Friday, August 22, 2003

They Have the Internet on Computers Now

In the July 2, 2003 edition of the National Post, columnist Anne Kingston wrote about metrosexuals. Her column irritated me because Mark Simpson, the British journalist who coined the term back in 1994, wrote the definitive article about the phenomenon last year (July 22, 2002) for Salon.com. To Kingston’s credit, she did make mention of Simpson’s etymological role, but I remain irked because she never explained why she was discussing something so recherch√©.

Kingston isn’t the only one guilty in the moldy zeitgeist sweepstakes, however. Sandra Gotleib weighed in on the topic a week or so before Kingston in the same paper. And now it appears that I am part of the problem, since I was a guest on the Mark Elliot show on CFRB last night, where I discussed this "trend" alongside Christopher Hutsul of the Toronto Star.

However, I take much smug satisfaction from the fact that I wrote about this fad last August for fab. FYI: the tone of my article is snarky and nasty – the intent was to mock gay men as they mock us (straight men). It caused all manner of ruckus in the homo community, prompting untold letters (including an offer of sodomy) but nary a whiff of interest from the straight press. Part of the problem was that the article wasn’t so much a trend piece as a defiant bit of posturing, unlike the recent spate of "gosh, guys buy expensive shoes and shampoo too" piffle.

Simpson’s Salon.com article was plenty relevant when it was published, so I wonder why it is that only now we are reading article after article about them. My guess is that Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has provided a timely hook to peg the metrosexual story upon.

I find it interesting trying to figure out why certain ideas and trends take no time at all to burst and fade (witness the trucker hat meltdown, which I will blog about soon) while others take forever to "cross over" – in much the same way as a hit single will move from the R&B charts to Pop. (Insert meme theory or tipping point observation here.) Despite the interconnectivity of our media age, the metrosexual is only now getting his due. (See also: Vinay Menon, Toronto Star, August 14, 2003 or Maureen Dowd, New York Times, July 12, 2003 or Daphne Gordon, Toronto Star, June 28, 2003).

My best theory on the metrosexual jet lag, and one with which I have much personal experience, is that there a tendency among journalists to be lazy like a dog in a hammock. So once one columnist writes about something, so does another, and then another, until you’ve got dozens of cultural commentators chasing each other’s farts.