The Revolution Will Be Accessorized
Distributed By: Harper Perennial
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
I have often covered things that I have been forced to be exposed to for the purposes of one of my school courses. Usually I end up discovering that I like what I have been forced to read. When in my recently ended English class, I was forced to read a book entitled The Revolution Will Be Accessorized, I didn’t even get to read the entire book. A series of collected essays on counterculture, my class involved taking selected readings from the book. Still, when class ended and the book was left sitting in my bookcase, I couldn’t help but pick it up and read the things I had missed. So did I miss anything?
The Revolution Will Be Accessorized is a collection of essays from BlackBook magazine. BlackBook prides itself on being a fashion magazine with a brain—centered around today’s popular culture and underground artistic culture, BlackBook is a fashion magazine without being all about the glitz and glamour, but with an intelligent analysis of the world it represents. Taking its best essays and placing them into a book, The Revolution Will Be Accessorized makes you think about every aspect of culture.
This collection of essays contains pieces from today’s foremost writers. Meghan Daum, who has moved from New York to Los Angeles, discusses the differences in the two ways of life in her essay “L.A. Bourgeois.” Dirk Wittenborn tries to figure out “When Ass Kicking Became Networking” and Glenn O'Brien struggles to find the answer to the question, “If It Makes You Think, Is It Fashion?” Emma Forrest explores past relationships in “Harold and Maude is Forever” and discusses how important it is to take something from every relationship you leave behind. “The Angriest Book Club in America” is Bruno Maddox’ take on the authenticity of The Underground Literary Alliance, a literary group that seems to decry today’s literature as artificial while hocking its own brand of unknown junk writing. “In Praise of Zoos,” by Alain de Botton discusses the more authentic way visiting a zoo makes you see the world. “Santa Shrink,” by Augusten Burroughs, discusses the drive not to be like your parents, which usually leads you to be exactly like your parents.
Sam Lipsyte discusses the history of April Fool's Day in “April Foolery,” while DBC Pierre discusses her meaning of romance in “Bullets and Brandy and Dry Ice.” Ryan Boudinot tells a creative tale of a cannibalistic mother with concerns about health food in “My Mother Was a Monster,” while it’s hard to tell which it is in “Reef or Madness?” by Neal Pollack and it is impossible to discern the truth in “Flower Hunting in the Congo,” by JT LeRoy. M.J. Hyland discusses Christmases past in “The Last Christmas,” while Jonathan Ames discusses his boyhood sneaker fetish in “Sneakers Make The Boy.” Toby Young discusses his love for liquor in the tongue-in-cheek “Demon Club Soda,” while Bill Powers deals with his stalking tendencies in “Sticky Feet.” Mike Albo discusses our incredible growing ad market in “The Big Sell,” while Fight Club writer Chuck Palahniuk mocks the same ad market in “If Death is Just a Doorway…Why Shouldn’t It Have a Door Policy?” William T. Vollmann discusses the piece of Americana that is the Greyhound bus in “Greyhound Across America,” and Victor Bockris recounts the stories of Wall Street, just after terrorists struck in “Ghost Walk.”
This collection also features conversations between artists of different kinds with a BlackBook editor as mediator and discussion leader. Such discussions include one between novelist Douglas Coupland and movement leader and writer Naomi Klein. It also puts the writer of one of its own articles, Meghan Daum, in conversation with novelist Joan Didion. Artist Damien Hirst and novelist Irvine Welsh discuss the true nature of partying in “24 Hour Party People,” while Dana Vachon interviews wrap artists Jeanne Claude and Christo. Media artist Matthew Barney discusses art with sculptor Jeff Koons.
This healthy analysis of the way we live everyday was a surprisingly fun read. This is no light read, but it isn’t your regular boring essay collection either. Filled with riveting looks into the fashion underground as well as our own psyche, The Revolution Will Be Accessorized contained some of those things I love best about writing. The ability to make someone think—really think—about the world and society with words alone. It has something I know that G-POP has strived for, and it is something that this collection certainly attains.