Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film
In the long and not-so-proud history of “I know it when I see it” commentary, there is a new contender for its nebulous throne: twee. From Zooey Deschanel and Wes Anderson to The Smiths and Belle and Sebastian, twee has become a full-fledged movement and pop culture force to be reckoned with.
Twee explores the innocuous rise of this curious cultural phenomenon, breaking down the prime examples of twee culture across the years and giving synopses filled with personality and a vague sense of “how did this come to be?” hand-waving. As twee weaves its way in and around different creative genres and social sensibilities, Spitz gamely attempts to link it all together under one umbrella.
Unfortunately, putting so many of examples of twee culture in the same place unintentionally reveals undertones of callous calculation and insincerity that mar the twee sensibility, breeding contempt and distrust in skeptical observers and hardline social critics. Paradoxically, Twee unintentionally condemns through advocacy.
And while I don’t agree with some of the things Spitz labels as twee – They Might Be Giants, for instance – he has nonetheless managed to map the seemingly unmappable, offering a history book unlike any other.