Maybe you know one — one of those annoying, neo-folk “folks” who insist on telling you how amazing it is to grow your own food and can your own preserves and make your own clothes and live off the land and blah blah blah. Well now there’s a magazine for that particular brand of self-righteous, self-absorbed, neo-Americana living. It’s called Folk. Of course.
Folk explains itself as “AMERICAN LIVING BY GENERATION Y.” And as is the case with so many things Generation Y does, they insist they’ve “found it first” — as if gardening and sewing are somehow completely new and different and special (JUST LIKE THEM). It’s not new, but these days, the idealized version of this lifestyle — rife with small batch whiskeys and artisanal cheeses — as defined by Folk magazine is one that few can afford. It’s also one that few of us have the time or space to live up to — especially when you work full-time and live in the city. Ah, sweet lifestyle porn.
But oh, its mission statement declares:
We are all about REAL AMERICAN LIVING: the country, sweet tea, indie music, antiques, road trips, small towns, comfort, home, artists, locally grown and locally made, supporting small businesses and main streets, one-of-a-kind art, open spaces, photography, patriotism, simple living … and the little things.
None of these things are wrong, or bad, per se — but I find the lifestyle-ization of them to be rather trite and disrespectful of the fact that people have been doing this for hundreds of years. Well, not the “listening to indie music” part, but you catch my drift.
Perhaps the most troubling part is the banner ad on the site’s homepage that heralds “the good-ol-days return” with its publication. It reminds me of the words of my friend Hennessey Youngman (he’s a genius, seriously check him out):
“You’ll be like: ‘I wish we could go back to the good old days.’ … “Which ‘good old days’ do you mean? The good old days when people own slaves. Maybe it was the good old days where n—s was free, but couldn’t vote. Or maybe it was the good old days where children worked in factories. Or maybe you mean the good old days where the only people who were literate were priests. Or maybe you mean the good old days when people lived under the constant fear of nuclear annihilation. When people thought smoking cigarettes wouldn’t harm babies in the womb. You really gotta know which ‘good old days’ you’re talking about.”
So no, Folk, I’ll think I’ll skip a subscription and buy a pizza instead.