that decades of work tarnished in less than six weeks, and, at the same time, called the same man utterly incapable of self-reflection. Thankfully, the author closed out her piece with an always-appropriate comparison of George W. Bush to Nazi sympathizers and accused murders, so at least she didn’t sacrifice every shred of intellectual capital she was tenuously grasping.
The response to the Vanity Fair piece is as muted as you would expect. At least one commenter suggested that perhaps George W. Bush himself was orchestrating a conspiracy in the site’s comment section, resulting in less “likes” that truly existed. And then there’s this which is an unabashed precursor to a small stroke. Damn you, hipsters, for liking George W. Bush, who is a generally likable guy when not actually Presidenting anything. How dare you. This Elizabeth de la Vega book says he’s a war criminal, after all, and in case you haven’t noticed, he’s been secretly masterminding the decline of the Affordable Care Act from a Transylvanian castle using only his powers of thought magnified through Dick Cheney’s heart valve collection.
- George W. Bush Becoming a Popular ‘Hipster Icon’ Among Young People , Liberal Vanity Fair Baffled and Worried at the Same Time… (katenews2day.com)
- Vanity Fair Concerned by George W. Bush’s ‘Hipster Icon’ Resurgence (conservativebyte.com)
- From Uncool to Hipster Icon (politicalwire.com)
- Vanity Fair Concerned by George W. Bush’s ‘Hipster Icon’ Resurgence (breitbart.com)
- George W. Bush: Hipster Icon? (rushlimbaugh.com)
- Can’t Spell Cool Without “W”: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- Real Change: How George Bush Went From Unpopular to Bona Fide Hipster Icon (youngcons.com)
- Guess Who’s A Hipster Icon Now? (theawl.com)
- “How George W. Bush Evolved From the Uncoolest Person on the Planet to Bona Fide Hipster Icon.” (althouse.blogspot.com)