If you read this blog, there is a good chance that this word has a negative connotation to it. I know that for me personally, it does. And it could be easy to write a humorous entry poking fun at the people who have embraced that culture and lifestyle. PBR! LOL!
But lets go a bit deeper and explore what the culture is perceived to be, how people actually live it, and then why deep down I hate it. You know, while I poke fun and make easy jokes at these people’s expense. It’s a humor blog. I’m not paid to be unbiased…
…I’m not paid…
To understand hipster culture, you must first define it. However, the very nature of the hipster makes that especially hard. The best (and by best I mean most humorous) definition I could find from a legitimate news source was from an article in Time magazine from 2009:
“Hipsters are the friends who sneer when you cop to liking Coldplay. They’re the people who wear t-shirts silk-screened with quotes from movies you’ve never heard of and the only ones in America who still think Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good beer. They sport cowboy hats and berets and think Kanye West stole their sunglasses. Everything about them is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don’t care.”
The most important part of that definition is the last part. At the heart of it, being a hipster is all about being unique. Being your own person in a sea of people who can’t think for themselves, buy into the mass produced media, and believe they need the things big corporations are selling to them. And honestly, when you lay it out like that it almost sounds like a noble venture. Who doesn’t want to be their own man or woman? Striving to be a forward thinking individual, pushing for progressive agendas, doing your part to bring art that would largely be ignored into the mainstream for the good of all mankind. If any thing, it sounds like a hipster is some kind of hippie super hero. Like we improved upon the Flower Child generation. If you want to see how hipsters define themselves, check out this entry on urban dictionary.
Despite their seemingly noble nature, the hipster isn’t viewed by the public at large as a generation of people who will change the world. All they see is a fad. The rest of the Time magazine quote covers that pretty well. They’re the music snobs that scoff at you from behind the desk of that vinyl record store you frequent down the street. He’s the friend of friend you just met who’s telling you why you’re an idiot for seeing “Drive Angry 3D.” She’s the turd dressed like she’s Jacki O, drinking straight from a handle of Kesslers (Actually. I’m behind this one.). The point is, the rest of the world sees them as a bunch of lazy, PBR swilling, skinny jean wearing, indie band loving, organic food eating, fixie riding, douche bags who try hard at pretending they’re not trying hard.
Did you see how I presented both sides? Michael Moore’s fat ass definitely wouldn’t have done that.
Living in LA, it’s hard not to know people who paint themselves as a hipster. And that’s fine. For the most part, the people I know are decent, likable people who’s tastes in media and clothing skew more towards the indie spectrum of things. They can be grating at times (but who can’t be) and unwisely select their battles when it comes to some subjects. But I would say for the most part, these are probably the people that make up a large number of the “hipster community.” They’re harmless, albeit unfortunate souls that have found a fashion and life style fad that they can latch onto and call their own. Content with their lives as they wander aimlessly up and down the back alleys and Farmer’s Markets of Loz Feliz and Silver Lake in their homemade “RIP LCD” t-shirt. Please note: the key word in that final part was FAD. It is a fad. Nothing more. Nothing less. And I pray to God that they all understand that before they reach thirty. Because much like the aging hippie, an aging hipster is possibly the most depressing thing on Earth. And I’ve been to Skid Row. Once. On accident. Those people are gross.
Now. Up to this point, I’ve provided a moderately fair and unbiased assessment of Hipster culture. This ends.
I have a theory. There is a point at which the dude who just digs a deep V neck shirt or the lady who legitimately loves Italian cinema cross the line into ultimate hipster douchedom. I call it…
THE FLANNEL THRESHOLD
It relates to a formula that suggests that the more hipsters that are gathered in one place, no matter their initial douchiness factor, will begin to feed off of each others douchiness and begin producing more than they normally would as a single entity. As a group their collective douche factor will begin to compound exponentially until it reaches what I call “The Flannel Threshold.” The Threshold is a point of no return. Once the group passes that point, they all become what I would call “Offensively Hipster.” That’s when I need every single one of them to fuck off and die.
You hate labels and conformity? Great. Grand. You’ve fallen into a lifestyle so obsessed with being unique and against the status quo that you’ve created some kind of unspoken standard for how a fellow hipster should dress and present him or herself. Creating a group identity that is so pervasive that it CAN be labeled and boiled down to these idiotic stereotypes people throw out there. You’re group of walking contradictions, that’s the only thing that makes it tough to define what a hipster is. It’s not an air of mystery or how different each one of you are. If anything, its tough to tell you apart. You’ve become more ridiculous looking version the sorostitutes and bros that you were rebeling against. You don’t have to TRY to be different. Just be who you are and there’s a good chance there isn’t any one else in the world like you.
When I think of the hipster culture or lifestyle, the end of Akira comes to mind. When Tetsuo just becomes a giant mass, assimilating everything around him. That’s what it’s come to. You’re just an out of control mass of flesh. With no purpose but to be. And no reason to continue being. It’d be different if you had a cause tied to you. But you don’t. And don’t give me this “we’re progressive” bullshit. You’re no more progressive than anyone else under 30 these days. I don’t know a peer that isn’t all for gay marriage. Or doesn’t want the world to be more green. Or thinks the “birthers” weren’t the most ridiculous fucking people to ever walk on God’s green Earth.
Each of you is a patchwork quilt of a person. You borrow weird and obscure shit from every corner of pop culture and pretend its your own. Get a fucking grip. You go out of your way to like things people don’t. You like music and movies until they hit the mainstream, then you act like you never bought one of their albums or saw one of that director’s films. You pretend like the quality of sound on a record is better than the quality of sound of digital audio. You’re fucking wrong. You can say that you ENJOY the character or the unique sound that vinyl adds to a recording. But don’t tell me it’s better quality. Eat a fucking dick.
And don’t get snarky with me. Don’t act like you’re smarter or better than the rest of America. You’re not. You’re wearing one of those fucking bear hats. You tore the sleeves off your flannel shirt and have a tattoo of the High Life girl on your arm. You’re wearing a scarf and puffing on a pipe while it’s 85 fucking degrees at the beach. All I said was that I hadn’t been to the Museum of Modern Art and yet now I have some unemployed schlub lecturing me on Andy Worhal.
My point is this. When I see a hipster. I see a lost soul. Someone that doesn’t know who they are and went the most extreme direction available to them. I see a man without a country because they think they don’t want or need one. It’s lonely out there kids. You do. You need people to connect to that actually have to wear glasses or could care less about your Coachella experience. But ultimately, this rant isn’t going to change your mind. So all I ask, is if this is the lifestyle you’ve chosen, don’t be fucking dipshit.
I mean, I own flannel shirts. But the difference is I’m an asshole whether I’m in it or not.