Let me tell you a great story about a certain slacker, and the concept of slackers, and the movie Slacker.
I was in Minneapolis in October, 2001, for a film festival. Reality already seemed rather skewed, as I had just flown in from Australia and was pretty jet-lagged.I found myself in a cab headed across town to one of the first films of the festival, and something really surreal yet very perfect happened.
The taxi driver was a totally amazing character. He was probably about my age, or maybe a little younger. Late 20s or early 30s. He was very friendly and talkative, and he was driving barefoot. I observed out loud this last fact, and he went into this patter about how he was taking it easy, that he only had this job so he didn't have to work too hard, so why should he wear shoes, that he was all about just relaxing, no worries, no ambitions, just living life, getting by, not trying too hard to do much. I sat there in rapt attention, amazed. He ended his little litany by saying, "I guess you could call me a loser, but that's the way I like it."
I said, well, I have a better name for that, better than loser. I'd say people like you are "slackers." He reacted positively and with some pleasant surprise at this characterization. He had actually never heard of the term, but he liked it. Yeah, I said, there's a whole film about slackers, you really should see it. It's called "Slacker." Wow, he said. He was totally amazed and excited. He really had never heard of it. Here was this guy who was totally oblivious to the fact that he was a living, breathing, perfect archetype. Yeah, definitely see that film, I said as I paid him and got out of the cab.
It made me really happy, I think because I had found someone who was living a subcultural lifestyle without being aware of the popular mass media representation of that lifestyle that had brought it into mainstream notice. He had arrived at his identity independently of the culture industry. Now I wonder if I ruined it for him by telling him about the film....