Adam Curtis Blog: WHITE NEGRO FOR MAYOR
This Thursday Londoners will vote to elect a new city mayor, and I thought it would be a good moment to put up a great documentary about how Norman Mailer stood for Mayor of New York in 1969.
It is a lovely film – directed by a brilliant documentary maker called Dick Fontaine, and beautifully shot in the fluid way of cine-verite back then. But more than that it captures the rise of a phenomenon that has come to dominate (and possibly strangle) western metropolitan society today. It is the rise of the hipster. By this I don’t mean the present cliche of the ironic moustaches that live in Hoxton and Hoboken – but a new cultural elite that was beginning to emerge at that time, the rebellious, stroppy bohemians who looked to culture rather than politics to define their identity – and above all their difference from others.