New York Times, Spin, and Vanity Fair contributor Marc Spitz explores the first great cultural movement since Hip Hop: an old-fashioned and yet highly modern aesthetic that’s embraced internationally by teens, twenty and thirty-somethings and even some Baby Boomers; creating hybrid generation known as Twee. Via exclusive interviews and years of research, Spitz traces Generation Twee’s roots from the Post War 50s to its dominance in popular culture today.
Vampire Weekend, Garden State, Miranda July, Belle and Sebastian, Wes Anderson, Mumblecore, McSweeney’s, Morrissey, beards, artisanal pickles, food trucks, crocheted owls on Etsy, ukuleles, kittens and Zooey Deschanel—all are examples of a cultural aesthetic of calculated precocity known as Twee.
In Twee, journalist and cultural observer Marc Spitz surveys the rising Twee movement in music, art, film, fashion, food and politics and examines the cross-pollinated generation that embodies it—from aging hipsters to nerd girls, indie snobs to idealistic industrialists. Spitz outlines the history of twee—the first strong, diverse, and wildly influential youth movement since Punk in the ’70s and Hip Hop in the ’80s—showing how awkward glamour and fierce independence has become part of the zeitgeist.
Focusing on its origins and hallmarks, he charts the rise of this trend from its forefathers like Disney, Salinger, Plath, Seuss, Sendak, Blume and Jonathan Richman to its underground roots in the post-punk United Kingdom, through the late’80s and early ’90s of K Records, Whit Stillman, Nirvana, Wes Anderson, Pitchfork, This American Life, and Belle and Sebastian, to the current (and sometimes polarizing) appeal of Girls, Arcade Fire, Rookie magazine, and hellogiggles.com.
Revealing a movement defined by passionate fandom, bespoke tastes, a rebellious lack of irony or swagger, the championing of the underdog, and the vanquishing of bullies, Spitz uncovers the secrets of modern youth culture: how Twee became pervasive, why it has so many haters and where, in a post-Portlandia world, can it go from here?
What is the most polarizing and important youth movement since Hip-Hop?
Artisanal chocolate. Mustaches. Locally sourced vegetables. Etsy. Birds.
Flea markets. Cult films. Horn-rimmed glasses.
What do all of these icons have in common? They are signifiers that author Marc Spitz groups as falling under the umbrella of Twee, a powerful, expansive youth movement that has colored popular culture in surprising ways.
In the same way that Douglas Coupland branded Generation X with his groundbreaking novel, Spitz gives name to a sensibility that prizes kindness over irony, encourages obsessive fandom and collection culture, supports a hunger for purity of craft, and, most important, strives for the preservation of the innocence of childhood. As a result, Twee is divisive, and Spitz shows that there is a tribe of people who fiercely self-identify while others simply cringe.
Twee features exclusive interviews plus in-depth research on Twee touchstones past and present, including Walt Disney, James Dean, J. D. Salinger, Sylvia Plath, Dr. Seuss, Truman Capote, Maurice Sendak, Edward Gorey, Jean Seberg, the Kinks, Judy Blume, Nick Drake, Jonathan Richman, Beat Happening, the Smiths, They Might Be Giants, Nirvana, Belle and Sebastian, Wes Anderson, Pitchfork, This American Life, McSweeney's, mumblecore, Vampire Weekend, Sufjan Stevens, Miranda July, Tavi Gevinson, Lena Dunham, Portlandia, and Zooey Deschanel.
Expansive, engaging, and festooned with more than enough kittens, this is the first definitive history of Twee.