Painful Truth: This too shall pass

Columnist Matthew Claxton gets trendy.

W hen was the last time you heard anyone mention Paris Hilton? Even as a punchline?

I saw a brief online mention of the celebutante the other day and had to rack my brain to remember the last time anyone had written anything about her.

It was a small but real relief to realize that no one cares about Paris Hilton anymore.

Reaching middle age has a number of comforts. First among them is learning that every annoying celebrity, trend, style, hobby, or fad diet that drives me up the wall will, eventually, disappear.

A short list of Things I Don’t Care For Much that have passed out of this world include: rap metal, the paleo diet, the Atkins diet, the Beanie Baby craze, the Spice Girls, Crysal Pepsi, Rob Schneider movies, and (this one is almost over) people saying “artisanal” instead of “hand-made.”

Some fads certainly seem inescapable at the time. If you’re in the middle of the boy band era of pop music (ah, the late 1990s!) it certainly seems like there will be an endless supply of cloned five-lad groups singing insipid pop. But then that supply helps kill off the trend itself. Too many boy bands, too many Tamagotchi knock offs, too many articles on low-carb recipes, and everyone gets a hankering for something new.

Which can lead to the backlash. Punk music was fresh and new in the late 1970s because people were tired of over-serious arena rock bands with 19-minute songs. Grunge was an antidote for the decidedly un-serious era of hair metal.

There is a downside to this cycle. It can sometimes turn into a simple replacement of one bad trend for another.

Sure, Paris Hilton’s star passed into eclipse, but she was replaced by numerous contenders. The Kardashians won that war. Though I sense the world is almost over that particular celebrity clan, I worry that the next iteration of that trend is out there already. Probably on Instagram.

The hard part isn’t waiting out the annoying. It’s holding on to the trends that we actually enjoy. They’ll go too.

• Read Bob Groeneveld’s Odd Thoughts column at

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