Magazine article The Fader

Icon

Magazine article The Fader

Icon

Article excerpt

Debate is healthy, but for the obstinate it can feel like being trapped in a loony bin when you know you're sane. I got into a days-long argument in college about whether my friends only existed in my imagination. They would say, "If you're imagining all of this, am I going to punch you in the stomach?" I'd say, "Well, it's my subconscious inventing what you do, so I can't really predict what's going to happen." Then one would punch me in the stomach, and say, "Well, I just decided to punch you in the stomach and then did it, so I must exist." And I'd say, "Yeah I knew you'd say that." When the debate comes to semantics, though, it can be even more frustrating trying to decide who's right--the meanings of certain words are just totally subjective. "Icon" is one of these words.

Past FADER icon issues each focused on one totemic figure, filtering that person's life and work through our particular lens. Kurt Cobain, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Jerry Garcia, Aaliyah, David Byrne: all universally known and appreciated, canonized figures in the pop culture pantheon. But with the modern world more splintered than ever and mass appeal much harder to come by, is that the only definition of an icon? Is an icon only someone who means something to everyone? Or can it be someone who means everything to relatively few?

To find the answer, we took our website's RSS feed, broke every post down to its basic elements, entered the keywords into our iPad prototype and threw it out the window. …

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