How to Be an Avant-Teen
Due to the constantly-shifting, utterly white suburban “staying ahead of the pack” mentality, teenagers have it rougher now than ever before. Becoming and remaining a viable presence in the online world is strenuous to a degree that is inconceivable by even the most competitive of past generations’ status-seekers. With the new medium, the paradigm has shifted in such a way that you, too, in all your subtly trendy glory, can become the “Avant-Teen” in your community and acquire lots of influence over your peers!
1. Indulge your emotions in the most clichéd ways possible.
This is sort of a pre-requisite for high schoolers, but Avant-Teens require more than your typical “Why don’t girls look at me?” To be the true Avant-Teen, it’s necessary to take it one step further. To start, be touchier about your emotions than ever before. Did your parents yell at you? Weep in the shower, trying your best to simulate the expressions of famous French actors and actresses in the throes of play-agony. Did you not attract the attention of a member of the opposite sex? Go home and write elaborate free-verse poetry, and be sure to mention it in a self-deprecating matter next time you see some of your closer friends. Own your sadness, and let it define you in every way possible as often as you can. It will take hard work, but eventually you’ll convince yourself that your life actually does suck.
2. Get into really obscure music, and use the word “esoteric” all the time.
A couple of decisions arise in the music department for the Avant-Teen. The first is what “esoteric” genres are relatable to you. Will you listen to the African diaspora? Fela might be a bit too mainstream. What about EAI? Well, that’s referenced on Tiny Mix Tapes and simply won’t do. Eventually you’ll settle on something, be it ‘30s Greek folk music or Soviet-era Russian classical. Be as pseudo-knowledgeable as you can about this genre. The second decision is what fairly popular acts you will follow to give the impression of eclecticism and open-mindedness. Good options for this category include Lady GaGa, with her somewhat defensible Dada aesthetic; The Smiths with their fairly universal sound (even though they’re your band, and you and Morrissey have some transcendent bond that no one else can ever conceive of); and The Beatles because seeing them next to Antoine Beuger (since your music will be sorted by last name, seeing as you aren’t a philistine) on your iPod drives the point home that you have range.
3. Be a Marxist.
There is absolutely no other acceptable political view for the truly Avant-Teen. The degrees of Marxism will be different, and the applications will vary (anarchism, state-controlled socialism, etc.) but the end goal is strong advocacy for what has historically been the choice of the youth for politics (not to mention that if you’ve read this far into the article and understood the humor you’re already intelligent enough that if you aren’t a Marxist you probably don’t know what it means to be one).
4. Make a Tumblr featuring obscure black-and-white pictures featuring nothing but references to imperialism, heartbreak, and blasphemy, with the occasional music reference for likes and reblogs.
You will pretend that this Tumblr is “nothing” or a “lapse in judgment,” but you will spend at least a couple hours a day fine-tuning it to give the impression of exclusivity with your images (no more than two a day!) and selective taste in pictures that ALL LOOK THE SAME.
5. Be a twat about anything and everything.
The final and most important step of being an Avant-Teen is to develop strong, biased opinions on every major art form (sculpting, painting, film, music, literature, photography) and constantly expound on them in such a way as to reinforce your Marxist principles acquired in step 3. If you aren’t arguing with someone violently at least once a week, you’ve either achieved Avant-Teen nirvana by completely alienating all human contact (bravo!) or you are not trying hard enough.
It’s a tough world out there, and blatant self-absorption and image-creation isn’t as simple as it once was. Hopefully these five steps have helped you to look back over your persona and fix it for the better. You now have grounds to flare your nostrils at the plebeians in your neighborhood and walk away while whistling Japanese harsh noise, something the drooling masses surrounding you could never hope to accomplish.