Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Nathan Barley: In The Juice.

I'm in the middle of watching Chris Morris' new Channel 4 series >Nathan Barley... Admittedly, I hadn't heard of Chris Morris prior to reading something about a tongue-in-cheek special he did on paedophilia. The series is about Nathan Barley, a "self-facilitating media node" (a clueless and clued-in ponce and gizmo fetishist) and Dan Ashcroft, a self-loathing hipster journo who writes and rewrites the codes of "hip" by critiquing the pretentious sorts he sees around him.

Momus wrote about the series, commenting on its awareness of "the cockroach-like unkillability of fop subculture" and identifying the major conflict of the series as being "how to focus on attention-seeking narcissists without validating them beyond their wildest dreams". It strikes me that Dan Ashcroft's character bears many similarites to David Brooks, author of Bobos in Paradise, which, at the time I read it, struck me as a terribly stodgy critique of urban liberals, but now seems to have been a very astute forewarning of what has become, for better or for worse, the standard by which most young urban dwellers judge the standards of their life. Brooks saw Bobos (which isn't the zippiest term) as the convergence of the bohemian and the bourgeoisie, and whereas magazines like The Baffler critiqued that and huffed at the swift and exacting lifestyle and consumption changes that characterize this new animal's raison d'etre, Brooks ended up celebrating it. And perhaps Chris Morris' Nathan Barley series does the same thing - remains to be seen.

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