In a series of essays on what American life would have been had 9/11 not happened, Tom Wolfe writes, “A local music genre called hip-hop, created by black homeboys in the South Bronx, would have swept the country, topping the charts and creating a hip-hop look featuring baggy jeans with the crotch hanging down to the knees that would have spread far and wide among white teenagers—awed, stunned, as they were, by the hip-hop musicians’ new form of competition: assassinating each other periodically. How cool would that have been?”
Mr. Wolfe seems to be under the impression that this didn’t happen before 2001. Baggy jeans hanging down to the knees have been part and parcel of American culture since the mid-1990s among all manner of teenagers. (In fact, I remember my old roommate and me sitting on the N Judah one drunken evening in 1997. We asked one young man why his trousers went down to his knees and he responded simply, “O.G., man.”)
I hereby ask Tom Wolfe to recuse himself from any further cultural commentary in any and all publications found on the newsstand. He is worn out, spent, and about as perspicacious as a pigeon sputtering about Central Park for scraps of bread. If I Am Charlotte Simmons didn’t establish how embarassingly out-of-touch he was with current culture, his offering in New York magazine is the smoking gun.
© 2006, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.