For his thirtieth birthday, Hal Niedzviecki received what his parents thought was the perfect card for their rebellious son. On the front it depicted a crowd scene-dour grey men in suits, hats, and overcoats. Inside it said: "Happy Birthday to a non-conformist."Niedzviecki had a moment of crisis. "If I'm a rebel sanctioned by society, encouraged by my parents, and cheered on by Hallmark, what is left to rebel against?"
In Hello, I'm Special, the guru of indie culture offers up a barrage of facts, observations, and arguments that point to the extinction of the non-conformist and the rise of individuality as the new conformity. In chronicling his singular encounters as an editor and pop culture explorer, his meditations touch on everything from religion to karaoke, from declining birth rates to Celebrity Worship Syndrome, from Mississauga's famed Backyard Wrestling Federation to Friday night Sabbath in Atlanta, Georgia. He unearths the amateur underground-zines, People Cards, the Trampoline Hall Speakers' Series-and shines a spotlight on the self-help industry, Canadian Idol, Hollywood, and mainstream media. The result is a smart, witty, and impassioned argument that shatters the you-can-do-anything pop myth and exposes the paradox of individuality.
About the author
Hal Niedzviecki is a writer, speaker, culture commentator and editor whose work challenges preconceptions and confronts readers with the offenses of everyday life. He is the author of eleven books of fiction and nonfiction, including Trees on Mars: Our Obsession with the Future (2015), and the publisher/founder of Broken Pencil, a magazine of zine culture and the independent arts. Hal's writing has appeared in newspapers and journals across the world including The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Utne Reader, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, and Geist. Hal lives and works in Toronto.