So little useful anthropology is being done in/on contemporary American culture(s), This Blog celebrates anything that serves the cause.
Last week the New York Times wrote up a guy who calls himself Normal Bob. NB (aka Bob Hain) has made himself a student of the Union Square area. His blog is a treasure trove of ethnographic observation. Bob has made a typology for the Square, including "skaters," "scenesters," "models," and "junkies." He also has documented individuals: Ramblin’ Bill, The DJ and Quarter Guy.
Bob’s view is unblinkered and unsentimental. In this passage, he documents the passage of a runaway teenager from Goth to Punk to heroin addict.
One of the funny things that I’ve experienced since moving here to New York that I’d never seen before is witnessing first hand the frequent and predictable junk-related falls of the human being over the course of just a couple years. This girl is one of those cases.Just a few years ago she was another teenager hangin’ around the cube, goth, bashful and (found out later) a runaway. Then the winter comes and goes, and in the spring I see her doin’ more of the punk thing, hangin’ out with squatters, a little less feminine, a little more soulless. The transformation is so predictable.Then another year passes and there she is, a useless junkie squatter nodding out in a Starbucks with her Grande Mocha Frappuccino and her forehead on the tabletop. Now I’ve almost gotten to the point where I can see the kid and predict their nodding routine almost to the month. It’s sad but true.