Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The New Yorker: Volume LXXXV, NO. 35, November 2, 2009

Spotlight on “Wild, Wild Wes” by Richard Brody
 wes anderson 2
Liking Wes Anderson is fashionable. It’s trendy. All the cool kids are doing it. Before reading Richard Brody’s profile, I only vaguely acknowledged the connotations and assumptions tied to Wes Anderson fandom. It wasn’t until after reading the nine-page article that I began to feel self-conscious about my own admiration for the director. Brody writes:

Anderson’s idiosyncrasies, personal and artistic, resonated from the start with a certain segment of the population: hipsters—young bourgeois bohemians—who came of age with the Internet and took from it both a trendsetting attunement to pop culture and a chance to make quick money while remaining artists at heart. A generation born of a paradox, its members recognized themselves in the romantic ironies of Anderson’s movies, as well as in his embrace of the expressive power of luxury objects.

An Internet search shows me that Brody is a bearded older gentleman, both bespectacled and bald, so I think it’s safe to say that he isn’t a “young bourgeois bohemian;” this means that when he discusses the hipster ethos, this “trendsetting attunement to pop culture,” it isn’t self-reflexive; it’s objective—he genuinely believes that these are the defining characteristics of a Wes Anderson fan. Though I don’t consider myself a hipster—I’d say complete and utter nerd, if anything—there’s something very scary about Brody’s assertion. It’s discomfiting having some old man writing in a hoighty toighty magazine presume to know who you are; and even more discomfiting when you realize that he’s gotten it right. It’s almost enough to put you off of Wes Anderson movies. Almost.

Best Moment:
(discussing Anderson’s upcoming stop-motion animated film The Fantastic Mr. Fox) “Moreover, the figurines had tailored clothing, made with fabric. (Anderson designed the clothes himself, having his tailor send fabric samples. He has a suit made from the same corduroy as Mr. Fox’s)”

Movies name-checked by Anderson:
The Whole Town’s Talking, Les Enfants Terribles, Day of the Dolphin, Local Hero, The Tresure of the Sierra Madre, Murmur of the Heart, Day for Night, Phantom India, The river, Husbands, Dune, and Star Wars.

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