By David Wonpu
I am part of the counterculture — or at least I thought I was.
I was a Las Vegas-raised Asian kid whose best friends were comprised of just about every single ethnicity and sexual orientation imaginable.
Together, we engaged in a good three years of snobbish slackerness.
We thought we were above the mainstream’s meat hooks, myself especially. There was no way I was a demographic. This was easier during the Clinton years.
With the dot-com boom, nerds were becoming society’s winners. Some of the most popular shows on television were now centered on outsiders and outcasts.
Of course, there was still an ignorant and homogenous mainstream, but it seemed, after 12 consecutive years of Republican presidents, that “we” were beginning to break through.
It didn’t last. Nothing ever does. Buffy died and Blink sold out. Gore won, then lost.
Reality came hard and fast, and I was completely unprepared.
The country voted for a monkey and the privileged were again capturing the people’s imaginations through starry-eyed vehicles like “The OC.”
People stopped wanting to watch the weekly exploits of the kinds of characters I identified with: sarcastic, bitter and cynical.
With “The OC” came another development, this one more nefarious than the nonvictory of Darth Bush: Seth Cohen.
Through Seth, it finally happened. They caught on to us.
The suits managed to strip away all the defining characteristics of the last generation’s outsiders into the oh-so-cute container of lisping Adam Brody.
The quarterback of the football team now wore eyeliner under his helmet and his girlfriend now did the studded belt, short hair and glasses deal just as well, if not better, than most of my friends.
In the beginning, we all wanted to hold on. As they found out about our previously coveted indie bands, we’d discover more and more obscure acts.
We tried to beat back what we thought was their “theft” of our identity. We had creativity, but they had money. In America, we know who wins that battle.
Finally, I gave up.
Not because I wanted to, but because the unthinkable had transpired: I got old.
I stopped caring about music, about the way I looked, and, most importantly, about being “different.”
I decided I wasn’t going to subject my suddenly noticeable man boobs to any more medium-sized band shirts.
Really, I just matured and got over myself.
No better time to have this occur to me than a few weeks ago, as I soon found myself in that sprawling metropolis of Dixon, California, to watch Ashlee Simpson at the fair.
Sugar, we are so goin’ down.
Contact David Wonpu at (408) 551-1918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.