The New York Times once again marvels at the wonder that is "hipsters"
Is its latest Williamsburg-as-tourist-spot piece satire? Trolling? Genuine curiosity at young'uns? WE DON'T KNOW.
Thu May 2 2013
Photograph: Michael Kirby New York
Hey, guys, have you heard about Williamsburg? It has young people! They like artisanal food! They ride these crazy things called "fixies"! They have beards! Isn't that amazing?
No, just kidding, we don't have that sort of breathless fascination with Williamsburg's denizens. We are, of course, referring to The New York Times, which published yet another Brooklyn-as-tourist-destination piece today. Titled "How I Became a Hipster," the story chronicles author Henry Alford's weekend in Brooklyn, as he tries to understand all the crazy things that "young folk" (his words, not ours) are into these days—facial hair, bikes, locally grown food, plaid shirts, stuff like that.
He references Girls; he asks a shop clerk to make him look like he's in Mumford & Sons; he says Williamsburg is Brooklyn's "kale-loving epicenter." This is either a brilliant piece of trolling on the Times's part (one of the paper's editors, Clifford Levy, tweeted that it is the most popular article on the paper's site right now), an unsuccessful attempt at satire, or just another example of the Gray Lady treating hipsters as though they're unicorns—unique, possibly unreal objects of fascination.
We like to think we were at the forefront of hipster-mocking: TONY published a cover story called "The Hipster Must Die" in 2007. But even that was derided for putting too much stock in the idea of the hipster as a person who lived in a certain neighborhood or listened to a particular type of music. And that was six years ago. Surely by now, we've moved past the whole idea of the word hipster as a signifier of anything, right? The response to Alford's piece has mostly been of the exasperated, "This again?" variety, but readers keep responding, which means the stories will likely only continue. (The Awl, in a brilliant act of foreshadowing, published a piece on Monday that catalogs every mention of hipsters in the Times in the past decade. It's a lot.) Perhaps if we ignore the hipster trend stories, they'll eventually go away? Is that too much to ask?