Hipsters couldn't incite more blind hatred if they were all ginger-haired Al-Qaeda members. But why? Could it be their taste in music? Fashion sense? Attitude of superiority? Perhaps. Or perhaps it's their stupid, ugly faces. We may never know.
Just The Facts
- The term arose in the 40's to describe middle class whites acting like black musicians, now referred to as "nerdcore".
- The hipster rebels against social norms by paying way more attention to them than anyone else.
- Every aspect of hipster culture amounts to little more than a elaborate pissing contest.
- They were, like, totally better before they went mainstream and sold out. I saw them with like 10 other people.
A Brief History of Smug
"Hipster" is another one of those subcultures that is hard to nail down. It can refer to any number of bands, people or situations. But just like emos have bitchiness and goths have acne scarring, hipsters can generally be identified by their completely unwarranted arrogance.
"You just don't appreciate the genius of Spoon like I do."
While most well adjusted members of society view music as an enjoyable addendum to life, perhaps a distraction or even a hobby, hipsters know that music is serious business. Having been picked on since a very young age by those who found their talents lay in athletics, theythey decided the ideal place to exercise influence was in the fields of listening to stuff and putting on clothes. Most people who aren't hipsters recognize these areas as naturally subjective, and generally not worth giving much of a shit about, which allows hipsters to win the argument for the simple reason that they're the only ones who care enough to notice that it's going on.
Judging a Book by (What Pitchfork Says About) Its Cover
If asked to define what it is to be a hipster, one might be tempted to give a number of answers. Passion for obscure bands, obtuse fashion sense, cheapness masquerading as quirkiness or upper-middle-class white self loathing are all popular. In actuality, most of the culture boils down to judging. Judging items, activities, bands, companies, clothes, oneself and most importantly other people. If someone else is less savvy, cutting edge or knowledgeable than you, doesn't that mean you are a better person?
This would mean I lose if I wasn't listening to it to be ironic.
Hipsters must therefore strive at all times to stay a step ahead of everyone else. Worshiping the most obscure bands available and then dismissing them after they come out with their first LP is a good start. Successfully using the phrase "I was into them before..." is rumored to actually make a hipster's penis larger.
Hipsters also attempt to stay on the cusp of their perverted version of fashion. Are black framed glasses out? Try 60's horn-rims. Does your friend have his lip pierced? Try cutting yours off. This isn't about beauty or even basic hygiene. This is about looking like you traveled back from the not too distant future. A future populated by douchebags.
Next year I'll be appointed Secretary of Bad Decisions!
You may be wondering: isn't all this ridiculous scrambling to attach oneself to the next big thing exhausting? Doesn't it reflect a deep personal flaw that people would choose to relentlessly consume rather than attempt to create? Isn't this a sad comment on the state of society that people would glorify this type of inane behavior? Well, that's exactly what I'd expect someone who didn't buy the In Rainbows boxset to say, asshole! Maybe you'd prefer Coldplay?
Irony and the Rule of the Fonz
Not caring is an incredibly cool thing to do. People that are cool ignore the conventions of mainstream society. They're rebels. When you think of a cool guy who doesn't care, you're probably thinking of someone like this:
"Gonna cruise to makeout point and digitally pleasure you mother with these guys."
You were probably not thinking of a guy in wearing $200 jeans and a wool cap in July. There is a reason for this.
As much as hipster's love irony (see the next section for more things hipsters love), they have a pretty poor grasp of the concept. Not caring is cool because the individual ignores the rules to get something, usually laid. Hipsters of course can't risk looking like they want something. As the July 2009 issue of Time magazine said on hipsters:
"Everything about them is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don't care."*
Hipsters ignore rules because they think it will make them look like they don't care. There is no end result, just a continuous cycle of mediocre indie rock and scruffy looking dudes. By basing their actions on avoiding the mainstream, they are in fact guided by the mainstream.
Assuming you're not hitting the pipe too hard, you now understand the worst thing about hipsters: they don't realize that they're a big joke.
You Might Be A Hipster...
As previously mentioned, there is no concrete definition of a hipster. Attempting to do so can be an exercise in frustration.For the sake of posterity, a brief encapsulation of their preferences follows:
- Indie music (obviously)
- Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life
- Expensive Vintage footware
- Movies you wouldn't have seen
- Ironic shirt or trucker hat
- Clove cigarettes
- Digital camera
- Totally Retro Mustaches
- Liberal arts degree
- Culture substituting textbook tattoos, i.e. anchors, stars, birds, etc
- Anything Ironically Lower Class
- Photos from high school punk phase
- Sense of perspective