george w bush, hipster icon, vanity fair

Kids these days: They’ll believe any 67-year old conservative politician is cool if their friends are doing it.

At least, that’s the argument Vanity Fair makes in a blog post called “How George W. Bush Evolved From the Uncoolest Person on the Planet to Bona Fide Hipster Icon,” because he rides bikes and paints and is maybe kind of emo about being a bad president.

“[I]f you are younger than 24, you might not have attended anti-Bush rallies in high school and in college,” writes Juli Weiner. “You might not have pinned ‘SHRUB’ buttons to your tote bag, and might not even remember Bush as a war-lovin’, vowel-droppin’, faux-folksy, ostentatiously religious Connecticut cowboy. This is because Bush has, quietly and wholly, ingeniously refashioned himself into an Internet-friendly, cat-loving, ironic-hat-wearing, painter-cum-Instagram savant. Lately, George W. Bush is a hipster icon, and the Internet, unofficial Fourth Estate of the youth of America, is totally buying it.”

The post contends that Bush began his image rehabilitation when pictures of his paintings were leaked — two self-portraits, one in the shower and one in the bath, and then dozens of paintings of dogs. This was followed by a joke Buzzfeed post called “15 Reasons George W. Bush Should Come Work for BuzzFeed Animals,” complete with pictures of Bush hanging out with animals. Since Buzzfeed is sometimes the “arbiter of Internet cool,” then by the transitive property, GWB is cool. Or something.

“In Bush’s case, this transformation has been all the easier because the arbiters of Internet cool were tween in 2007 and are far more likely to have read a Buzzfeed listicle about Bush’s dog paintings than they are to have read, say, the John Yoo torture memos,” the article continues. “But even those old enough to remember hating Bush are wise enough to recognize that they are no longer the deciders (as it were) of what’s hip.”

Taking this argumen from Graydon Carter‘s Kennedy obsessed magazine to its logical conclusion, the real hipsters here are conservatives because they liked Bush before it was cool. And if conservatives are cool, consider Rick Santorum Miles Davis.

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