"It used to be possible to be special. As long as you were different from the people around you, you were safe. But the Internet and globalization fucked this up for everyone." So starts Youth Mode: A Report on Freedom, created by trend forecasting group K-Hole (best name ever!) and Box 1824, consumer researchers in São Paulo.
In the report — part New Age manifesto, part hipster treatise, part OMA press release — they try to bring some sense to the quickly changing nature of consumer culture. Terms like Mass Indie and Normcore are coined, Kurt Cobain is invoked, and Candy Crush gets a shout-out. If forecasting-speak is your thing, here are some other pearls of wisdom...
- "Belonging to your generation becomes an inescapable truth — you’re a Scorpio whether you believe in astrology or not."
- "When Boomerang kids return to their parents’ empty nests and retirement fades into the horizon, [we’re] left using technological aptitude to divide the olds from the youngs — even though moms get addicted to Candy Crush, too."
- "Being in YOUTH MODE isn’t about perpetually reliving yourself at a younger age, it’s about being youthfully present at any given age."
- "If someone yelled ‘Fire!’ in a crowded movie theater the day Kurt Cobain died and everyone tried to find a different exit, Mass Indie is what happens 45 minutes later. Tired of fighting to squeeze out the doors, everyone decides to stay in the theater. Panic subsides into ambivalence."
- "In the style of an audio equalizer, Mass Indie culture mixes weirdness with normalness until it levels out. This is the dogma of an old jean jacket over an evening dress."
- "There’s a limited amount of difference in the world, and the mainstreaming of its pursuit has only made difference all the scarcer."
- "It’s hard to keep track of the big picture when the significant details are getting smaller and smaller. It’s like that time you took so many drugs at Burning Man that you just ended up uncomfortably lucid."
- "Only idiot savants are in the right place at the right time without even knowing it."
- "The most different thing to do is to reject being different all together. When the fringes get more and more crowded, Mass Indie turns toward the middle. Having mastered difference, the truly cool attempt to master sameness."
- "There’s a theory that a man’s style is just a reiteration of what he wore the last time he was “really getting laid” — thus the cargo shorts."
- "Once upon a time people were born into communities and had to find their individuality. Today people are born individuals and have to find their communities."
- "Normcore moves away from a coolness that relies on difference to a post-authenticity coolness that opts in to sameness. [But] to be truly Normcore, you need to understand that there’s no such thing as normal."