Ta Bu or Not Ta Bu: True Tales of an Aging Hippie Chick

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In the mid-noughties, it even managed to provoke a flicker of old-fashioned folk devil outrage when the Daily Mail proclaimed it the Dangerous Cult Of Teen Suicide. But that's about it. Something has clearly changed, and over the past week, I've listened to a lot of hypotheses as to why, of varying degrees of plausibility. A sociologist at the University of Sussex, Dr Kevin White, tells me he thinks it has something to do with Britain's changing class structure. Elswehere, there's a rather grumpy "tsk-kids-today" theory that teenagers are now so satiated by the plethora of entertainment on offer that they don't feel the need to rebel through dress or ritual — and a deeply depressing one that people are too worried about their futures in the current financial climate to be creative.

And I've had a long and fascinating conversation with historian David Fowler, author of the acclaimed book Youth Culture in Modern Britain , who has an intriguing, if controversial, theory that subcultures such as hippy and punk had very little to do with the actual teenagers who participated in them — "They were consumers … they were sort of puppets" — and were instead informed and controlled by a slightly older, university-educated generation.

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Today, the lack of anything equivalent to the radical student movements of the 60s that fed into both the hippy movement and punk means a lack of ideas trickling down into pop culture. Meanwhile, Dr Ruth Adams of King's College London thinks it might be linked to the speed at which "the cycle of production and consumption" now moves. When I was a teenager, you had to make more commitment to music and fashion, because it took more of a financial investment. I had a pair of gothy stiletto boots, which lasted me for years: I had to make a sort of commitment to looking like that, because I wasn't going to get another pair of alternative shoes any time soon, so I had to think about which ones I wanted.

Now, it's all a bit more blurry, the semiotic signs are not quite as hard-edged as they used to be. But the most straightforward, prosaic theory is that, as with virtually every area of popular culture, it's been radically altered by the advent of the internet: that we now live in a world where teenagers are more interested in constructing an identity online than they are in making an outward show of their allegiances and interests.

You don't have to invest in a teddy boy's drape suit or a T-shirt from Seditionaries. Once you start examining subcultures online, things become blurred and confusing, compounded by the fact that a lot of online subcultures seem to come cloaked in layers of knowing irony.

In search of latterday youth subcultures, I'm pointed in various directions by various people, but I invariably can't work out whether what I'm looking at is meant to be serious or a joke: never really a problem in the days when members of different youth cults were prepared to thump each other. There's plenty of stuff that seems weird and striking and creative out there, but there's something oddly self-conscious and non-committal about it: perhaps that's the result of living in a world dominated by social media, where you're under constant surveillance by your peers.

Is a Tumblr star such as Molly Soda — an American year-old with dyed hair and a septum piercing, whose website is a curious mix of nostalgic imagery from the early days of the internet, glittery My Little Pony kitsch, softcore porn and photos of her pulling faces and occasionally exposing herself, and who recently seems to have translated her online fame into a visual-art career an eight-hour video of her reading the contents of her email inbox was recently sold by Phillips in New York — at the head of a subculture?

On the one hand, it's a little hard to put your finger on what she does or stands for.

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On the other, she certainly has acolytes, who dress like her and imitate her Tumblr's aesthetic indeed, she has them in such profusion, that they're parodied on another Tumblr called Molly Soda Try-Hards. Furthermore, her influence appears to be affecting mainstream culture: the clothing chain Urban Outfitters recently ran a blogpost telling customers how to achieve a Molly Soda-inspired "Tumblr girl look", albeit as — oh dear — a Halloween costume rather than an ongoing lifestyle.

And then there's seapunk , a movement that started out as a joke on Twitter, turned into a Facebook page, then gained traction to the point where it became a real-life scene, with a seapunk "look" that involved dyeing your hair turquoise, seapunk club nights and seapunk music. In any case, I'm too late. One of seapunk's supposed core members, Zombelle, apparently declared the movement dead when pop stars started cottoning on to it, which perhaps tells you something about subcultures in They catch people's imagination, get appropriated by mainstream culture then die away: it was ever thus, but now it happens at warp-speed.

I thought everybody understood this and, of course, brought their own reasons into it. Your email address will not be published. In the interest of transparency, we do not accept anonymous comments. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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Reference Russell, E. Patricia Belfanti February 26, Overall, experts say the pharmaceutical industry might face leaner times, and there will be layoffs, but strong scientists are always in demand. Indeed, in , when US unemployment among life scientists hit a year high of 3. In fact, the government predicts that the number of life science jobs will grow over the next few years.

The US economy has traditionally been kind to industry scientists. Moreover, the BLS expects that from to , employment among scientists will increase three times faster than it will in other occupations. Not all sectors of the life sciences will benefit equally from this growth. Even if the pharmaceutical industry continues to stay strong overall, experts expect that certain positions will feature more prominently in want ads over the next few years.

For example, opportunities in bio-pharmaceuticals — the development and manufacturing of biotech drugs such as genetically engineered hormones and monoclonal antibodies — may expand at a faster rate than in small molecules. For Wyeth's Projan, biologics are the drugs of the future because they are targeted, causing fewer side effects than traditional drugs.

Moreover, most agents are injectable, making it harder for people to buy them at lower cost over the Internet. In the last five years, Wyeth expanded its protein manufacturing facility in Andover, Mass. Projan says he expects that big pharmaceutical companies will also be hiring in discovery and development of biopharmaceuticals, not just manufacturing. Indeed, he says his company just announced that it is looking for 52 new people to work in biopharmaceutical development in Andover making novel protein therapeutics.

This, in turn, will confer greater bargaining leverage to biotech firms seeking strategic partnerships and licensing agreements with larger drug companies. In addition, Brad Smith, director of staffing and diversity at Roche at the company's US pharmaceutical headquarters in Nutley, NJ, says that the company is trying to increase its early portfolio, both by generating its own molecules and by cutting deals with companies working on promising new treatments. As a result, he says he expects to see growth in jobs related to clinical trials.

Marcie Geremakis, director of human resources for preclinical research and development at Roche, says the company recently expanded its research facility in Nutley and is now investigating infectious and autoimmune diseases, which may mean more jobs in those areas. She also expects the company to look for more chemists, particularly medicinal chemists, who often are in short supply. Roche is also looking for PhDs with experience in toxicology, pharmacology, safety pharmacology, and pathology, as well as cell biologists with in vivo experience.

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Wyeth's Projan says he expects his and other companies will also consider hiring more people with experience in pharmacogenomics, which involves predicting how patients will respond to a particular drug based on their genetic makeup see "Medicine Gets Personal," page Pharmacogenomics is a "huge, early field," he says, and will likely drive up demand for individuals who are well-versed in proteomics, transcriptional profiling, and biomarker identification.

For examples, he explains, companies see that drug-coated stents help patients more than a drug given with an uncoated stent. As a result, many companies may be eagerly searching for people who understand both drugs and devices, perhaps drug researchers who spent time at device companies, and vice versa, Houchins notes. Pharmaceutical giants will also likely be hiring people with experience in drug safety and regulatory approval, says David G.

Jensen, managing director at CareerTrax in Sedona, Ariz. People who have worked in regulatory affairs, quality control, and validation, which are positions that often require strong science backgroundswill be in demand, he says. In the United States, companies will want people who understand regulations in other countries, so that they can help the company break into overseas markets. However, companies could be very selective about who they hire for these positions, giving preference to highly trained scientists, predicts Kim First, president of The Agency, a California-based biopharmaceutical search firm.


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