Field Guide to November Days and the Regressors


Magnificent claws you've got there.
Thank you, Brendan.
Thank you for detailing something i've been observing for 15 years, down here in Olympia. The fertile crescent of the self-infantilization culture.
Oh Jesus, well done. That culture was strong in the early 90's, except everyone was bi, but no one was getting laid.
My neighborhood liquor store has a big gallon jar of Tootsie Roll Pops on the counter. Always thought it was more than a little bit weird. It sounds like it would fit right in with these people, though.
I'm so glad that you're pointing this out. I noticed this odd self-infantilizing phenomenon a while ago and wasn't sure if anyone else agreed.
And this is why you are one of the best editors at The Stranger. I totally respect you, Brendan Kiley. Well Played.
Calvin Johnson is the creepy old uncle in this world.
@8 you speak the truth. He is beyond creepy at this point.
I am in love with this post.

@8 - A-yup.
Feature! Feature!
For the record, I coined "the Regressors," and I want my nickel every time someone uses it.

@11: I second that emotion. Understanding how all this became weird and repugnant (when one is obviously supposed to think it's endlessly neat and cute) is helpful.
while you're blaming them for shit like a resurgence of ice cream parlors, its fucking 40-something grey hairs in REI jackets and Dockers who are constantly lined up around the block at Molly Moon. these people are the real problem here. if people in their 20's still want to be kids, fine... its creepy and obnoxious but whatever. when you have kids of your own and you're acting like a child, you are basically signally that humanity is reaching an end point (see the upcoming movie Grown Ups for further extrapolation).
I live in Portland and while I love the city, the phenomenon you've described here is one of the things that I really dislike about young adult culture. No surprise that somebody mentioned Calvin Johnson upthread, I've always casually labeled it the "K Records lifestyle/aesthetic". I used to be somewhat involved in the indie rock "scene" in my early 20s but had to leave because it was too sexless (even while fronting as sexually progressive) and I never got laid. Sounds like not much has changed in the decade since then.
This post looks like puking.
If memory serves me correctly, The Stranger gave a genius award to The Blow a few years back, or at least she played at some party for The Stranger. And bear in mind: I love The Blow, and I think their last record in 06 or so was great. But I can't think of another act that more exemplifies this newly dubbed "Regressor" aesthetic -- she even has a song called "Little Sally" which is sung in a kindergarten-circle round. And it features Calvin Johnson. This is like the national anthem for this lifestyle.

I don't know what point I'm trying to make there... ok, here's my point: There's all these blogs -- hipster puppies, look at this fucking hipster, etc -- that are clearly written by hipsters. It seems like the hippest act these days is to isolate and poke fun at some aspect of hipsterdom. And I've just taken that meta(!!!), by poking fun of hipsters trying to be hip by making fun of hipsters. Now someone needs to poke fun at me for trying to be so smart.

Time to go do something outdoors away from the internet this weekend.
My god, that trailer looks excruciatingly dull.

"The Regressors" appear to have only known the comfort of protection whilst growing up. I bet they heard a lot of "the neighbourhood park is too dangerous to go see, so please stay inside, watch The Lion King, and play on AOL. I'll have Belinda's mommy drive her over to join you.").

This trailer otherwise makes me a bit queasy with familiarity by association. I dealt with a lite version of said people (more like a hybrid hipster-regressor) a couple of summers ago and found it absolutely baffling how an entire shared age group (roughly a decade my junior) could so completely immerse themselves in a stunted social development which just seemed like a bunch of 10-year-olds had gone all Jennifer Garner and woke up to discover they all had 25-year-old bodies.

Also, possibly correlative, it was impossible to pull any one of them side for anything unless the whole group came along: individuality slain by the hive.

[This one-ring Generalization Circus just raised the lights.]
shoegazer lo-fi anti-folk overload for the whatever. omg like ugh.
not that there is anything wrong w/ those genres such as they are, though still...?
A feature is an excellent idea, or any chance to look beyond the surface repulsion you so vividly convey in this post. The self-infantalization is one symptom of a deeper pathology that I think takes its biggest toll on actual kids, the younger set who are conducting their for-real childhoods amidst an adult culture that refuses most of the complexity, paradox, and potential of what it means to be grown-up. Not just sex, but all of it, all the major organs. If you start digging into this broader pathology, you will turn up an ugly nest of confusions about what kids are or should be alongside the disabling behaviors that so offend you.
Self-infantalization, as Matthew calls it, is certainly nothing new for 20somethings. Reading this, I immediately thought of my beloved rave culture of the mid-'90s, a time when some of us spent every weekend quite literally sucking on pacifiers and hugging stuffed animals.
If you write a feature about this please touch on the subject of how indie/twee/K/whatever types create a subcultural bubble for themselves in which ineptness (i.e. deliberate technical naivete, crappy homemade style, "lo-fi") is used as a strategy to dodge grown-up standards of aesthetic evaluation. Or in other words, regress to when every kid in class got a gold star for their wonderful finger-painting!

@16, I sort of feel bad for saying this because I've met Khaela and she seems like a really nice person, but I loathe The Blow for precisely the reasons that have been discussed here. When they had their mini-explosion in popularity right around 2006, that's when I realized I was on the "old" side of the generation gap.
oh, thank god we still got teh justin beiber, glee, jersey shore and sex in the city 2 as our upright and coiffed standard bearers right?
nailed it. reminds me of an article i once read about the need for an actual forward-looking avant-garde rather than one with its eyes trained on the past, that is predicated on remixes, restyling, and retro irony. check it out here:…

oh, and for anyone interested, the author also edits the contemporary art journal 'paper monument.'
AHhhh! I came to Slog and all I got was this lousy circle jerk...

Brendan, as accurate as your description is, your detest for this cultural phenomenon is unfounded. Who cares if people choose to be self-infantilizing? They're not starting wars, buying giant houses in the suburbs or garbling down large amounts of natural resources – shit, they travel everywhere by bike. These people are in no way a burden on our society. Let it be.
I think these people are at Publicola bitching about sharrows.
I wonder if the self-infantilizement is a reaction against the course, brutal nature of our post-post-post-ironic culture.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Many of my high school friends live in Portland and live in this manner, and none of them seem comfortable with their sexuality. It's puzzling to me. But, as @27 said, until they start doing some crazy shit that is a detriment to society, I don't think we should care.
Watched this movie last night and hated every minute of its "look at us" hipsterdom. Call 'em what you want, I call them boring hipster douches. From about five minutes in, I could not stop thinking "hey hipster, your life isn't that interesting!" It's not. It's just really, REALLY not. Even the parties looked excruciatingly boring. The characters were detestable. It was as if someone made a painfully tedious film about dull people you wouldn't like. Oh, wait; that's EXACTLY what someone did. The upside (and as far as I can tell, there is only one) is that it really is beautifully filmed.
I think this happens with every generation. When I was in my early twenties we were all wearing baby-doll dresses and pigtails - even wearing little girl hair bands and barrettes. I think it's just plain rebellion against adult-hood!
Speaking as a partially self-infantilized bicycle rider in Olympia, @27 and @29 both make great points.

But I'm baffled by the comments on sex - none of the "Regressors" that I know have a problem with their sexuality. Some occassionally struggle to get laid, but isn't that true of, like, every demographic you could define? I mean, if you have standards, which I realize rules out about three quarters of Slog commenters.