Why the hipster must die: The hipsterati talks back
We asked hipster-leaning bloggers to defend their constituency. See what they said.
Wed May 30 2007
- A hipstory
- Hipster detox: Full assessment
- Why the hipster must die: The hipsterati talks back
We realize that we have been rather hard on the poor (or certainly poor-imitating) hipster in this issue. Perhaps too hard. Perhaps he is not to blame for the erosion of cool in New York. To make sure we did not ignore the other side of the argument, we asked several writers and bloggers who—whether they acknowledge it or not—cater strongly to the hipster set.
We asked two simple questions:
- Should hipster culture be defended?
- If so, will you defend it?
Their (verbatim) responses are below:
"To us, hipsters are more than just people that dress in odd outfits and like to party. Hipsters are interested in the new, and because they are interested in the new, they help to spur innovation. Mainly in art, music and nightlife. It may not be innovation to most people, but that is why they are not hipsters. By the Pythagorean theorem, this means that they in fact do not ruin everything because if hipsters did not exist, a lot of what the masses come to enjoy would not exist either. It's kind of like if Marty McFly didn't get his parents to kiss in Back to the Future.
If they did ruin everything, then cities around the country wouldn't be trying to figure out ways to lure them to settling there, and some half-assed scholar wouldn't have become rich off of it."
"Isn't hipsterdom dying on its own in New York City? Last time we went to the Lower East Side, it was overrun by smart-casual Coldplay fans wearing jeans and blazers and buying eight dollar Amstel Lights for their anchorwomen-wannabe girlfriends. Or maybe looking like a Hedge-Funder from Connecticut is what passes for hip now in New York.
You ask, 'Should hipster culture be defended?' My book The Hipster Handbook was an attempt to call bullshit on this fauxhemian movement nearly five years ago. In the satirical book I claimed that 'hipsters understand that cultural trends become fin the moment they hit the mainstream.' The hipster thing hit the mainstream years ago, so by my own definition it hasn't been cool for a while now.
And let's be honest, hipsters are getting harder to defend now that they're all sporting beards. Williamsburg is beginning to look like a tailgate party at a jam band concert."
—Robert Lanham, founder, FREEwilliamsburg author, The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right, Food Court Druids, and The Hipster Handbook
"Well I would be a liar if I said I just hate hipsters as a whole. Hipster baiting is a little hack. Hipsters are like children. Not only the obvious parallels (twee, childlike nature; constant need for adult supervision; soft skulls) but in that I do not hate hipsters so much as I cringe when I imagine what they will ruin. Comedy for example. All the 'alternative' comedians who are making waves are great (Demetri Martin, Human Giant, all the comedians covered on Apiary and Dead Frog [blogs I write for]). But I am (perhaps irrationally) frightened that comedy will eventually be taken over by whimsical hipsters that are more concerned with one day being on the line-up for Coachella than with developing an act. I also roll my eyes when I see hipster comedy sketches on YouTube that reference the same 'alternative' comedy tropes that great comedians can use but amateurs can beat to the ground. When I hear an alternative hipster comedian mention 'robots,' for instance, I wince. As far as hackneyed comedy topics go, robots are the new Viagra.
Above all comedy snobs are annoying. These hipsters that act like they're defending some grand cultural institution like Cubist painting or Noh theater. God forbid you like something remotely mainstream like Bill Burr or Katt Williams.
'What you tell jokes? It's not alternative enough! You do impressions? How mainstream! There's this brilliant comedian who performs an operetta about what would happen if the drummer to Loverboy was an Asiatic black bear. Brilliant!'
But like I said, I still like the comedy being offered at the UCB and the PIT. I'm afraid hipsters might ruin comedy. What hipsters might have ruined already though is porn. Comedy and porn are the last places you would expect snobbery. Lo and behold, there's all these 'nude art' sites that have these girls with vacant stares. In order for porn to work, I need the model to give a 'come hither' glance to the camera. Not these vacant stares. That's not fantasy, that's reality. Girls always give me vacant stares when I seduce them. I don't need Polaroids from some delusional Larry Clark wannabe to indulge my fantasies of rejection. And that whole "art" rubric is a little irritating. Most things on the planet can be considered art (found objects, daily gestures, rabbit saliva) but the hipsters who call it 'erotic art' are dumber than a kangaroo in a boxing match. Hipster porn is not art. The legal definition of porn is a nudie pic with no artistic merit. A Supreme Court judge will tell you that this shit isn't art. So don't look down your nose at me because I get off to Black Vagina Finder. You're not better than me."