It’s happened all over the world, and it’s happening in China, too. As the country’s middle class swells in number — and its people discover the pleasures and disappointments of a life spent pursuing material comfort — there has come the emergence of a distinct counter-culture. In Chinese, they are thewenyi qingnian (文艺青年), orwenqing for short, literally meaning “cultured youth.” It’s China’s closest equivalent to the alternately beloved and reviled English word, “hipster.”
What does a typical “cultured youth” look like? Baidu Baike, China’s version of Wikipedia, contains an entry on the term that quotes writer and musician Guo Xiaohan: “I’m a very typical wenyi qingnian. I like poetry, novels, indie music, European cinema, taking pictures, writing blogs, cats, gardening, quilting, making dessert and designing environmentally friendly bags.”
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That’s one of the key messages of a new ad campaign launched by the Canadian province of British Columbia. These ads appear on campuses and in transit lines in the province.
Manhattan blamed it on the media campaign drummed up by a newspaper known as The New York Times, which Brooklyn had met at a party in, of course, Brooklyn. (Manhattan had not been invited, and so stayed home listening mournfully to Coldplay and thinking of the good old days, when everyone talked about Manhattan, not Brooklyn, when the parties were in Manhattan, not Brooklyn.) After that party, during which Manhattan suspected that something illicit had occurred between the paper and her sister (Brooklyn had notoriously bad taste in men, and was, how shall we say, a bit free with her charms), The New York Times would not shut up about Brooklyn. Of course, Brooklyn had been talked about before; she was quite the social butterfly and knew all sorts of people in high places, but suddenly, Manhattan began to see her sister’s Toms shoe footprints everywhere, in articles about everything from Paris to Nashville to something else entirely unrelated to Brooklyn or even cities in general. Whether it was true or not! Where were the journalistic ethics? Frankly, the phrase Brooklyn-style made Manhattan want to puke. Manhattan tried to be a little more like Brooklyn despite herself. The move was widely criticized. She opened an artisanal water business, thinking it would help matters. Cruel people just laughed.
Read more. [Image: NewYorkMonthlyMagazine]