On Hipsters

Hipster.

If you look like this on purpose, please rethink your life.

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…

THE PERCEPTION

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.

Ah yes. Sir Lady Shorts. The most distinguished of the Knights of American Apparel.

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.

THE REALITY

Hey baby! Stop wearing the dress my Grandmother was buried in, then we'll talk.

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 does keep you warm.

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.

UGH! BARF IN MY MOUTH!

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.

"Me? Oh you know. Just putting the vibe out there. The key is to pretend like you DON'T care."

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.

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About Kyle McVey

I like stuff and feel ways about things.

Posted on April 27, 2011, in LOLJK, Pop Culture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. *slow clap*

    This… this is genius.

  2. I used to have Coachella experiences, but then I realized that I’d rather stay in New York dive bars that played Slayer instead of whatever indie band that sounds like the Strokes is popular today, drink expensive whiskey not Ten High, and wear jeans that fit me.

    The flannel stays, though. I’ve had it since the 6th grade.

  3. they just want to ice you bro.

  4. Devin Scanlon

    On your take about hipsterism being a fad:
    Hipster first entered the lexicon in the 1940’s when Jack Kerouac used it to describe the white guys who went to black jazz clubs high and dressed interestingly.

    This lead to beatnicks, which led to hippies (a name that derives from hipster) of the 60’s and 70’s. Hipsterism was around in the 80’s (they created grunge and then abandondend it. Kurt Cobain was a total hipster, just look at his top 50 songs of all time: http://www.angelfire.com/rock3/nirvana81/kurttop.htm Most of it is obscure indie jams like Beat Happening or Daniel Johnston or Flipper).

    Hipsterism was around in the 90’s (just look at photos from any Pavement concert) but actually blurred with mainstream culture for awhile, and now we have the hipsters of today.

    “Hipster” has been around for over 60 years, and although it has morphed through the decades, it’s not a fad, and it ain’t goin nowhere.

  5. Devin Scanlon

    On your take about hipsterism being a fad:
    Hipster first entered the lexicon in the 1940’s when Jack Kerouac used it to describe the white guys who went to black jazz clubs high and dressed interestingly.

    This lead to beatnicks, which led to hippies (a name that derives from hipster) of the 60’s and 70’s. Hipsterism was around in the 80’s (they created grunge and then abandondend it. Kurt Cobain was a total hipster, [just look at his top 50 songs of all time](http://www.angelfire.com/rock3/nirvana81/kurttop.htm) Most of it is obscure indie jams like Beat Happening or Daniel Johnston or Flipper).

    Hipsterism was around in the 90’s (just look at photos from any Pavement concert) but actually blurred with mainstream culture for awhile, and now we have the hipsters of today.

    “Hipster” has been around for over 60 years, and although it has morphed through the decades, it’s not a fad, and it ain’t going anywhere.

    • I agree Devin. Hipsterism is something that has existed in one form or another for while now. A point that I didn’t want to get that deep into (because no one would have read it). But just because the beatnik movement spurred the hippie movement, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fad. While some of the ideas and lifestyle of the beatniks lived on, the hippie movement was an entirely different beast (or fad) in and of itself. Just like how the hipster of the day, despite being able to trace its ties back 60 years, is entirely its own thing (different lifestyle, clothing, ideals). And like the others will eventually die out, giving way to something I’m sure will be even more annoying. Like kids wearing Tron Style light up pants who only drink meade made from 500 yr old recipes, and listen to music that sounds like a mix between “Revolution 9” and two robots fucking.

      Also, thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

  6. Most hipsters will not be hipsters when they reach their late-20’s. I have seen many come-and-go. Sadly, older hipsters are hard to find. I think the negative connotation is what makes many older hipsters stop their lifestyle. Many people seem to think that hipster = no job, heavy drug user, and irresponsible. That scares many late-20’s hipsters into conforming away from their interests. They start thinking that their only purpose is to work, pay bills and emulate their peers. There is so much more pressure and stigmas for people in their late-20’s.

    I agree that being a hipster isn’t a fad. It’s just a new generation of hippies. In the 60’s, a hipster would have been labeled a hippie.

    I am still a hipster, even at 28. I live in the city. I ride my bike to conserve resources. I also like jazz. Unfortunately, most like-minded people are in their early 20’s, and I have reached the age where hanging out with them is viewed as creepy, both by them and me.

    Enjoy it while it lasts, people. Most of you will be in for a harsh awakening in a few years.

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