The other day on Twitter, I said I became convinced the recession is bottoming out when I saw that some CondeNast alumni had launched a blog called “Recession Wire.” It’s not the blog itself that convinced me, it’s the tag-line claiming the blog is: “The Upside of the Downside.”
That tag-line makes it official: the recession has been declared ironic by hip young women dressed in all black. And as everyone knows who’s read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, once something becomes hip and ironic, it has the half-life of pet rocks.
Apparently, there’s even an ironic term for recessionary hipness: “Recession Chic.” WordSpy.com, a website that tracks newly-minted buzz words and phrases, picked up the current use of the phrase back in October. But WordSpy also found a 1990 reference to the term during an earlier period when New Yorker magazine’s prime ad spots appeared to be heading “down-scale” (another recessionary friendly term). Word Spy has noticed some other “hip” recession phrases, including: commodity chic, conspicuous austerity, growth recession, inconspicuous consumption, librarian chic, recessionista and stealth shopper.
Last October, the Times noted that publicists, retailers and even a few consumers have refashioned a word that rhymes with fashionista to describe the stylish, but price-conscious: recessionista.
And while I didn’t need convincing, the New York Times on Sunday took away any doubt the recession is the new black, when a story about how convenient a recession can be for some things: “the recession may be nerve-racking, merciless, seemingly intractable…but apparently, it is not without its uses.” Among those listed: It provides a good excuse for cutting back on expenses like when you want to fire a rotten nanny or skip a trek into the Arctic Circle.
If that doesn’t convince you the end is near, nothing will.