Killer Jeans: The Day Teen Rebellion Truly Died
Rebellion used to be so easy. All you had to do was grow your hair long, ride a motorcycle or cuss a lot in public. Maybe get an earring, a tattoo or even just start dressing really dark or slutty. Finding some small (or large) way in which you could effectively “stick it to the man” was as simple as locating whatever established institution ruled all and focus your hardest on defying it. Boy, have things ever changed.
Being an out-of-the-box rebel these days is near impossible. First off, everybody wears whatever they want. Haircuts run the gamut. Everybody swears like a trucker (even truckers...) and basic morality is decidedly un-determined and un-enforced. What’s left to poke in the eye? Even government is off limits because it’s become so PC and aggrieved-party sensitive that railing against the system is kind of like protesting yourself. The latest pop rebels – Occupiers – actually wanted more government. More state intrusions, more pass-arounds. That’s just weird.
You see “The Man” is not the same crew cut square he used to be. The sixties radicals (hippies) went and grew up, which means they pretty much run everything now. Think I’m kidding? Check out the pedigree of most big-time politicians and bureaucrats sporting a tie. The number with Woodstock cred and mucho experience inhaling is mind-blowing. The classic rebels are finally running the system, and they have done everything they could to make “The Man” into what they figured he always should have been.
So pity the poor teenager. What in Gaia’s name are they supposed to do to rebel? They can’t fight the system. The system gives them stuff. They can’t really dress weirder than anyone else. All their language and music and films are protected. Their rock star gods are politically connected and telling them when and how to vote. They even get condoms for free with Technicolor lessons in how to use them. How does Johnny signal his rebellion?
Enter Billycock Jeans. The brainchild(?) of two dudes named Jem and Goldy, Billycock (named after some 1800’s Manchester gangsters that wore hats called Billycocks) decided they wanted to start a jean brand that (surprise, surprise) targeted “anyone who isn’t a douchebag.” In interviews they talk rough and coarse and act rude and dismissive of most everything while still attempting to sell jeans. You see, they’re rebels – or at least they’re trying to be. To prove it they went and created a commercial that was too hot for TV. So hot in fact it got banned by “The Man” in Australia. But don’t worry. You can still see it, ‘cause we can always see it, ‘cause nothing is ever actually really banned in our current privileged existence.
The custom spot opens with a young, attractive girl exiting her car in a deserted area late at night. The music pounds as she stands up and we see she is wearing a shirt and only thong underwear. She very seriously heads to the back of her car to open the trunk, pausing dramatically to look inside. She lifts a large bag out of the trunk and puts it on the ground. Slowly she unzips the bag to reveal a similarly pretty young woman who is clearly dead. She smiles ever so slightly and proceeds to unzip the dead girl’s jeans. Then, we see her pull on the same jeans (Billycock’s of course), get back into her car and drive away. Left behind we now see a pile of dead female bodies, all missing their jeans. And now you know. The new rebellion for teens is to be a serial killer. The mind boggles.....
Of course they banned the ad – objectively it’s sick as hell (which was the point). The idea was obviously that once banned more people would want to see it (especially teens) and Billycock could claim the mantle of edgy-cool by being something that might horrify parents. My take? Personally, I’d love to see this ad play in primetime. You could not ask for a more perfect representation of the ultimate dead end total materialism leads to.
No, current rebellion is on life-support and patchy at best. Dupes think they’re rebels by watching Jon Stewart or voting the way P.Diddy whatsisname tells them to but in reality the world went and changed and made it too complicated for most of them. True rebellion actually requires some hard thinking and real effort. You can’t package it or buy it, or even really view it. You have to feel it – and you have to pay a price for joining in. It’s strange but as whacked out as it may seem the only group left that even seems slightly rebellious are those nerdling Tea-Party conservatives complaining about everything. That couldn’t possibly be true, could it? Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio?