Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Of Hipsters and Hypernovas

The New York Times has the scoop on an Iranian rock band, Hypernova, just tryin' to make it big with all of the cross-cultural issues that raises. They've got the look -- think of the Strokes but, you know, Iranian. They've got the studied coolness. The question that remains is whether they have the songs. Welcome to the jungle, fellas.

Actually, it's easy to be cynical or snide about this sort of thing, especially when it is pretty clear that the guys in Hypernova have had more access to the United States than most Iranians and when they have adopted the too cool for school pose of every other unsigned rock band that is able to score a gig on the Lower East Side. But the reality is that we certainly want to see a lot more Iranian guys picking up guitars or sitting at word processors (what, you think writers sit down by candlelight with a quill and ink?) or jonesing for Starbucks while dreaming about becoming rock stars or writers than the alternatives. Say what you want about cultural imperialism. Give every potential suicide bomber in Tehran's suburbs a week in New York and every kid in new York a week in Tehran's suburbs and we're converting a lot more of theirs than they ever could of ours. And I say this as someone who has traveled this globe of ours a lot and is deeply committed to cultural immersion, to not seeming like another American abroad.

Hat Tip to Keelin McDonell at The Plank.

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