Silent Generation

Silent Generation is a Chicago based cultural analysis podcast that covers topics in art, fashion, politics, and urbanism. Find us on Instagram: silent.generation

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Episodes

5 days ago

Full episode available on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/SilentGeneration 
 
Many parents today tell their children to simply “be a good person” and do not offer them moral guidelines beyond that. “Being a good person” isn’t a robust enough moral framework to deal with the complexities of everyday life, so many people resort to creating their own moral codes (either completely independently, or through the help of internet gurus like Jordan Peterson). On this week’s episode of Silent Generation, Nathan and Joseph reflect on their own moral codes and talk about the origins and justifications of the rules they’ve made for themselves. Amongst other things they discuss how gay culture doesn’t offer gay men a moral framework, how you should aim to be contrarian only 50% of the time, how the public has become tired of plotlines that deal with moral gray areas, and how modern Hollywood has only offered the public antiheroes in place of actual heroes.
 
Links:
Jordan Peterson - Are You a Good Person?
The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness
 
Artwork:
The School of Athens by Raphael
 
Recorded on 5/19/2024

Ep. 24: Bike Skepticism

Monday May 13, 2024

Monday May 13, 2024

As previously noted, Nathan has a general aversion to bikes and bike infrastructure. But where does his “bike skepticism” come from, and why do many other Americans feel the same way? On this week’s episode of Silent Generation Joseph gets to the root of Nathan’s bias (the temperament of cyclists, tacky bike lane infrastructure, and the “aesthetics of control”) and makes the case for bike-oriented cities. Amongst other things they discuss how most Americans approach biking from a sports angle, the way streets were shared by multiple transit modes in the early 20th century, how biking becomes less viable in the Winter,  and how Los Angeles has the potential to become America’s foremost biking city. 
 
Links:
The new Silent Generation Patreon!
San Francisco streetcar footage from a hundred years ago
Years and Years by Russell T Davies
On Adam Levine's tattoos
Why Many Cities Suck (and Los Angeles Doesn't Have to)
Strong Town’s idea of “complex vs. complicated”
 
Artwork: 
AI generated
 
Recorded on 5/12/2024

Ep. 23: Men's Jewelry

Wednesday May 08, 2024

Wednesday May 08, 2024

In Western culture men often wear little to no jewelry, often opting to only wear a wedding ring and/ or a watch. What meaning can be discerned from the jewelry that Western men do wear and why don’t they wear more? On this week’s episode of Silent Generation the boys begin by discussing the form and function of the types of jewelry men most commonly wear: rings, cufflinks, tie pins, watches, necklaces, and belt buckles. Amongst other things they discuss the popularity of pearl jewelry amongst male queerbaiters, when men’s jewelry becomes a red flag, why wearable tech lost its potential to be considered jewelry, Nathan’s time working in the jewelry industry, and how millennial pink was a stepping stone into alternative fashion for preppy people in the late 2010s. 
 
Links: 
Rings & Their Meaning by Gentleman’s Gazette
Fran Lebowitz wearing Calder cufflinks in Scorsese’s “Pretend It’s a City”
how’d you know im uncut meme
“I got court” starterpack meme
 
Artwork: 
Screenshot from The Talented Mr. Ripley
 
Recorded on 5/5/2024

Ep. 22: Seapunk 2 w/ Zombelle

Wednesday May 01, 2024

Wednesday May 01, 2024

On this week’s first ever sequel episode the boys are joined by Shan Beaste, best known by her stage name Zombelle, who was one of the co-creators of the Seapunk movement and aesthetic. As detailed in episode 12, Seapunk (2011-2014) was a ‘90s inspired aquatic subculture that Nathan participated in during high school. Zombelle recently re-released her seminal seapunk album Tropicult (remastered by Myrrhkaba) which fortuitously led to her and Nathan connecting over Instagram and spurred this week’s episode. In this reexploration of seapunk, Shan and the boys discuss Shan’s early musical history and life story, confirm that she coined the term slimepunk, reiterate the place of mermaids in seapunk culture, attribute the idea of the “internet subculture formula” to Zombelle, and speculate what second wave seapunk (or “seapunk 2”) could look like. 
 
Any former (or current) seapunk listeners are encouraged by Shan to send testimonials, photographs, or other ephemera from Seapunk’s existence to seapunkpreservationsociety@gmail.com for an impending book she is writing on seapunk’s history!
 
Links:
Zombelle’s SoundCloud
Zombelle’s Instagram
Zombelle’s Seapunk Spotify playlist 
The Mainframe.im Instagram page
The seapunk Wikipedia article
Don't Call It #Tumblrwave
The Complete CORAL RECORDS INTERNAZIONALE catalog from archive.org
Random Aesthetic Generator
New miracle weight loss drug! by Praefoco21
 
Artwork:
Provided by Zombelle
 
Intro song:
Bad Creation by Zombelle
 
Recorded on 4/28/2024

Ep. 21: Domestic Travel

Saturday Apr 27, 2024

Saturday Apr 27, 2024

Americans generally travel domestically in four ways: road trips, air travel, train travel, and boat travel. The boys start by sharing anecdotes about their experiences with each type of domestic travel; Joseph says that he traveled for free on military aircraft as a child and Nathan shares how he grew up in a house with a boat in the backyard along the Chicago river. They then question if Americans prioritize cost, convenience, or culture when making decisions on how to travel both domestically and abroad. Amongst other things they discuss Joseph’s recent bachelor party road trip, national parks attendance, the Indiana Dunes, the South Shore Line, the Catskills, and RVs.
 
Links:
Top 10 Places to Build High Speed Rail In the U.S. by CityNerd
Run Lola Run
why would i fly it's only a 14 hour drive
Notorious Gridlock of Colorado's I-70 (Upzoned Episode)
Colorado’s I-70 Has America’s Most Notorious Ski Traffic. Is There a Solution? by Gloria Liu
This Town Was Paradise, Then Everyone Started Working From Home (VICE documentary)
 
Artwork:
Meeting the train, 1954 by Ross Orr
 
Recorded on 4/24/2024

Ep. 20: Civil War w/ Patrick

Monday Apr 15, 2024

Monday Apr 15, 2024

Trailers for Alex Garland’s Civil War have tantalized the general public (and the hosts of Silent Generation) for months with scenes of explosions and themes of political polarization. This weekend the movie debuted as the #1 film in the nation, being the first A24 film to do so. On this week’s episode of Silent Generation the boys are joined by their friend Patrick to discuss the film and share personal theories of what a second civil war in America would look like. Amongst other things they discuss journalism, horseshoe theory, the role of sanctions in a second civil, Texit/ Calexit, and finally whether or not they personally support the idea of a national divorce. 
 
Links:
Civil War trailer
The Sound of Silence by Alfredo Jaar
Richard Mosse’s photography
Introducing the Idea of Hyperobjects
Is CIVIL WAR Looming? ft. Kim Iversen
Anthropology and Counterinsurgency by Montgomery McFate
 
Recorded on 4/14/2024

Ep. 19: Hobos

Thursday Apr 11, 2024

Thursday Apr 11, 2024

This week Joseph and Nathan discuss an American cultural figure that can be found at the cross section of many themes thus far covered in Silent Generation: the early 1900s, train travel, ethical codes, and situational homosexuality. Hobos are perceived as yesteryear’s equivalent of the modern homeless person but they were vastly different, hobos were migrant workers with a complex system of rules and cultural values. During the episode the boys pay particular attention to hobo landmarks in Chicago such as West Madison Street, Bughouse Square, and Ben Reitman’s hobo college. Amongst other things they discuss Kitt Kittredge, the umwelt, how the word “gay” originated from hobo slang, The Dawn of Everything, and crust punks. 
 
Links:
Hobos, Wandering in America, 1870-1940 by Richard Wormser
On Hobos and Homelessness by Nels Anderson
The Damndest Radical by Roger A. Bruns
The Hobo Ethical Code
The Case Against Travel by Agnes Collard
Alex Kaschuta’s tweet about stigmatization
Death of the American Hobo - VICE
Welcome to Oogleville by Gordon Lamb
 
Artwork:
This photograph (from 1870 - 1930)  is from the George Grantham Bain collection at the Library of Congress. There are no known copyright restrictions on the use of this work.
 
Recorded on 4/8/2024

Monday Apr 01, 2024

Electroclash is a musical genre that was most popular from 1999 to 2005 and is described as being a 50/50 mixture of electronic and rock music with an ‘80s bent. Unlike prior electronic genres, live singing, dancing, and stage performance were deployed by electroclash musicians who wanted to channel the theatricality and sex appeal of 1980s rock stars. To help explore the genre Joseph and Nathan are joined by Maya, also known as Mayalabae, a Chicago native who is now a DJ in Montreal. They begin by playing four of the biggest hits to come out of Electroclash and then identify common characteristics across the genre. Amongst other things they discuss Nathan’s favorite song as a child, Fischerspooner’s lecture at SAIC, the normie lows of the mid-2000s, the documentary Clash of Cultures: The Rise of the New Electro Scene, Liquid Sky (1982), and Lady Gaga’s accidental actualization of the electroclash agenda. 
 
Links:
Maya’s Electroclash Playlist
Nathan’s Electroclash Playlist
Clash of Cultures: The Rise of the New Electro Scene (2002)
Liquid Sky (1982)
Party Monster (2003)
Get Happy by Happy Thought Hall
Electroclash: A Brief Cultural History
 
Artwork:
Screenshot of Miss Kittin from Clash of Cultures: The Rise of the New Electro Scene
 
All song clips used in this episode are claimed as fair use
 
Recorded on 3/30/2024

Ep. 17: Vaporwave w/ Drume

Saturday Mar 23, 2024

Saturday Mar 23, 2024

Vaporwave is a 1980’s inspired musical genre and aesthetic that thrived on Tumblr from 2012-2020. Broadly, vaporwave musicians slow down and remix samples of 1980’s songs in order to evoke nostalgic memories of the Reagan era, Yuppies, and globalization. On this week’s vaporwave episode of Silent Generation, Joseph and Nathan are joined by Peter (a trance musician known as David James Drume), who previously made vaporwave music under the name Eleven Eastern. They begin by briefly discussing the genre’s musical origins before delineating the aesthetic elements of vaporwave art: early 3D graphics, Greek New Media Sh*t, Japanese text, Japanese fine art, and cityscapes. Amongst other things they discuss Joseph’s high school 3D animation class, New Classical architecture, fears of Japanese ascendency during the 1980s, vaporwave’s appeal to suburban men, and the perennial popularity of vaporwave music on Chinese urbanist Tiktok accounts.
 
Links: 
Drume’s Soundcloud 
Resuscitation Hymn by Drume
Eleven Eastern on Tumblr
Greek New Media Sh*t
Flossing by Six Dogs
レッドYOLO
Cityviews888 
TradCath E-Girl Summit
 
Artwork:
AI
 
Recorded on 3/17/2024

Ep. 16: Yuppies

Tuesday Mar 12, 2024

Tuesday Mar 12, 2024

Yuppies get a bad rap. In his seminal work The Culture of Narcissism (1979), Christopher Lasch described how the coming generation of baby boomers would broadly exhibit symptoms of pathological narcissism such as hedonism, envy, greed, and an aversion to aging. Yuppies (young urban professionals) migrated en masse in cities during the1980s and were the apotheosis of their generation’s narcissistic pathology; they had wildly successful careers but each promotion and salary increase was never enough. On this week’s episode of Silent Generation, Joseph and Nathan begin by acknowledging these traits but then approach Yuppies from a warmer angle, examining the beauty of their clothing and expressing gratitude for the ways in which they helped revitalize cities during the 1980s. Amongst other things they discuss sweater vests, slicked back hair, shoulder pads, and if Trump was a Yuppie. They then conclude by discussing Yuppies in a modern context, addressing if they still exist and contemplating where you can find them in Chicago. 
 
Links:
Yuppies Pinterest Board
The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch
The Yuppie Turns 35 by Luke Seemann
The Political Distinctiveness of Young Professionals: "Yuppies" or "New Class"?
Eric and Donald Trump jr.’s slicked back hair
How the biggest yuppie of the 1980s became the white working class’s president
Whatever Happened to the Yuppie by JPCrocks 
The Yuppie Rap
Pajama Crawl
The New Yorker’s politically polarized duplex cover
 
Artwork:
Lisa Diserio and Richard Ryan dressed for success on Fifth Avenue in New York City
 
Recorded on 3/10/2024

Image

Joseph & Nathan

Joseph (left) grew up in Las Vegas and works in construction management. Nathan (right) grew up in Chicago and works as a librarian.

 

Contact us with any questions or suggestions at:

silentgeneration.chi@gmail.com

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