Ok, ok, I’m not going to talk about hipsters. I refuse. Last time I got my little feelings hurt by agro commenters. Yeah, that’s right. I’ve got feelings. Buried under all this sarcasm. Somewhere.
I just thought that “Hipster Bacon” sounded funny. It really does, doesn’t it? Like a bad folk rock band. Wearing plaid.
I love bacon. I have always loved bacon. I’m southern, we love ourselves all manner of pig parts. But this whole wave of trendy bacon love seems new and weird to me. I first noticed it maybe two years ago when my buddy got a wallet for his birthday that was made out of fabric printed to look like bacon. I chuckled and let it go, because he really does eat more bacon than is healthy for a normal human and it suited him. Funny in a conventional sense, not funny because it was bacon. But even at the time I thought, “Where the hell did the company that made this wallet find fabric printed to look like bacon?”
And ever since then it’s spiraled a bit out of control. There are t-shirts with I [heart] Bacon on them. There are bacon memes all over Facebook and Twitter. Which is all fine and good and I can blow it off but I wonder about the long-term repercussions of this particular trend. An entire nation of people will look back at the pictures from their youth and wonder “Why am I wearing a shirt that looks like bacon?” All of that aside, what’s particularly interesting to me about this whole situation is how little these images actually call to mind the real life foodstuff. It’s cartoonish, somehow, disconnected from the gluttonous pleasure center in my brain that craves the salty, chewy bacony goodness of actual bacon. More often, my happyfunnysmileyface brain button is pushed (pardon me, I think my brain may have evolutionarily adapted to look a lot like my Facebook page, all political and covered in buttons, which is funnier still because ten years ago that’s what my jacket looked like and my brain didn’t even notice).
Then there are the actual bacon food trends. Bacon toothpaste, bacontinis, bacon ice cream, bacon doughnuts, bacon chocolate bars. Putting aside the obvious conversation about the sad state of our factory food system, GMOs, Monsanto, etc, etc, in small, shallow ways we seem to have turned our attention towards eating better, getting more exercise. Fast food companies are making portions smaller and employers are giving bonuses to people who bike or walk to work. Except for bacon. We ignore the negative side of bacon (no pun intended), embrace it, even. It’s an acceptable evil. But why? Because it’s novel? It’s not novel! It’s bacon! It’s been bad for you for thousands of years! Delicious, wonderful, crispy, greasy bad for you. Nothing about bacon has changed, but there are more vectors than ever by which to ingest it.
I guess this isn’t really about bacon at all. This is probably more about trends and trendiness. I’m not good with people. I never have been. This is how I got to be where/what I am today. So when something is suddenly cool, I usually don’t understand it. Or, rather, I don’t understand the channels by which this seemingly already cool thing found its way into the mainstream consciousness, but there it is, bloody everywhere. There’s a word (phrase? term?) for that: perceptual vigilance. Like when I bought an orange car thinking, “No one else has an orange car, I’ll always be able to find my car,” and then I saw orange cars left and right. No, they did not start suddenly producing many more orange cars. My brain just had a reason to notice them, whereas before it did not. Fascinating little quirk of psychology, isn’t it? It’s the root of in-jokes, which are the roots of community. We seek out people who understand that thing we like, so we can like it together, or talk about why we like it differently. Freakin’ pack animals, humans, just monkeys in shoes. Don’t try to deny your animal nature, folks. Laugh at bacon. Then eat its face. Mmm, bacon face. (But seriously, in moderation, that shit is bad for you.)