Thursday, 8 October 2015

Wearing a fedora is apparently now the preserve of fat, T-shirted basement-dwelling libertarians with neck-beards

I only found this out recently, from my son. If you’ve ever seen a YouTube video featuring an overweight young American man in a room bereft of natural light, wearing a fedora and sporting inadequate, unpleasant-looking facial hair while speaking articulately in a sneering, arrogant tone, you’re probably familiar with the type. Online research tells us that they’re also referred to by the unenlightened as “fedora fags” - although “fag” does not in this instance appear to refer to their sexual preferences.

The Fedora is also known as a brony burka. A "brony" is specifically an adult male fan of the BBC children’s programme My Little Pony, but it can refer to any man who enjoys programmes or films made for children (although Pixar films seem to be mercifully exempt from this ruling). Just to prove that I'm not making this up, the BBC wrote about bronies in 2013, here.

As part of its definition of the word “fedora”, the Urban Dictionary (here) tells us:
In present times, the fedora is a trademark of the socially inept beta male. He is attempting to distance himself from pop culture with the distinct style of past fashion. But he captures none of the suave, and only comes off looking like an oblivious, pompous fool. This is especially the case when it's a low-quality fedora coupled with unfashionable clothes and an unkempt appearance.
This is how the Encyclopaedia Dramatica details the evolution of the modern fedora wearer:
Get bullied all through school for being a nerd.
Decide to take cool and own it.
Purchase a fedora - an item which is considered a physical embodiment of cool.
Abandon all other aspects of cool, such as physique, personality, clothing and style.
Ride that one cool item you possess towards your hopes and dreams of coolness.
Look like a spastic.
The website adds:  "Keep in mind you can add to the look with fingerless gloves, a horrible neckbeard that looks like dead spiders, and a retro t-shirt." You can find the page here. It provides a fascinating insight into the comedians (e.g. Ricky Gervais, Charlie Brooker) and films (e.g. Fight Club, Donnie Darko, The Matrix) supposedly favoured by fedora-wearing basement-dwellers.

I wonder if I’m part of a similar, largely British phenomenon - i.e. old blokes who sit in front of computers in their garden sheds or converted attics (converted basements aren't as prevalent in Britain as they appear to be in the US) firing angry, right-wing views at the blogosphere. The comments sections of various conservative publications would appear to suggest that I - finally, in my seventh decade - might actually be part of a trend. Worrying.

But is the fedora-wearer a genuine phenomenon? I've only ever met one possible example. It was about ten years ago, when a European client (a craggy, Nordic type) invited me to his house for dinner. When his adult son from a previous marriage appeared, he was extremely overweight, sported a neckbeard, fixed computers for a living, and barked "not true" whenever anybody made a remark he disagreed with. I didn't think to check whether they had a basement.

No comments:

Post a Comment