Why Hipsters, Witches and Goblins Don’t Exist

23 Aug

When was the last time you had a girl put a curse on you that worked? Or when did you last hear a screech in the woods and turned around to find that it was not a peacock but, in fact, a banshee? Have you ever been chased across the cemetery yards by a goblin?

Have you met one single person this year, in 2012, whom when you asked what they were doing with their lives, said, ‘Oh, I’m a hipster.’ One simply doesn’t hear this, at least not without irony. Why? Because, like witches, banshees and goblins, hipsters don’t exist.

Now, I know many will want to say, ‘Oh, but on the contrary. I see hipsters everywhere.’ But—I regret to have to make this potentially clumsy correlation—in the McCarthy era, people saw communists everywhere too. What you are seeing is not a member of a definable, objective counter culture. What you are seeing is a boy with a striped shirt. A girl with large glasses. A fellow in a fedora. But sadly, these are not the signifiers of what it means to be (allegedly) a ‘hipster.’ They are only the symptoms, and yet, not very useful symptoms, for they’re so broad and far reaching that anyone who happens to deviate from a polo-shirt and jeans might fit the part to your standard. But what causes these symptoms—or rather, what do we strongly associate with these trite generalizations? Pretention, the-will-to-have-done-it-first, music you don’t happen to yourself like, books you’ve never heard of, the excesses you don’t happen to favor.

I must make my main point here: It is my suspicion that a ‘hipster,’ in the broad sense of the word today, is merely an annoying person who doesn’t share any of your tastes.

You might say, ‘Why would you defend people like that?’ Well, I don’t feel the need to defend them just as I don’t feel the need to defend evil hexes, unicorns or dragons. I simply wish to warn people that they mustn’t feel so threatened by dragons that don’t actually roam the woods.

Now, none of us like things that are annoying and pretentious, but I hardly think it fair that a guy in a club should be ostracized by a plain-clothes person because he happens to wear a bowler hat or because he happens to be reading a biography about Che Guevara while wearing loud colors just because someone who happened to annoy the plain-clothes person carried a similar book and wore a similar shirt on their seldom visit to a non-Starbucks coffee shop.

You may say to me, ‘Sounds like the words of someone who’s angry about being called a hipster at some recent point.’ On the contrary! This blogger has not been accused. There are a series of sayings that broaden the terms of hipsterism beyond its metaphysical range. Surely you’ve heard them: ‘No one hates hipsters more than hipsters,’ which would cancel out the one who accuses you of being one with no real problem. My personal favorite, ‘If you know what a hipster is, you’re probably a hipster,’—as if their mere mention is some kind of self-reflective threat that could turn back in on you unless you’re one step ahead (in hipster fashion) by knowing that mentioning them makes you one of them: an attitude that is so reminiscent of the ‘hipster mentality’ that it would, in a technical way, still make you a hipster.

All over the world, there are douche-bags. You might meet them in the street or on the bus, or you might work with them. ‘Hello, my name is David and I am a douche-bag.’ You don’t hear this either. But the difference between a douche-bag and a hipster: we don’t identify a douche-bag as having any kind of identifiable subculture. But yet the one important thing they both have in common is that nobody would identify themselves as either. If no one is willing to admit that they belong to a certain group, one then has to wonder if the title is a very useful way of categorizing people.

As I said before, there were once real hipsters, which probably means little beyond the fact that the real hipsters considered themselves such. The movement started in the 1940’s and is linked symbiotically to jazz, which cannot be so readily said of ‘hipster’ sensibilities today. The original term ‘hipster’ replaced ‘hepcat,’ for some odd reason—I’m not sure if there was a bebop council that voted on it or not.

This is not to say that they were necessarily better for being the originals. Depending on your taste, you might have found them just as annoying and just as pretentious. The movement was described as white middle-class kids trying to be black—which probably says less about the movement and more about insecurity to do with cultural integration among the generation before. But if they are correct in any way, it could then be said, in regard to the history of hipsters, that white folks have failed our African American friends once again by being second hand racist toward these other white folks who wanted to do what one African American subculture were doing.

Now, I must eat some of my words for a moment. Maybe some of you know people that refer to themselves as hipsters without irony. However, I suspect, that if you gathered all of these people together in one room, they would (similar to the Punks) try to out-hipster each other, which would ultimately trace their contradistinction to one another, thus making them nothing like a real culture of any kind once again—which proves my point.

The automobile has provided us with an easier way to move from place to place. The television provided us with hours of easy entertainment. The internet provided us with an easier access to knowledge and Facebook provided us with an easier means to keep in contact with old friends. But there’s a dark side to easier. Dismissing certain attitudes, fashions and tastes as that of a ‘hipster’ is an easy way for us to cope with our own embarrassment over the cultural fashion follies, philosophy follies and awkward tastes of yesteryear. Anything can be dismissed as outdated, but the great thing about hipster-phobia is that you can dismiss anything that is considered ‘freshly retro,’ or new, or more unknown, as something that a culturally unattractive person would admire. And this will to stay ahead of the hipsters is, by its current definitional nature concerning hipsterism, a hipster attitude which would make anti-hipsters the biggest hipsters of all.

Once again, I’m not defending hipsters because I have shown that they don’t actually exist. If they did exist in the form that people claim they do, perhaps I would be talking about how much I dislike them the way people want to. But I’ll say this, even if they do exist, are they that big of a cultural threat that we have to keep hearing about them everywhere we go?

More importantly, before you decide that someone is objectionable, perhaps you should actually speak to them. If they’re a threat, then you can deal with it.

Read more at http://emergenthermit.com/

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102 Responses to “Why Hipsters, Witches and Goblins Don’t Exist”

  1. 1 Story A Week August 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    “The greatest trick the hipsters ever pulled was making people believe they didn’t exist.” -The Wicked Witch of the West

    • Shane August 26, 2012 at 12:27 am #

      Ha ha. I almost wanted to use that quote somewhere but actually realized it would contradict my point.

    • Frank Garcia September 5, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

      Touche!

    • Jennie Upside Down September 6, 2012 at 12:45 am #

      Brilliant.

    • Sarah September 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      Huzzah!

  2. projectfelicity September 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Love this post! My sentiments, exactly. 🙂

  3. rami ungar the writer September 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    I don’t know about hipsters, but I know hippies are alive and well; one provided over my cousin’s bat mitzvah.

  4. The Smile Scavenger September 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Thank you. I’m embarrassed to say that I have been trying to understand what makes someone a hipster for a while… everyone seems to define it differently. I even did a Google image search and came up with dozens of different portrayals of people. I did see a lot of thick-rimmed glasses. They’re not for me (wrong head shape), but who cares?

  5. lexiesnana September 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Good food for thought.

  6. susiemorrow September 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    Humph, my 27 year old daughter accused me of being a hipster the other day. I was mortified, hepcat, yes, hipster, em no, I don’t think so and er…hum, I have also been, in my time, a punk, new romantic, anarchist punk (don’t ask, sub, sub culture) mod, skinhead and a heavy metal chick (I like to experiment). Thankfully I am now past all of that and can confirm that, having experimented with above said sub cultures, hipster most defiantly is a figment of a hipster’s imagination (and my daughter’s)

  7. derekberry September 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    This is pretty much brilliant. I live in a city (Charleston) rich in “sub-culture,” but it has become so much the norm, people have given up accusing each other of living it out.

  8. HipsterApproved.net September 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Great post! Have you seen this? –>

    Check out my site ( http://hipsterapproved.wordpress.com/ ) as well…I have a million of them.

  9. kthorpe September 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    What about people who think hipsters do exist… and think they’re kind of cool?

  10. S.C. September 5, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    The people I’ve seen described as hipsters (some of whom I went to college with, stupid-looking tight striped shirts and lens-less glasses and all, making sure people knew how well-read they were) just struck me as kind of insincere and self-conscious. I think “poseur” is a better word for people like that, no matter what trend or anti-trend they’re trying to follow. Then again, I shouldn’t talk, because I was a real self-important prick my first couple years of college, just without the bad clothes.

  11. fireandair September 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Meh … not so sure. I think a “hipster” doesn’t exist the same way that a Star Trek fan will walk into a convention, look around, and go, “Wow, what a bunch of nerds.” Just like a nerdy Trek fan is what everyone ELSE, is a “hipster” is also what describes that other person dressed exactly the same way I am and who’s listening to the same music I listen to.

  12. justanotherinsomniac September 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    This is very amusing. I’ve been called a hipster, and I say “yes im a hipster” and then they stopped.

  13. Gillian @ Money After Graduation September 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    I’d have to agree. I only hear people speak of hipsters in a negative way, about people that they share nothing in common with. Great choice of pics.

  14. chaoticscribbles September 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    FINALLY, someone gets it! Never met a hipster – self proclaimed or not. Great read! 😀

  15. strangerouss September 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    Reblogged this on strangerouss.

  16. urbannight September 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    I’m not sure I agree. Based on your analysis of it being a symptom of something else, that can apply to ALL subcultures and therefore no subculture exists. They are all sypmtoms of some kind of discontent with the status quo. And I’m not sure I think that it is true. I think that discontent with the status quo leads like minded people to develop into thier own groupsing and, therefore, all subcultures are linked to an alternative viewpoint, but no that it means they do not exist.

  17. kevin meyers photography September 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    I wrote this article before you did. In my mind at least. And whatever music you listen to, if it’s good, I heard it first. And striped shirts are SO last week.

    😉

  18. lizardesque September 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Hmmm. This seems like something a hipster might write. 😛

    I have struggled with this topic myself.
    http://lizardesque.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/the-hipster-conundrum/

  19. pezcita September 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Good point! “Hipster” is one of those words that’s bantered around way too much, so much that it’s difficult to tell if there are any hipsters left. For my own part, I prefer the term “beatnik” for a rouge classification, and that’s not a perfect fit either.

  20. Mary September 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    This is fantastic! My sister and I have both accused each other of being hipsters…until we finally admitted that we weren’t even sure what a hipster actually was. This clears things up a bit.

  21. heyinfinity September 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    I was just thinking about this the other day. What even makes someone a hipster? Their clothing? If so, what if they just leave the plaid shirt at home one day? Does their hipsterness cease? Or, does their social outlook make them a hipster? Really, I don’t think they exist anymore. Maybe there were hipsters recently when, er, hipsters first “came out”, but now, I think that way-of-being has sort of just assimilated into every day life. More and more people are thinking and dressing differently – maybe we’re all hipsters. Oh, the horror?

  22. NobleHipsterSlayerOfDeath September 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    It’s really funny how hipsters go “but where are all the hipsters?!” and “do hipsters really exist?” all the time.

  23. zachbissett September 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    This is exactly what a hipster would want me to think.

  24. di @ life of di. September 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    I love this post. Thank you for writing it – got a kick out of it. It was also really well written 🙂

  25. madhaus7 September 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    This was an interesting post. I’ve done a lot of research on this hipster phenomenon and the funny thing is there’s no clear way to distinguish the movement other than by possessions and brand materials; i.e. all hipsters use Macbooks, drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, wear American Apparel and thick framed eyeglasses, and own flannel shirts along with those knit hats all year round. These are really the only indicators of the hipster culture other than the usually stereotypical attitudes they have toward anything mainstream or liking of anything on the fringe.

    Those habits are in fact annoying for good reason, as they’ve always been annoying. There’s an air of smugness. I read an article saying that “in order for cool to be reborn the hipster must die” and it outlined how the hipster subculture is the very opposite of what a subculture should be. It’s just kids buying into brands, the article said. However, I agree that you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would label themselves a “hipster” even if they encompass all of the above traits.

    So your article makes a good point as to whether this culture even exists. I believe it does to a sense but it’s not really a culture, it’s like a fad. It’ll die out in a couple of years. Also, I have to voice similar distaste as you in hearing people say “hipster” several times a day. It’s annoying. Get over it. All in all, being from Philadelphia, your article makes me want to travel down to our resident hipster area of Northern Liberties and do some research, like a National Geographic safari hunter, and see if I can get documented evidence of real life hipsters in their natural habitat. 😉 Cool post!

  26. Frank September 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I think the term hipster is meant to describe those with a nostalgia driven fashion sense.

    sometimes, not always, I could be identified as a hipster.

    Most hipsters are artistic in some way. The youthful artistic community uses this fashion sense as a sort of uniform or sign of membership.

    a fascination with the past could maybe find it’s roots (extreme speculation) in the current extremely interconnectedness of society now to past societies through the internet.

    The pervasiveness and ubiquity of archived history cannot be ignored by those searching for inspiration.

  27. the circular runner September 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    you know, i like this. i’m not sure i think much about hipsters–and if they existed, being in San Fran i live in their fiefdom, let me tell you. i will say that you write very thoughtfully. it reminds me of a recent conversation i had with a colleague who said she hated when people spoke about “white people” this or “white people” that. I told her that I agreed that we shouldn’t generalize, just as I agree with you here about hipsters. the word gets thrown around a lot when what is meant is, you annoy the bejeezus out of me.

    But on the other side of the coin, there is something that people are pointing to: whether that be white people tend to like Bon Iver more than Latinos or that certain people are hipsterish if not hipsters. Some might say that Bon Iver is white-people music. That, strictly speaking, is false. Music is music. But they are pointing something out that is based in fact, something they notice, wouldn’t you say?

    So, couldn’t you also say that hipsters or something hipsterish does exist in society? Maybe it’s laziness to use that term and a better term needs to be found, but then it’s a matter of language not fact. Maybe what bothers you most is lazy generalizing.

    In any case, i enjoyed your writing a good bit. thanks!!

  28. landstand3r September 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    I totally get where you are coming from but I think that while there is no real, single definition for hipsters, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It just makes the stereotype a chaotic mess. I always think that it hipster means some one who likes thing only because no one knows about them, but other people just think it has to do with how you dress. Both can be hipsters in a different context. I love the analogy you made to punk though, because they both have this confusion of definitions where one is superficial and another more intellectual.

    • SuperDude526 September 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

      I agree with this. Think about the emo subculture that was all the talk of the town back in the 00’s. Some were emo because of how they dressed, some for the music they wore, and some simply because they were teens with emotional issues that they wore on their sleeves – sometimes literally.

      And this brings up another interesting issue: no one liked to be called emo. People who clearly conformed to the stereotype would also vehemently deny it. Hipster denial is certainly among us; no one wants to admit belonging to a group that is widely reviled.

      • landstand3r September 7, 2012 at 5:24 am #

        Emo is a whole other can of worms that I’ve been considering writing about myself. I think that they never existed because I usually got the idea the culture was based around self-mutilation. But a couple years later it seemed like everyone who had been called emo became ‘scene’, which is apparently looking emo but not cutting. So the emotion defining emo might have never been there to begin with.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns September 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

      I agree. I see the situation of punks accusing one another of being posers quite similar to hipsters denying that they themselves are hipsters, as the very nature of the culture is to defy labels.

  29. littlecitybot September 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    aha! true but ALSO in response to the first part about no one ever saying they’re a hipster…i thought the point of being a hipster was that you were too hip to admit you’re a hipster.

    maybe i don’t know anything.

  30. odiousghost September 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    Hipsters get a hard time, but actually, these days I, feel bad for them..

  31. aparnauteur September 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    I guess I can understand why hipsters (the original ones) had a certain pull—they were non-conformists, and I think we are naturally drawn towards such people. Meanwhile, the pseudo-hipsters of today offer nothing new, and end up looking like pretentious douche-bags!
    Nice write-up! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  32. PocketRocketPolitics September 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    very interesting,entertaining read. my only point of contention would be that most authoritarian dictators don’t call themselves as such. neither do pedophiles. I’d wager a guess that most people who work at Subway don’t call themselves “sandwich artists”. sometimes labels have to be used because it’s a necessary shortcut and it’s the way peoples’ brains function. Most teachers would tell you their students aren’t going to remember exactly how Mussolini dealt with subversives and his strategy for entering WWII, but they’ll probably remember he was a “fascist” and hold onto a general idea of what that means. This is of course abused, especially when we look at how words like liberal and conservative have been demonized by their ideological rivals. But I think generalizing a hipster as someone with the an alternative taste in music,politics,spirituality,and lifestyle isn’t such a bad thing. But like you pointed out, it’s often used in a negative context. Denying the existence of the overarching subculture, though, just gives new hipsters license to overly promote their “alternativity” in pursuit of “being one first” all over again. I really enjoyed this though, and rest assured the message was not lost on me.

    • positivelybeaming September 7, 2012 at 12:14 am #

      Interesting take on “labels” in general. Thought provoking, really.

    • Shane September 7, 2012 at 12:53 am #

      I agree with you about labeling as far as “authoritarian dictators” and “pedophiles” go. I guess my main point was that it seems fruitless to label someone something negative if that person being described doesn’t pose much of a threat in any way. The examples you mentioned do. I suppose my strong claim about the “non-existence” of hipsters was, perhaps, a sort of indirect way of saying that if one didn’t engage with them in the negative way our current culture seems to want us to, they would seize to give one any real trouble or thought, which would equal something like nonexistence, at least on a personal level. And your comment has really got me thinking now . . . I suppose with the examples you mentioned, the behavior of those subjects seem to generate the label more than in other cases, where the label simplifies a few negative attributes that stop short of intuition and embrace easy answers (which is how i view racial slurs and things like that). This is a very interesting train of thought you’ve got me on now! Thanks.

  33. celastrina September 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Love this – my class recently had to present on this topic, and who/what actually informs our tastes particularly in music, it actually got some good debate going!

  34. ocnlvr83 September 6, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    My sister uses dressing like a hipster as an excuse for her being cool. What she hasn’t realized is that saying stuff like that doesn’t make her cool, it makes her sound stupid. And I love the photo of the Wicked Witch of the West.

    • Shane September 6, 2012 at 2:45 am #

      Thank you. I tried to get a good one of her melting but, strangely, couldn’t find one.

  35. klyse3 September 6, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    Highly fascinating point. I enjoyed the reasoning and find no flaw with your premise….although I admit to being confused at points by the intense shenanigans that would make one hipster or not.

    • Shane September 7, 2012 at 12:57 am #

      Exactly! None of us are safe from being accused of hipsterism by hipsterphobes, but luckily, since they [hipsters] don’t exist, I don’t have to worry about doing something that would make me one. Ha.

  36. Jason Wendleton September 6, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    How did you do this?

  37. theeyeoffaith September 6, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    Oh gosh! Fantastic post. u’ve lured us in!

    The Eye of Faith
    http://theeyeoffaith.com

  38. Tom September 6, 2012 at 2:47 am #

    Hah! I second the douche-bag comment. If I see one more “priviledged” person wearing army pants and plastic glasses they got from a thrift store I will jump off the proverbial building…or worse I’ll really piss them off and vote for Romney….(Hell, I’m doing it anyway 🙂 )

    • Shane September 6, 2012 at 2:52 am #

      I love it 🙂

  39. theyellowranger September 6, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    In the show Community ‘hipsters’ are a handful of malicious old people who have had hip replacements. As a nursing assistant who worked in a retirement home I can testify that those really do exist.

  40. dimples101 September 6, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    haha i love this!!!!!

  41. joshbakerwriter September 6, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    A label is simply a reference point, not a be-all, end-all definition. As someone who spent a lot of time in a music subculture years ago, there were plenty of people who were hipper than me, but nobody identified themselves as a hipster. Sometimes I found their obvious thrifts store chic annoying, mostly because I knew I couldn’t pull it off as well as they did. They were mostly great people, and to denigrate them without knowing them would simply be prejudicial.

  42. craft fear September 6, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    My husband has been wearing flannel and playing the mandolin since he was ten and you should see how mad he gets when I tell him he’s the original hipster. He insists he’s just a lumberjack.

    http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=228

  43. scrummyduffer September 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    I loved this entry. It made me giggle, though, because in doing research for my Masters thesis I have discovered that there are people living in America who ACTUALLY believe that a.) magic is real, b.) it is a tool of the devil and c.) is a very real threat to their way of life. They are called fundamental Christians, and sadly, they DO exist 😦 Not sure what their stance on hipsters is, though.

  44. Katherine September 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    The term “hipster” has bothered me for a while now. Its like “emo” used to be… A super trendy term to describe a group of identical people without originality claiming to be unique.

    Back in “the day”, hipsters were ostracized. They were different. Not anymore.

  45. keaganfederici September 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    They’re out there. You best believe they’re out there.

  46. Eagerbrad September 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Nice article! It’s funny that being hipster is supposed to be being different from everyone, but by being hipster one is actually joining a crowd of wannabe hipsters.

  47. There for a reason's Rachel September 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    All I can really say is that I laughed out loud at this post! Particularly enjoyed the douche-bags!

  48. Lesley September 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Ha! I agree with you completely. As far as I can figure it out, the actual working definition of “hipster” as it is used seems to be “someone who is more concerned with being fashionable than I deem appropriate”, or just “someone I don’t like because I think they think they’re cooler than me”.

  49. Penny Lane September 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    Genius. I was rereading “On the Road” the other day and he mentions hipsters. Funny that it’s become a subculture today (even thought they don’t exist). When I was in school we had preps, posers and wavers (whatever the hell that is). Love this post.

  50. marcy September 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    I think hipsters do exist. But hipsters are a very small subculture and a lot of what used to be hipster-exculsive is now mainstream. Striped shirts, fedoras, skinny jeans, “indie”-music…all formerly part of a tiny subculture. Think only four years ago where the guy wearing those butt tight jeans was a freakin’ freak. Now all of that is mainstream, but occasionally, occasionally, you meet a hipster.

  51. MegansBeadedDesigns September 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Now that Hipster is a trend, isn’t it no longer hipster to be hipster? Thus, the reason for hipsters to deny their label of being hipster.

    As soon as too much negativity is associated with a label, it’s only natural that the original members of that class deny it.

    Just look at how many liberals and conservatives claim to be “moderate independents” just to stay on the safe side.

    • Shane September 7, 2012 at 1:03 am #

      Oh wow, you just blew my mind . . . So, if it’s no longer hipster to be hipster, then everyone who’s none-hipster is an ACTUAL hipster, but the only people that would be able to notice this are the anti-hipsters, who would also never claim to be hipsters, but who would have to look diferent than the non-hipsters, (in other words, these accusers would have to be hipsters because that’s the only identifiable distinction ‘outside’ of the NEW version of hipster that would have a right to comment). We’ve basically just landed ourselves in a position where two distinct groups are calling each other hipsters on different grounds. A paradox!

      • bigboulderdave September 7, 2012 at 4:13 am #

        Furthermore, if you observe the position of a hipster, you can’t also observe the velocity of a hipster… So if we know where they are, we can’t tell where they’re going to be. But if we want to know when they’ll get there, we don’t know where they are!! Damn Heisenberg, you hipster!

  52. captainsdaughter September 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    C’mon up to Portland OR. We have them in spades. Truly tho they are not as horrid as the stereo type implies. I cannot out right attack the hipster subculture here because whatever else they are, they are readers, writers and artists. At least they are not reveling in ignorance as a badge of honor.

    • Shane September 7, 2012 at 12:03 am #

      I’m from that area, originally. I love it up there.

  53. daniel September 6, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Holla! So true

  54. twomugsoftea September 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    I agree! They don’t exist, precisely because to be a hipster is to be a non-comfortist, but to purposefully be a non-comformist is another type of conformity–a funny sort of irony.
    I think so much of it just comes down to authenticity. If you are who you are, and that’s unique, interesting type of person, then it won’t matter if people think you are “hipster.” It’s only annoying when folks try to be what they think is “hipster.”

  55. kitchenmudge September 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Well, actually….

    There were real witches, people who practiced pre-Christian superstitions, medicine, etc. They just didn’t do anything that the Christians said they did.

    There were real U.S. Communists too. (I know one or two, actually.) In the 1930s and 40s they were almost mainstream. They melted away pretty fast once the Cold War started, but people like McCarthy just tried to score political points beating an already-dead horse.

    But a “hipster” seems to be just someone whose tastes you don’t like. You got that part right.

    • Shane September 7, 2012 at 12:32 am #

      That’s precisely what a friend of mine said. She said, “There are real witches, you know,’ and I was just like, “Not ones with flying monkeys who melt in water.” Thanks for the insight. 🙂

  56. The Great Inquiry September 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    Reblogged this on the great inquiry.

  57. Pavini Moray September 7, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Ha! Here’s a link to a picture I took while wandering in the San Francisco Mission District, breeding grounds for hipsters like natal streams for salmon. http://emancipatingsexuality.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/calling-all-hipsters/

    • Shane September 7, 2012 at 1:07 am #

      I love it. It’s almost too simple for it’s own good. I’m not sure if that’s, like, a description of something a hipster did, if it’s TELLING them to repent, if it’s a place where hipsters can go to repent, or if it’s a categorization of repentence that only hipsters are capable of, and if you want to repent in that way, you’ll have to become one.

      • Pavini Moray September 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

        And then late last night, this came across my screen… thought you might enjoy. http://unhappyhipsters.com/

      • Shane September 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

        Those are some of the most depressing homes I have ever seen. Ha ha.

  58. bigboulderdave September 7, 2012 at 4:09 am #

    A hipster isn’t someone who has objectionable taste. A hipster is someone who seeks out the obscure and pretends to be an expert on it without the knowledge or maturity to actually respect it enough to BE an expert. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to have conversations about music with some dope who tells me that Neutral Milk Hotel has “superior chord progressions”, that Ben Gibbard is a “master of modern lyricists”, or that they “absolutely love Eric Clapton, but what is Cream?” Nothing against NMH or Deathcab, but those chord progressions and lyrics are nothing to write home about. Also, the FIRST THING a person should learn when they like Eric Clapton is what the heck Cream is! A true supergroup that infuses your soul with unmolested creativity like a morphine drip of the rock gods!

    Yeah. I’m not a fan of hipsters. I do realize that I occasionally dress like one and that others in the same garb can have well-grounded opinions because they’ve learned and thought critically about what it is they like. I know a guy who is an absolute movie snob. Talking to him about any film I like will ultimately end in him telling me why The Seven Samurai or La Jette is 10000 times better than Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but he spent ten years making, watching, reviewing, and writing about movies. He’s entitled to be a prick. A hipster is someone who has the same level of arrogance with absolutely nothing to back it up; they’re just into it because it’s “hip.”

  59. knipperdollin September 7, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    If a tree falls in a forest and nothing takes notice, was there really a tree to begin with?

  60. GamerDame September 7, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    The ironic part of any subculture is that people are trying to be non-conformist by conforming to another person’s idea of what non-conformity looks like. Therefore, goths (or emo or whatever the term is nowadays) pick up someone else’s rules for how to show rebellion against the norm & hipsters behave in already agreed upon standards of behavior. If there’s a label for it, you’re not being unique.

    But great article. I’m glad someone pointed out that just because a person happens to like things that are considered to define a group, it doesn’t make them part of said group. For instance, I love to wear trilbys/fedoras. I’m not doing to make a statement or anything like that. I just like them. I think they’re cool & I think I look good in them (in fact, they’re the only type of hat I think looks good on me). No one’s ever accused me of being a hipster, but if they did I probably wouldn’t care too much because I don’t call myself that.

  61. GP September 7, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Reblogged this on misentopop.

  62. thegreatgodpan1greatgodpan September 7, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    hipsters or the generational varients of hipster do exist….. ……every generation (or sub generation if you like) has them…..its got nothing to do with any particular clothes,sub culture,music etc…its a mindset as far as im concerned…. ….rebels to the prevailing mindset………arnt hipsters just the anti cool kids?… ..just look out the window if you wish to see them…..or could the cool kids of each generatiion be the hipsters?……im not sure
    as the term hipster is never used here where i live.

  63. heycrin September 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I enjoy. You’re right that it’s undefinable, although I do hate what my idea of a hipster is. But I occasionally (on the worst days ever, to my horror) have been called a hipster – I got called one yesterday because I’m going to the cinema later to see an independent film. I just thought it looked interesting. I don’t call that girl in my office a hipster just because she’s eating veggie food.

    Everyone needs to be directing their insults at the real hipsters who are essentially just people that show off about their ‘unique’ identity, when they’re actually not sure of what it is yet (like most people who enjoy being part of fads) and leave us normal people alone!

  64. NouveauSoileau September 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Bring back the hepcat!

  65. djShelf September 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    “Am I a hipster doofus?”
    Cosmo Kramer

    Love your well-written and entertaining analysis – thanks.

  66. Sarah September 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Although I enjoyed reading this — I still can’t get this bit out of my head:

    “whom when you asked what they were doing with their lives, said, ‘Oh, I’m a hipster.’ ”

    True! But, people don’t introduce themselves as Jerks, A$$holes, or Cheaters either 😉

  67. thespacebetween2 September 7, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    Very good intro. Check my blog out at:
    http://thespacebetween2.wordpress.com/

    • Shane September 8, 2012 at 3:23 am #

      Will do. Thank you.

  68. franckbu September 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Hello! My name is Franck and I’m a Hipster (or at least I think i am, or thought was, or will be…) I would have joined the conversation earlier, however I had to ditch this Troll that had been following me around. And as far as witches and banshees not existing, well I guess you never had the pleasure to meet my first boyfriend when he ran into another person wearing the same outfit he was.
    The problem with being a hipster, is that you have to be the first to come up with a totally non-mainstream fad. So as soon as you start to hear about it, well you can be a hipster anymore as what was once non-mainstream became just that. So in other words if you are a true Hipster, then you are involved in something which is unique and probably interesting, but as soon as the news comes out and others are getting involved in it well you just become one of “them”.
    I guess you could relate the hipster to the various philosophical constructs such as what is the sound of one hand clapping, and “if a tree falls in the forest and no is there to see it fall, does it make a sound?”

    • Shane September 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      Ha. Interesting thoughts. So hipsterism has a strange relationship with Being where the label “them” is negative but your own definition of “hipster” means something individualistic until it enters the mainstream . . . I love it. It’s refreshing that a self-described hipster has entered the dialogue! 🙂

    • Dan of the Westfield September 9, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      Well…maybe. But those are only philosophical in name only. A clap is the sound of two bodies making contact, so either one hand can’t clap, or you have loose enough tendons that it can and it bears a striking resemblance to the sound of one hand clapping. As for a tree falling, yes. The impact of the tree would create a pressure wave which is interpreted by the ear as sound. While there may not be humans or other life around to perceive the actual sound, the pressure wave would exist. Chaos theory tells us that small fluctuations in one place (the pressure wave) can have an effect anywhere in the world. So yes, it has a sound and it may have far reaching consequences.

      • Dan of the Westfield September 9, 2012 at 9:07 am #

        Did that comment make me a hipster?

      • Shane September 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

        Only if you wanted it to make you one, which by definition, I think, wouldn’t make you one at all.

      • franckbu September 13, 2012 at 11:53 am #

        Aaahh!! A challenge:
        in regards to the one hand clapping, it all depends on how you expect the hand to clap. Just because there is only one hand does not mean the possibility of clapping is unattainable. In its purest sense, the digits can make contact with the palm at a velocity high enough that a sound occurs. Perform this rapidly, and you will in fact hear the sound of one hand clapping. There are however many ways in which one hand might be able to clap. For example, it could impact another part of the body, it could make contact with a solid object, another person’s hand (although technically that would be once more 2 hands clapping)
        Based on your evaluation of the silent fallen tree, if I throw a pebble in a pond, you are telling me that this could have something to do with a tsunami on the other side of the world. I though the whole notion of the butterfly effect had been put to rest along with most hipsters. The ripples in the pond, no matter how much energy is applied to them, would be able to affect a tidal wave event.
        Brainblinks got the point I was trying to make. No one can call themselves a hipster since if you do, you are no longer one by the time you have completed the sentence. However, you can bestow that title onto anyone you have decided is different from mainstream. I suppose this is why hipsters are as mythological as witches and goblins. Since we only look at them from afar, we would never be sure wether they are the real McCoy or just a figment of our imagination.
        And if you thought the ‘c’ in my name made me a hipster, then acute diacritical mark above the ‘e’ in my last name then could qualify me as a goblin.

  69. franckbu September 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Reblogged this on Franck's HEAD and commented:
    Hello! My name is Franck and I’m a Hipster (or at least I think i am, or thought was, or will be…) I would have joined the conversation earlier, however I had to ditch this Troll that had been following me around. And as far as witches and banshees not existing, well I guess you never had the pleasure to meet my first boyfriend when he ran into another person wearing the same outfit he was.
    The problem with being a hipster, is that you have to be the first to come up with a totally non-mainstream fad. So as soon as you start to hear about it, well you can be a hipster anymore as what was once non-mainstream became just that. So in other words if you are a true Hipster, then you are involved in something which is unique and probably interesting, but as soon as the news comes out and others are getting involved in it well you just become one of “them”.
    I guess you could relate the hipster to the various philosophical constructs such as what is the sound of one hand clapping, and “if a tree falls in the forest and no is there to see it fall, does it make a sound?”

  70. donotdanceuk September 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    I love that wicked witch

  71. dearferrero September 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    What a refreshing read! I will certainly bear your reflection in mind as hipsters as a cultural class are a prevalent topic here in Berlin.

  72. Maria Ivanova September 14, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    thanks for clarifing who the hipsters are. I guess. I mean this helped but I am still not sure who they are 😀

  73. T.B. October 18, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Yeah hipsters exist; they are just over 30 now either with kids, a career or both. The whole meaning of being a hipster is actually lost on twenty- somethings nowadays. All I see around me now is 20 something posers who don’t really have an original thought in their head anymore. They are all about looking the part of what they think a hipster should look like; but when you actually speak to them there is no real substance there. What used to be considered a subculture where individuality and non- conformity was highly valued; now has a spot in the mainstream limelight. Now it’s just all about image and conformity. If you look enough like what mainstream folks believe to be a hipster, then you are one automatically. The sad thing is many mainstream folk secretly want to be hipsters; that’s why they complain about them so much. Of course that feeling of wanting to be one of the cool kids always seems to get to people. But when everyone is trying to look and act like the cool kids; it’s no longer cool anymore. One of the main points of being a hipster, especially in the early 2000’s; was that you truly didn’t care about what others thought about you. Now I just see way too many idiots that are just trying too hard to be something that just doesn’t exist anymore; at least not in the way it used to.

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