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New York Times, Spin, and Vanity Fair contributor Marc Spitz explores the first great cultural movement since Hip Hop: an old-fashioned and yet highly modern aesthetic that’s embraced internationally by teens, twenty and thirty-somethings and even some Baby Boomers; creating hybrid generation known as Twee. Via exclusive interviews and years of research, Spitz traces Generation Twee’s roots from the Post War 50s to its dominance in popular culture today.
Vampire Weekend, Garden State, Miranda July, Belle and Sebastian, Wes Anderson, Mumblecore, McSweeney’s, Morrissey, beards, artisanal pickles, food trucks, crocheted owls on Etsy, ukuleles, kittens and Zooey Deschanel—all are examples of a cultural aesthetic of calculated precocity known as Twee.
In Twee, journalist and cultural observer Marc Spitz surveys the rising Twee movement in music, art, film, fashion, food and politics and examines the cross-pollinated generation that embodies it—from aging hipsters to nerd girls, indie snobs to idealistic industrialists. Spitz outlines the history of twee—the first strong, diverse, and wildly influential youth movement since Punk in the ’70s and Hip Hop in the ’80s—showing how awkward glamour and fierce independence has become part of the zeitgeist.
Focusing on its origins and hallmarks, he charts the rise of this trend from its forefathers like Disney, Salinger, Plath, Seuss, Sendak, Blume and Jonathan Richman to its underground roots in the post-punk United Kingdom, through the late’80s and early ’90s of K Records, Whit Stillman, Nirvana, Wes Anderson, Pitchfork, This American Life, and Belle and Sebastian, to the current (and sometimes polarizing) appeal of Girls, Arcade Fire, Rookie magazine, and hellogiggles.com.
Revealing a movement defined by passionate fandom, bespoke tastes, a rebellious lack of irony or swagger, the championing of the underdog, and the vanquishing of bullies, Spitz uncovers the secrets of modern youth culture: how Twee became pervasive, why it has so many haters and where, in a post-Portlandia world, can it go from here?
With his characteristic ingenuity, razor-sharp cultural insights, and cunning humor, Spitz (Poseur) chronicles the history of the ever-growing aesthetic called Twee. Spitz's utterly engaging history from the 1950s to the present finds Twee alive and well not only in literary figures like J.D. Salinger, but also Judy Blume, Sylvia Plath, and Dave Eggers; musicians such as The Buzzcocks, Morrissey, and Belle and Sebastian; movie directors including Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, and Walt Disney; and television shows such as Gilmore Girls and Girls. Members of the Twee tribe embrace an approach to life that includes a focus on "beauty over ugliness," "a tether to childhood and its attendant innocence and lack of greed," and a lust for knowledge. Thus, for example, Salinger becomes "the greatest and most beloved Twee Tribe godfather of them all" because Salinger creates characters in both Holden Caulfield and Seymour Glass in whom we can see our "ideal selves as physically attractive and troubled pop-savvy, all versed in magazines, jazz, and movies even as they remain haunted." In an appendix, Spitz includes lists of music, books, and movies and television shows that can help answer the question, Am I Twee?'