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November 15, 2011

Book Review: The Indie Cred Test

We are a generation of people trying to be cooler than those around us. This trend goes hand in hand with the excess we live in, so sometimes we get a little out of hand with our, coolness. It can happen to the best of us, we get carried away and start thinking we’re the epitome of cool, the essence of style. All it takes is one moment to show our awesomeness and just one line to display our supreme wittiness. We seek these opportunities to let others know just how cool we are. Yet the ability to poke fun at ourselves also determines our level of cool. And yes, if you can’t laugh at yourself then, who can you laugh at? But at what point does wittiness turn to self-deprecation? I believe The Indie Cred Test is exactly that point.

The book is broken down into five major sections; general lifestyle, social notoriety, music culture, film and literature, and the aptly named final section how to know a lot while learning absolutely nothing. What begins as a playful look at our mainstream counter culture quickly escalates to an elitist playhouse filled with inside jokes and senseless social commentary. It’s like a bad joke; I get the punchline…it’s just not a good joke. In spite of that, I did find the book to be a bit educational. Namely, I was able to form a more definite understanding on what exactly a hipster is…but I’m still not quite sure. I’m also not sure if the book is for those curious about whether they are hipsters or for hipsters looking to come to terms with who they are. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, yeah?

One area of the book that does succeed is in the design. Chunklet Industries has crafted some very clean infographics for their pseudo statistics. There are plenty of pie charts, pointless multiple choice and self-serving personality quizzes for readers to sift through. These pages are filled with questions and situations to judge how you measure up to the coolest of hipsters. Sprinkled throughout the book are mock advertisements for a Bank of Indie Credit. These are actually handled quite well and help to break up the content. Although a bit cheesy, these ads take strikes at many of the tropes we’ve come to know in pop and counter cultures.

When all is said and done, we get it. We know that you’re too cool for school. We know you were underground before it was cool. And yes, we know you were vegan before anyone knew what the hell that meant. But was the pomp and braggadocio of an entire book celebrating your crassness really necessary?


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