January 15, 2013


Girls' Christopher Owens: 'Communist Dictator Mao Zedong Was a Hipster'

Getty Images, 2
Getty Images, 2

Christopher Owens, the former frontman of San Francisco rockers Girls, is a total bookworm. He's a self-admitted Harry Potter super-fan, but his interests don't stop there. In a recent interview with PureVolume Owens discussed one of his latest reads, a book on communist dictator Mao Zedong, who Owens called a hipster. 

"I was just kind of surprised how interesting [Mao] was when he was younger. I liked him all of a sudden," said Owens, who scores very high on the hip-o-meter himself. "He really is just a bit of a hipster." 

Owens added, "[Mao] just wanted to hang around with other guys who were smart. There was a lot of revolution going on around him, so it wasn’t exactly a novel concept. He was just being edgy and smart and informed. He was pretty much an idealistic freedom fighter. Before that, he was just a student. In my mind I figured he was somebody I would want to hang around with when he was a teenager. He didn’t do anything evil until he was much older. He got a little crazy."

Like hipsters, Mao has been criticized and bashed for his lifestyle, which included violent suppression and the executions and starvation of millions. But, hey, he built the groundwork for China's industrial explosion, progressing it from an impoverished farm nation to an industrial power. Also, Mao also likely rode a fixed gear bike (because didn't everybody back then...?)

So what's Owens reading next? "I have the most giant stack of books that never gets smaller because books keep getting added. There's a lot of soccer books. There's a lot of bios on coaches and players I like. I have, over my life, been reading through Gore Vidal's books in chronological order. I have a big biography on Hirohito—but that one I might put off for a while."

Owens should start a book club. Seriously, we'd join.