There’s nothing sadder than an aging hipster, said comedian/polemicist Lenny Bruce. Little did he know his comment was spawning a cottage industry.
There’s a band called Ageing Hipsters. A travel agency. A fashion line. A Meetup.com group. A handbook. And over 300,000 Google entries, all devoted to the topic of people who used to be on the cutting edge, but now are starting to wear out their welcome.
Who’s an aging hipster and why the fascination? Any age group can have its aging hipsters. It’s basically a description of anyone struggling to maintain their relevance to the group she or he once dominated, typically in a pathetic manner. It’s marked by a fall from the heights to a position of perceived desperation. And while it’s possible to return to glory, we’re reminded of the F. Scott Fitzgerald note that there are no second acts in American lives. Which applies even if you’re not American.
So now that we have our parameters, here’s our candidates to join Mr. Bruce’s exclusive club.
Baby Boomers (1943-1963)
Madonna — Appeared at the Super Bowl sporting a cane, a grill and bad lighting. None of the props helped perceptions.
Bill Gates — Will now return part-time to Microsoft in the hopes that the one great idea he had — licensing an operating system he didn’t create — can be replicated.
Jeb Bush — It’s looking more and more that he’ll be the GOP sacrificial lamb in 2016. Hoping to capitalize on name recognition — a name that sends shudders through most Americans.
Bruce Jenner — There’s something he’s trying to tell us with his plastic surgery. See the most recent Kardashian Christmas card, which featured him trapped in a box and with his hair down, struggling to come out.
Michael Moore — Lives a life of contradictions, comfortably ranting from his uber-wealthy community against people who do what he does.
Generation X (1964-1976)
Courteney Cox — We’re about to learn the long-term effects of Botox on the human face.
Jim Rome — His trash-talking was very hip ten years ago. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s also very bad for the original product’s shelf life.
Brooke Shields — Once inspired a generation with her jeans ads. Now reduced to doing La-Z-Boy commercials.
Sammy Sosa — Bleaching himself and feigning no English at Congressional hearings have pretty much been his Tell-Tale Heart.
GENERATION Y (1979-1994)
Britney Spears — The female Michael Jackson was recently accused of spraying on some abdominal muscles for her Las Vegas show.
Mark Zuckerberg — Facebook’s perception is sliding, and even the Newark school system is starting to wonder whether this was the classic “right place/right time” guy.
Fantasia Barrino — Took major television exposure and a clean-cut title and basically worked hard to reduce all the positives.
Prince Harry — Devolving into the British version of Billy Carter.
Lindsay Lohan — Recently barred from several New York City nightclubs.