The Very Last Thing You’ll Ever Need to Read About Hipsters

Josh Becker reacts to Douglas Haddow's polemic on hipsters: "Condemning hipsters and their lifestyle choices is just as big an oversimplification...as, say, wearing a symbol of Palestinian solidarity as a fashion accessory."

Although we've posted dozens of articles on economics, politics and ecology in the past year, the piece that has garnered the most attention is all about hipsters. Here's another take from Josh Becker at nyulocal.com.

This Adbusters article from July, which signifies hipsters as “the dead end of Western civilization,” apparently still resonates with the Youth of Today, because college kids keep writing about it. Like this Smith College student who entitled her piece “Pop Rocks and Coke,” which is either an allusion to the explosive fashions at Urban Outfitters or, you know, a reference to cocaine. Because that’s what hipsters do! Cocaine and fashion.

I’m not picking on the author, and I agree that it’s time for all of us to officially retire the keffiyeh (except for Justin Timberlake, who inexplicably pulls it off really well). What I am arguing is that condemning “hipsters” and their lifestyle choices is just as big an oversimplification as, say, wearing a symbol of Palestinian solidarity as a fashion accessory.

Exactly what about American Apparel is “hipster” anymore? For that matter, when exactly did riding your bike or eating vegetarian food become as iconographic of “hipster subculture” as PBR and these guys? I went to Misshapes (more than a couple times), but I don’t ride a bike or drink PBR especially. Do I still count? Ms. Smith Student says that “trends cycle through hipsterdom like wildfire on acid,” which actually doesn’t make much sense, but I think I see her point. And I’d like to take it one step further – there are so many facets to “the modern hipster” that there is no such thing as hipster anymore.

Seriously. Maybe at one point, only a select few could pull off the American Apparel hoodie, but at this point its become so ubiquitous that it doesn’t mean anything at all. Sorry Dov Charney, but your brand lost its “hipness” around the same time you could fake your own Polaroid online. Which isn’t a bad thing!

But I think, with artists like M.I.A. and the widespread resurgence of the Converse sneaker show, that “hipsterdom” is no longer a subculture. It’s a style. And confusing the two undercuts whatever otherwise acute insight you may have into the matter. Nobody can seem to define what a “hipster” is anymore besides what s/he typically wears – but when everyone is wearing that same pair of leggings from Urban Outfitters, it’s safe to say the style has gone past that of a mere subculture.

Even our friend from Smith College doesn’t quite know what a true hipster is. “To clarify, when I say hipster, I don’t necessarily mean the 70 percent or so of Smith students who have an affinity for the aforementioned look. I too sport American Apparel. I mean people who truly subscribe to the subculture as a full-on lifestyle,” she says, which is the only time in the article she attempts to define “the subculture” any further. But the author doesn’t explain what that “full-on lifestyle” entails, and I’d challenge anyone to offer an adequate explanation that doesn’t involve reciting the Hipster Bingo board.

What I’m saying is that, yes, I do think we have witnessed the death of hipster subculture. Its oft-derided superficiality has, like most trends, crossed over into the mainstream. There’s nothing left to brandish, either fashionably or ironically. The clothing is the same, but there’s nothing uniquely “hip” about American Apparel anymore. To wit: the company is now in the news for exchanging lawsuits instead of style tips.

Or am I still a dirty hipster because I like The Knife?

Originally posted at Jess and Josh Talk About Stuff

Adbusters 111 Cover

On Newsstands December 3

At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.

Subscribe to Adbusters Magazine

68 comments on the article “The Very Last Thing You’ll Ever Need to Read About Hipsters”

Displaying 21 - 30 of 68

Page 3 of 7

Anonymous

hipsters....hip and trendy.....with it....on the forefront of popular culture and trends.....but transient...not fundamental, asserting that the ethos or ideas behind the trend are superficial.....arent we just getting stuck on a trend and confusing its uptake with the people that set trends becuase it happens to subscribe to 'faux-anarchy'? No one ever said that a hipster was unpalatable or anarchic - they're the 'first takers' and 'leaders' in marketing terms who introduce a change in the current trend. Therefore they set the trend, it is taken up...and discarded for another. seems like we've just bought into coolness of one particular trend...in this case...its cool to be hip...haha.

Anonymous

hipsters....hip and trendy.....with it....on the forefront of popular culture and trends.....but transient...not fundamental, asserting that the ethos or ideas behind the trend are superficial.....arent we just getting stuck on a trend and confusing its uptake with the people that set trends becuase it happens to subscribe to 'faux-anarchy'? No one ever said that a hipster was unpalatable or anarchic - they're the 'first takers' and 'leaders' in marketing terms who introduce a change in the current trend. Therefore they set the trend, it is taken up...and discarded for another. seems like we've just bought into coolness of one particular trend...in this case...its cool to be hip...haha.

M

Suggestion: Let's redirect some of this useless arguing towards doing something productive. Yes, "Hipsters" piss me off, but so does every other sub-culture in this society. If you need a label to validate your existence I hope your pathetic life improves. Stop whining and do something with your life.

M

Suggestion: Let's redirect some of this useless arguing towards doing something productive. Yes, "Hipsters" piss me off, but so does every other sub-culture in this society. If you need a label to validate your existence I hope your pathetic life improves. Stop whining and do something with your life.

2 articels abou...

agree.o I just thought I would let everyone know.new york Connecticut and Massachusetts.had a big ice/snow storm.and you can't go 200 feet without seeing a limb or tree down.there pretty much everywhere.so if you care about the environment maybe you should plant 4 tree's to make up for it.I'm going to but I also all ready did.bitches.apple tree at mall.dirt back pack.

2 articels abou...

agree.o I just thought I would let everyone know.new york Connecticut and Massachusetts.had a big ice/snow storm.and you can't go 200 feet without seeing a limb or tree down.there pretty much everywhere.so if you care about the environment maybe you should plant 4 tree's to make up for it.I'm going to but I also all ready did.bitches.apple tree at mall.dirt back pack.

striped leaf's....

I posted that below and I type what someone would type into google. and I get an aol article with a poll.It reads do you get snow where you live?60% say yes.do you like winter.44% say yes.I could not belive my eyes.I thought maybe I woke up in the twlight zone maybe they should of said do you like polar bears and seals and artic fox's and penguins and narwhals.and not baking in 100 degree heat.or do you like or hate black people?or ski resorts who make a living on winter.do you like winter?what the #@$# .if you don't move somewhere else .and don't tell me you don't have any money to hitler.

striped leaf's....

I posted that below and I type what someone would type into google. and I get an aol article with a poll.It reads do you get snow where you live?60% say yes.do you like winter.44% say yes.I could not belive my eyes.I thought maybe I woke up in the twlight zone maybe they should of said do you like polar bears and seals and artic fox's and penguins and narwhals.and not baking in 100 degree heat.or do you like or hate black people?or ski resorts who make a living on winter.do you like winter?what the #@$# .if you don't move somewhere else .and don't tell me you don't have any money to hitler.

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.