Top 5 Reasons Bon Iver Is the Clown Prince of Hipster Doofuses
Photo by Mark C. Austin
Who is Bon Iver? The name originally referred to a band, I guess in the same way Nine Inch Nails referred to a "band," but since hitting it big, it's mostly just a nickname for frontman and songwriter Justin Vernon, who, depending on who you ask, may either be Jesus or the antichrist.
Consulting my handy pocket-Book of Revelation (also featuring a novelization of The Prophecy starring Christopher Walken), it did say that the second coming of Christ would be preceded by a false messiah, the anti-Christ himself pulling one over on the world. Personally, I haven't seen a false folk Jesus get disproved yet, so Vernon just might be the bearded soft-rock/indie-folk Satan.
He epitomizes all the worst aspects of hipsterdom, and makes anyone whose goal in life isn't to live in an isolated cabin in the woods wearing plaid shirts and playing a banjo retch. Why do I think this about him? One only need browse the headlines about him since he became famous by winning the Best New Artist Grammy this year.
5. He's a hypocrite
Mas Musica! featuring La Gusana Ciega, Porter, Siddhartha
TicketsSun., Oct. 2, 6:00pm
Nothing But Thieves presented by Ones To Watch
TicketsSun., Oct. 2, 7:00pm
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
TicketsMon., Oct. 3, 7:00pm
THALIA - Latina Love Tour
TicketsMon., Oct. 3, 8:00pm
TicketsTue., Oct. 4, 7:00pm
The indie lifestyle is all about that cabin in the woods. It's DIY. It's reconnecting with the Earth and being a modern hippie and riding a fixed-gear around the city streets just to spurn man's over-reliance on cars. It's eating food from a co-op and playing guitar for pennies on the street corner, not for people's acceptance and love, not for money, not for fame, and especially not for Grammy Awards.
Oh wait, until you get nominated for one. Yeah, never mind, the Grammy Awards are only bad when they're honoring people you don't like. When they're honoring you yourself, they're totally mega-awesome. At least, that's the way Bon Iver felt about it, changing his tune in a matter of days from saying "we should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending this is important," to a tweet saying "whats the difference between song and record?! ahhH! super weird butterflies! thank's y'all." Then he licensed out his image and songs for Grammy promos, which he later denounced because he's not in the business of selling his music, although you can totally buy his albums at Target.
But then, when asked to do a collaboration with another artist (a time-honored tradition at the Grammy Awards), Bon Iver said "fuck you" to the Grammys. Oh so punk.
The Avalanches got to him before I did on it, but let's look back a bit at this anyway. Apparently, Bon Iver keeps a personalized list of do's and do not's when it comes to compromising his musical integrity and selling his work. I'll lay it out for you.
Do's: Whiskey, Target, Wal-Mart, Grammy Awards, log cabins in the woods, beards, Brawny paper towels
Do Not's: Grammy Awards (he can't decide!), non-corporate retailers (selling music is bad!), making exciting music
That being said, this did make me want to drink Bushmill's a little bit. You got me, Brawny Bear.
3. He made a workout tape.
You know who else made workout tapes? Jane Fonda. Richard Simmons. You know who watched those workout tapes? Your mom. You know when Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons made those videos? In the 1970s and the 1980s. And therefore, by some bizarre logic that anything, even the worst trend, from those two decades is now cool again, of course the clown prince of hipster doofuses would want to make one of his own.
Even considering that twisted logic and the hip obsession with irony, was anyone out there really begging to watch Bon Iver lift weights or run up and down stairs? Well, if you were, guess what? Eventually you'll be able to buy the DVD and pay him to watch it. Add "using his music to sell useless products" to the Do's list.
2. The state of Wisconsin has two days dedicated to him.
Here in America, we have a longstanding tradition of honoring beloved and notable public figures with days dedicated to them. Each year, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. We celebrate George Washington's birthday and Abraham Lincoln's birthday. We've got a day for Christopher Columbus.
At least in his home state of Wisconsin, two days each year are dedicated to Bon Iver. July 22 and December 13. I mean, we have less days honoring Pearl Harbor than we have honoring this guy. What's next? A new dollar with Bon Iver's face on it?
OK, come on. This has to be one of the most ridiculous things ever. I mean, I really love Mr. Show with Bob and David, but I'm not going to get David Cross's face tattooed across my chest.
Nevertheless, hipsters love tattoos, especially ones based on ephemeral pop-culture icons. The more obscure and irrelevant, the better. It goes back to the days when people in the emo community would wear T-shirts with such outdated slogans and images and since the hipster community evolved out of the emo community, why not just upgrade that to tattoos?
I don't doubt that Northern Exposure was, in some weird way, an important show to Vernon. It's how he got the name "Bon Iver." You can see a portion of the episode he based the tattoo on above. But really, this just ranks up there with the worst of celebrity tattoo ideas, like Coolio's "Juggalo" tattoo, Drake's massive image of Aaliyah, and Zac Efron's "YOLO" on his hand.
By the way, does anybody else wish he had just picked this one for the winner? It looks like she's about to bust a move Napoleon Dynamite-style. At least that would add some humor to the tattoo.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.