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Tomarken.com » Deconstructing hipsterdiscourse
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Tomarken.com > Ambivilen > Deconstructing hipster<->discourse (09-02-04)
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Deconstructing hipster<->discourse

Tomarken Community
06/22/04-tomarken.com

Perspective ONE
The Hipster is no intellectual movement nor one in which the community can cherish…it is purely a self-indulging one drawing a line from the Bohemians from which they claim to be related, yet failing so horribly in their attempt to resemble the poverty so necessary to truly be associated with that more balanced affair.

The Hipster is no intellectual movement nor one in which the community can cherish…it is purely a self-indulging one drawing a line from the Bohemians from which they claim to be related, yet failing so horribly in their attempt to resemble the poverty so necessary to truly be associated with that more balanced affair.My question is, has the Hipster movement possibly reached critical mass? Whether it be my trip a month ago to Columbus or my time in DC, people everywhere seem to be able to point out these hipsters where they lie as if they are roaches that engulf entire neighborhoods. Since their ‘counterculture’ is one of exclusivity, Just like turning on the kitchen light to scatter the roaches, is it not time to "shine a light on them" once and for all to see where these tool bags scatter to? What I would like to do is start a small campaign on tomarken, with the intention of trying to as I put it to Richard, change the channel on the current hipster to see what else might come. It seems to me that the "Deconstructed Hipster" that may possibly follow, if it is indeed the "Anti-Hipster" that tows the line of rebelling against directly the pretention, darkness, and self-obsession exhibited in today’s Model A Hipster®, we could enjoy a brand that systematically is encouraged to exist as a transparent and bright counterforce that contributes to mankind in forms other than oneself and in the end lacking that I’m the shit but stealing it from real cool dudes in the 70s sa-shay that could be much more enjoyable to watch.
Perspective TWO
I’m not sure that this is tomarken correspondence, as I don’t quite know what I will write, because your email has left me both ambivalent and discomforted. I don’t think it’s correct to judge hipsters as one homogenous sub-culture. Take a page from the Hipster Handbook. There are many ways to divide, subset and label disaffected youth. You can readily identify the anarcho blue collar hipsters, the fashionistas with their electro-clash neon tights and pat benatar bangs, the moody intellectual marxists who discuss the bible. I could go on and on. Perhaps the only term that can easily link the entire anti-stone-washed crowd is “disaffected”. Disaffected from what? Same old thing–mom with her “rules,” the dean with the stern lectures about taking responsibility for your actions (or you’ll never graduate!), and those damned frat boys. Fucking frat boys.

This disaffection, unsurprisingly, is directly displayed via fashion. Just like every other youth culture that has existed in the past hundred years.

Like the flappers, and all that ankle they so gratuitously displayed! And the hippies, who were just trying to “love” via long, luxurious locks of never ending golden hair. And I’m not critical of it. I love the outfits.

ALL OF THEM. But you seem to miffed more about the apathy, or self-indulgent narcissism, found among hipsters. And that’s a valid point.

Before I get to the point, let me extrapolate from experience. There is a definite similarity between the hipsters I encountered at parties in New York and the hipsters I’ve encountered in DC. I used to label the hipsters in DC the “emo kids,” as that was what they were before “hipster” had entered my vocab. And I used that term quite derisively, mostly because they would label me a “ska kid”. Fuck them! Anyway, parties in New York always seemed to break down to uncomfortable standing with tight-shirted architect boys that sipped on forties and looked terribly upset. You’ve been to Odessa right? Isn’t that place a mess? Everybody just stares at you, waiting to see if you actually think you’re “cool” enough to be in the bar. Whenever i’m there I just start sweating, waiting for some cherubic post-punk fantasy girl to tap me on the shoulder to say, “Um, excuse me. You don’t belong here.” Causing me to stand, throw my arms up and say,”I know! I know! I was just pretending, hoping no one would notice!”

But of course the DC scene is bit different. People tend to go to barsless, as there are less bars to attend. I’ve been pretty much outed/alienated from the hipster scene in DC because of my questionable dating choices, and habitual tendency to participate in “activism” (that’s a big no! no!).

But I’ve been to a party here and there, and some things strike me as odd. Why are all the women gorgeous? Inevitably, the hipster girls are gorgeous. The men look awful, but the women incredible. They cling to these emaciated man-children like so much toffee on the back of my shoe. It makes no sense.

It’s a phenomenon worthy of further investigation. But seriously folks, DC parties with “hipsters” have involved little talk of relevant subjects but thrived on a sort of animalistic competition involving cool-o-meter charts and rad-o-graphs. Maybe I’m just bitter, because that hot model girl never called me back, but the hipster vibe is undeniably annoying.

And it’s not like “cool” people around town don’t discussion relevant issues. I have a lot of brain-y-ack! hipster friends. I also have a lot of friends who are cool, and dress cool, who discuss cool things, but aren’t necessarily hipsters. Does it really just come down to what you wear? Could be, and that’s a sad fact.

So it’s about fashion, ok, but does the hipster thing have to be annoying?

And does it have to remain static? Is there a solvent ready for immediate use? No. But in the meantime, let’s be hipsters anyway! Think of it this way, it’s the only youth trend that exists for middle to upper class white kids that doesn’t involve Starter jackets and Jay-Z. Nothing wrong with Jay-Z. It hasn’t really been co-opted by popular culture yet.

Sure, Ashton Kutcher wore trucker hats prior to his conversion to Judaism, and it seems that more and more hot young hollywood studs wear tight second hand polo shirts with curiously disheveled hair-dos. And the big chain stores try to get it right with the odd assortment of ironic t-shirts, and get it wrong with DKNY belts. I still have hope that out of this semi-hidden scene something great could emerge. Musically, probably. I think there is already a great amount of phenomenal music coming out of the “indie” scene that is directly linked to hipster culture. But moreso, I think someone will write a great book. I’m not sure what it will be about, but hopefully it can help better define a youth culture that often leans more in the direction of self-obsession than social awareness. For my part, I am creating both the best album to come out of my basement in, dare I say, ever! as well as the best damn computer game of 1991. But will that be enough?!

Did I just reach some kind of point there? I think I did. Very exciting.

I guess my point is, that if somebody or some group of people do something under the guise of “hipsterdom” that may not be typically hipster, it could help-redefine what it means to be a hipster. You know, the old 1-2 paradigm shift? I doubt it will happen, we’ll just fade away into a retarded MTV rock-u-segment. But one can always dream.
Perspective ONE
A few things I want to add to what you so carefully wrote below..

1) This quote that I used in the “Friendster as a guide to the Why Generation” object<--nice and heinious plug) that I think applies greatly here:
Definition of "Why" Generation:

"In the 1970s, I simply did not recognize the extent to which the 1960s "youth revolution" had terrified our ruling Elite, or that they would try to prevent future upsurges of radical Utopianism by deliberately "dumbing down" the educational system. What they have produced, the so-called Generation X, must rank as not only the most ignorant but also the most paranoid and depressive kids ever to infest our Republic. I agree with outlaw radio star Travis Hipp that the paranoia and depression enevitably result from ignorance. These kids not only don't know anything; they don't even want to know. They only realize, vaguely, that somebody has screwed them out of something, but they don't even have enough zest, or bile, to find out who screwed them and what they were screwed out of."

-Wilson, R. A. ©1997

or more simply put: {Willis!-Why did't you ever tell me what you waz talkin' bout?}

2) They may have relatives in the Bohemain crowd, but I was wondering if you think this is a purely fashionable movement, how does affluence play into it. Money is the major common difference that I see between the Bohemians and the Hipsters/Emos, and I think its a major contradiction. Especially here in New York city where in almost every case it is obvious that the hipsters are not fully and indepedently financially solvent through their work, yet I with the exception of some of the music you are eluding to, don't seem to be creating all that much that I can see that adds to the culture. I mean there's gotta be hundreds of these types rolling through Williamsburg and I don't think anyone's gonna write a book about that place in similar form to the Village in the 50s. With the inherited $$$ like it or not, these people are tied too much to the conservative bougiouse culture and they don't seem willing to push it to the edge to sacrifice that(or else they may live in Greenpoint!, as some of them do of course).
Prespective THREE
what unites all these various factions that have adopted the pose of a hipster, however legitimately, is not shared tastes or experience or priveleged upbringings or anything like that because the hipster paradigm has outgrown all this. the false collective that all of this finds itself working under can be traced to one essential thing: the idea of “cool.”

what unites all these various factions that have adopted the pose of a hipster, however legitimately, is not shared tastes or experience or priveleged upbringings or anything like that because the hipster paradigm has outgrown all this. the false collective that all of this finds itself working under can be traced to one essential thing: the idea of “cool.”you see, being cool, or having the property of cool-ness, is about existing outside of what is expected, being surprising, having some element of interest apart from the norm (i.e. it is NOT hip to be square). yet the term, and more importatnly, THE IDEA is used universally by everyone, from the most obscure indie rocker to the captain of the football team. its lost its meaning, but at the same time it has thrown itself upon the culture in a way that has given it more meaning than ever… and a bastardized meaning at that.

hipsters can lay claim to cool, but the debate team and the football team and all those guys, they need to be KEEN, or NEAT-O, or RIGHT-ON or something. those people have no right to contrast themselves because they are what hipsters are supposed to hold themselves up against in teh first place. its just made things way too confusing. its not fair that when a hipster wants a new belt, the one he/she likes the best is the one you can only get at hot topic at the mall. these things have been stolen to please the popular kids, and as such has created a dangerous confusion for those who started out as hipsters in the first place. to illustrate, when i was nearing the end of high school and my theater friends and i started to get sort of popular i thought it was a good sign, but now i see that it was just the start of this cultural shift whereby the mainstream has adopted all that is good and honest about hipsterism and spit it out in such a convincing clone-like fashion that nobody can tell anymore who’s who. even the football players/cheerleaders are wearing pat nebatar tights and checkerboard vans (or vice versa) and its not funny. and its definitely not cool.

so, there can be no unifying hipster objective/code/reason-for-being because the way of the hipster at this point in time is strictly fashion (not limited to clothing, mind you) waiting for a coco chanel or a jesus or a kennedy to lead it to the next new thing. and once the impostors have found their new messiah, then the indie rockers will be able to keep their tight shirts on, the football players can start wearing their jerseys again, and the hot chicks can migrate back towards the sidelines, right up next to the gatorade. that is how it should be and that is how it will be again.

so don’t hate the hipsters, because some of them are really well meaning, and dare i say, even COOL. you can’t blame them for having been coopted, especially since they will be let go of soon enough. just try to ignore them, and in the meantime, try to avoid irony or any sort of meta discussions about the nature of hipsterism… because you never know, there may be a football player having the same argument with his cheerleader girlfriend somewhere else along the information superhighway. maybe they’re even keeping a blog about it… and that is totally not cool.
Perspective ONE
I know Perspective THREE wishes not to speak about it, but I whilst I agree with him on the notion that the Lime Light will eventually stray (and maybe now is time)–I think the tragedy of this all may indeed be the damage that will be done to the bone fide hipster himself. Of course, they can return to their life of seclusion after the fulcrum has moved, but how comfortable will their bastardized CHECKERED VANS(R) feel to walk in at that point?

There are in fact those, who may naturally be drawn towards a life of darkness due to the socially necessary reasons that our culture inflicts, but, all this attention being paid to their way of life that they so naturally cling to, these unwelcome trend-o guests could only damage the only place that some people may require for refuge. You mention the football player and his cheerleading girlfriend, but they can certainly still go at it after the after prom when all this is said and done—where can a hipster hide amongst all the hipsters?

My interest in adding more definition to this situation is because indeed, this is a label of which too many people are now aware and how do they understand it. While Chorney may argue that a discussion of this system on the web may attack the noble bone fide hipsters and yield aid to the enemies that conserve boarish homecoming tribals that indeed seem to be on the rise these days.I would argue that in order to conserve some sort of space for the bone fide hipster, some distinction desperately needs to be drawn between the fakers and the real.

What most troubles me about the popular element co-opting the hipster is that they are not doing it as a necessary coping mechanism to deal with their unique disposition in society…no I believe they are purchasing this lifestyle at this point in time sos that they can be self-indulgent assholes and this is merely a ’sign of our times’.


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