By Peter Suderman
The New York Observermarks the end of an era: Hipsters no longer love Obama as much as their vinyl collections. Cynicism is back. Apathy is in. Obama is so played out, etc. etc. David Freedlander’s sketchbook-esque feature has it all: Urban Dictionary definitions, weird art projects, hypothetical organic kale farmers, ironic exclamation marks. And memories—sweet, nostalgic memories, of that one glorious time when America's twee ones really, truly believed:
Among Obaminators, some moments from the run-up to the election live on memory. They are like this generation’s Woodstock, with those who remember what it was like outnumbering those who actually experienced it.
At a spring benefit at the Hope Lounge in Williamsburg, the hip-hop artist Toothpick performed, slam poetry was slammed, and a stenciling station was set-up outside. Nearly 300 people paid $10 to get in the door, all of which went to the campaign. Colette Whitney and James Johnson, a biracial married couple, performed what audience members remembered as a song-and-dance vaudevillian number that went, “We’re Ready/Right Now/To Fight For/ Obama.”
“It was an exciting time,” recalled Ari Herstand, a singer-songwriter who performed there and who said that the long campaign’s numerous benefit concerts gave his music career a boost. “Everyone was totally amped up and energized. Spirits were high. There was this electrifying energy that night, and in general—everyone was excited to be a part of this movement.”
But that’s all over now. No more mass art projects. No more poetry slams. No more hope-and-hype pre-release buzz. It’s the sophomore slump that every once-hot act fears. Herstand, the singer-songwriter, tells the Observer that for Obama’s second outing, “It’s hard to get everyone to rally back around him this time. We see mild victories here and there, but it’s not the complete overhaul we were expecting.”