In today’s New York Times, David Brooks delineates the changing face of “intellectual one-upmanship.”
The process, eruditely described:
When you first come across some obscure cultural artifact—an unknown indie band, organic skate sneakers or wireless headphones from Finland —you will want to erupt with ecstatic enthusiasm. This will highlight the importance of your cultural discovery, the fineness of your discerning taste, and your early adopter insiderness for having found it before anyone else.
Then, a few weeks later, after the object is slightly better known, you will dismiss all the hype with a gesture of putrid disgust. This will demonstrate your lofty superiority to the sluggish masses. It will show how far ahead of the crowd you are and how distantly you have already ventured into the future.
If you can do this, becoming not only an early adopter, but an early discarder, you will realize greater status rewards than you ever imagined. Remember, cultural epochs come and go, but one-upsmanship is forever.
Hipsters, watch out. In the forecast: a deluge of Times readers—“adopters” turned “discarders”—headed your way.Jane Kim is a writer in New York.