Friday, October 9, 2009

Why Hot Topic is Awesome

I'm easily offended. So when I see some Gen-Y-tard writing about punk rock when the department store cosmetics clerk and the indie record store manager's humping that was to conceive him was probably still coming five years after the Sex Pistols went down the crapper, I can't imagine he has any idea what he's talking about.

Shawn says, "Punk was born on the street but is now bred in major label board rooms with clothing manufacturer tie-ins." But every history of punk acknowledges that Malcolm McLaren only "created" the Sex Pistols to sell bondage and fetish clothing from his shop.

So English punk was always about selling something. New York punk was different. Maybe he's got his geography mixed up.

So now that we've established that no one should glorify punk rock as some mystical surge of DIY grassroots music that somehow has become corrupted by corporate greed, let me just say that punk and rap (hip hop) are the last great musical genres since they existed before the dawn of MTV and Ticketmaster. (But I use "great" loosely with rap music because I am not a fan.)

And Hot Topic is such an easy target. It's goth in a box. It's soccer mom nipple rings. It's safe rebellion. It doesn't take a hatful of clever to make fun.

So why do I love Hot Topic? Because they have the coolest crap. Futurama and super hero toys, tee-shirts, and Hot Topic is the only store I've ever seen to carry Battle Royale on DVD. Battle Freaking Royale! Which I had to buy on VCD from Korea when I first heard about it.

And since they are everywhere, I can find cool crap on clearance in practically every mall in America.

Like last week, I stocked up on Twilight buttons @ 50 cents each in preparation for our library's New Moon nerdfest next month. And I've bought Watchmen and South Park and Flogging Molly tee-shirts and Converse sneakers at huge markdowns.

And there's nothing like having the massively pierced goth and emo kids behind the counter get all riled up when ancient me walks into their store. Why is every kid in Hot Topic covered in tattoos and punctured with piercings? Hey, kid, You will never get a good job if they can see your tats poking out of a business suit!

So don't knock Hot Topic. They didn't kill punk. If anything, they've helped to keep it on life support for old dudes like me.

DISCLAIMER: Due to recent Federal Trade Commission decisions, the.effing.librarian discloses that HOT TOPIC did NOT supply one complimentary stainless steel barbell post for my uvula piercing in exchange for this review. So I shoplifted one when the pale, emaciated vampire chick passed out from malnutrition onto a stack of neatly folded Paramore tee-shirts.