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We don't care about the young folks?
May 27, 2010 11:45 PM   Subscribe

Hipster talk.

To say the least, there have been shitstorms. Most recently, headdresses, but also from typefaces to sordid STD revenge tales.

The use of the word 'hipster' on Metafilter has been getting to me as of late. The term appears as a hindrance to balanced discussion. Intelligent members of this community turn into key pounding axe grinders at the drop of a (sharply styled, handmade) hat. Many interesting thoughts are lost in the clamour. The majority of people that frequent Mefi seem to feel strongly about instances of stereotyping based on a person's perceived image, such as sexism, and racism, so why are we passing collective judgement on an entire group of people? I was going to turn this pony by asking for a ban on the word, but on review that has ice-cube-in-hell chances. Still, can we please stop talking about young people like they're all the same? Pretty please?

And can we discuss? Cause I can't help but feel like there's something with this whole hipster thing that maybe I'm just not getting.
posted by seagull.apollo to Etiquette/Policy at 11:45 PM (286 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

We only hate hipsters ironically.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:47 PM on May 27, 2010 [52 favorites]


I was hating hipsters, like, before it was cool.
posted by chasing at 11:52 PM on May 27, 2010 [15 favorites]


Hey, not all young people are hipsters!
posted by jacalata at 11:53 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was only about two weeks after Metafilter's 10th birthday that it started poking a finger between the blinds to see if there were kids on its lawn. Then it started cutting out coupons for Gold Bond medicated powder.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:01 AM on May 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


The hipsters I really hate, well, you probably haven't even heard of them -- yet. Or their Asian girlfriends.
posted by orthogonality at 12:04 AM on May 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


I know what hipsters are.
posted by mullacc at 12:08 AM on May 28, 2010


Sometimes I think I might be a hipster, and it freaks me out that Metafilter hates me.
posted by ukdanae at 12:14 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]

The majority of people that frequent Mefi seem to feel strongly about instances of stereotyping based on a person's perceived image, such as sexism, and racism
Stereotyping can be the harmful use of one's power in a) a patriarchy b) a society of racism c) a capitalist economy or d) any number of other structures of power inequality. On the other hand stereotyping can simply be an exaggeration of aspects of everyday culture done for comic or discursive effect, with knowledgeable reference to existing power structures. It's also a particularly effective way for groups wielding less power in a society to refer safely to their own status; it's the basis behind all ethnic humour.
so why are we passing collective judgement on an entire group of people?
Because we find it an effective means of referring to familiar aspects of modern life about which we may feel strongly. Or we might just be a bunch of damn bigots, but not necessarily.

Phew, that was a bit serious, wasn't it? I'm going to catch the train from Wynyard to Newtown in Sydney's fashionable inner west shortly with a bunch of people with sleeve tattoos, blocky glasses and really tight jeans, you'll have to excuse my earnestness. Funny—I don't look hipsterish
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:20 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


It heartens me that all of the bad fashion choices I make -- $13 Costco jeans, shapeless shirts, hopelessly scuffed decade-old Doc boots -- are either just a sign of my inability to dress myself OR they're an incredibly hip ironic statement about fashion. I would like to thank the hipsters for that, in any case.
posted by maxwelton at 12:23 AM on May 28, 2010


Can we start by defining the term so I know exactly who I'm supposed to be hating or loving or getting along with or something?
posted by pracowity at 1:00 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Greg Nog did a good job of that in the headdress thread.
...hipster-as-category does not exist; it's a rhetorical device more than a coherent collection of signifiers, that functions almost entirely to create an Other rather than contribute to a good-faith conversation about the person in question.
And here it is in comic form.
posted by hydrophonic at 1:09 AM on May 28, 2010 [14 favorites]


Mornin' Jess, Cortex. Hope your day gets better!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:16 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


With respect to Greg Nog, having lived in West Philadelphia and visited Brooklyn and NYC to go to alternative music shows, and now living in the Pacific Northwest, the notion that hipster-as-category-does-not-exist somewhat contradictory to personal experience.

There are consumption, taste and behavioral signifiers one can point to that usefully distinguish a subculture for the purposes of discussion. Those signifiers do not define any one individual — what can? — but they can be useful in characterizing the group.

Is it possible the term "hipster" can be over-used or misapplied? Certainly. Was that the case with the headdress thread? I'm not certain I would agree. Of course, this is just one person's experience, so take that for what it's worth, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:26 AM on May 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


...(other parts of) NYC...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:27 AM on May 28, 2010


It's a fair point. It seems that people need someone to hate and if racism and sexism are ruled out, it's ok to hate hipsters, chavs/whitetrash or whatever.

It's semi joking but it does cause insidious attitudes that become a problem sometimes.

We're better off without it.
posted by Not Supplied at 1:29 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


When it comes to a lot of demographic labels - like sex and race - well, one can't do much about the way one exits the womb. But hipsterism is a conscious choice; while it may not be anywhere near as heinous as being an enthusiastic member of the Ku Klux Klan or a gay-basher or something, it does indicate a certain mindset which a lot of people find annoying / affected / bothersome / self-limiting / absurd / pretentious / etc.

Hipsterism's essential quality is the use of visual cues to elicit a sense of personality - intellectual bohemianism, to name one. And there's nothing wrong with personal ideologies such as intellectual bohemianism per se. It's just that people who spend a lot of time cultivating the visual look tend, in my experience, to not have much real depth in whatever it is they purport to 'be' or whatever it is they'd like for you to see them as being. This generally makes them seem pretentious little elves, in my opinion.

Any hipster could just drop the act in about five minutes if he or she wanted to, which makes anti-hipsterism a difficult thing to conflate with sexism or racist bigotry or homophobia. Most hipsters do in fact drop the act sooner or later. One doesn't see many eighty year-old hipsters. As an optimist, I like to think that most simply grow out of it, but for others I suppose the hipsterism just melds into a different sort of pretention and absurdity.

While I appreciate Greg Nog's comment, I disagree. "Hipster" is a fluid definition. It doesn't need "a coherent collection of signifiers," just a couple general tendencies on the part of its practitioners.

The most important of these is the desire to look a part, generally at the expense of the "content" which might otherwise come with the territory. The second is the tendency for hipsters to affect an identity from a subculture juuuuuust out-of-reach of the mainstream. Nothing too radical, just a little bit edgy. Achieving this is a presumably tricky balancing act, and I've casually wondered whether it's the amount of time that must be spent to avoid "falling" is what makes hipsters so weirdly the same - so ponderous and flat.

Plenty of "young folks" have charm, intellect, talent and style without being hipsters, so I'm not sure why seagull.apollo sees anti-hipsterism as not caring about the "young folks." To me, it's simply a reasonable reaction against pretention and shallowness.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:44 AM on May 28, 2010 [47 favorites]


Yeh but sometimes fashion and making yourself look good is fun and some people are into it more than others.

If you choose your clothes to present a certain image, I find it works to connect with people and promote your work if that's what you do. You can choose to just wear army surplus and be intellectual and that's ok too, but you might have a hard time.

Some people might say it's shallow, but hunter gatherer's seem to do exactly the same thing from what I can see, so it's not going anywhere.

Obviously some people are over the top but that's just par for the course. Wherever you find something genuinely cool there will be pretentious idiots, like flies on shit but also a lot of cool people.

Even if you disagree with the above, you say it's fluid so you'd probably agree that there's a spectrum of people into any scene and some of them are ok.

I just think that even in 'fun' it's not good to be divisive.
posted by Not Supplied at 1:56 AM on May 28, 2010


a primer
posted by nadawi at 1:57 AM on May 28, 2010


Seconding Blazecock Pileon. If you claim there's no definition of hipster, I have to assume you're either doing the Stephen Colbert "I can't see color" thing, or don't live in an urban area where you see people in skinny jeans and thick glasses sipping a PBR at an indie rock show talking about how their first album was way better and thus think those people are simply a figment of our collective imagination.

I don't really have strong feelings about them one way or another but it's just silly to think that hipster doesn't refer to a set of styles and behaviors the same way that other cultural identifiers do. Can I not refer to the guy sporting a mohawk in the Misfits t-shirt, studded jacket, and black jeans as a "punk" ? If I say a coworker is a "riot grrl" do you really have no idea what her opinion on Bikini Kill might be?
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:02 AM on May 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Look At That Hipster Fucking.
posted by bardic at 2:53 AM on May 28, 2010


The most popular definition of hipster on Urban Dictionary is quite positive about hipsters.
Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. [...]

Although hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals. [...]

For example, a lot of anti-hipster sentiment evidently comes from culturally-clueless suburban frat boy types who feel that the more sensitive, intelligent, and culturally aware hipster ideal threatens their insecure sense of masculinity. Anti-hipster sentiment often comes from people who simply can't keep up with social change and are envious of those who can.
Is MetaFilter overstocked with culturally-clueless suburban frat boy types and other people who simply can't keep up with social change? Have hegemonic hipsters heisted Urban Dictionary and inserted irony into every entry?
posted by pracowity at 2:54 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


My personal definition of hipster is 'a person who by observed manner or dress you think would talk down to you.' I think this hits on the perceived cliquishness of the species, that weird sort of 'you must be this cool to ride this ride' vibe they put out while maintains some of the ugly side of stereotypes (I'm judging you without knowing you for judging me!).

As for the 'observed manner or dress', I base that largely on Dan Ashcroft's work on the subject.

In short, kids these days.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:58 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Choosing to drink crap beer as a signifier, or a way to fit in with the crowd, or because you believe it to be 'cool' or 'ironic' to intentionally drink crap beer is asinine.

Seriously, PBR? One of my favorite bands name dropped it in a new song, and on a gut level, I stopped liking them as much. That's pretty much how I feel towards ironic affection and the folks who practice it. If you like something, just like it, and don't worry about how cool it might seem to other people. If you're doing something simply be in the in crowd, please, for yourself, try to graduate from high school some time in the near future. Besides, Heathers really wasn't that good of a movie.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:02 AM on May 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me.
posted by telstar at 4:00 AM on May 28, 2010 [14 favorites]


But one of my best friends is a hipster.
posted by vapidave at 4:05 AM on May 28, 2010


Whem they stop riding fixies I will stop loathing them. If I see another candy colored bike with 12" wide flat bars, neon green deep V rear wheel and Aerospoke front wheel and top tube protector pad I'm gonna puke. When they start selling this shit at Urban Outfitters your trend is dead and over.
posted by fixedgear at 4:11 AM on May 28, 2010


The people in those headdress photos were not hipsters. They were fratboys.
posted by DU at 4:14 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


When they stop riding fixies I will stop loathing them.
posted by fixedgear


What the.
posted by DU at 4:14 AM on May 28, 2010 [17 favorites]


If you like something, just like it, and don't worry about how cool it might seem to other people.

Words of wisdom, my friend. Words of wisdom. But what if you like irony, and just, like, like liking irony, and you aren't worried about how your likes might be interpreted by some guy on the internet?

*holds head in hands*
I just don't know what to think!
posted by pracowity at 4:27 AM on May 28, 2010


I've said this before, but for those who really defend this sort of stereotyping, please remember that these things can get serious. Do people remember Mexico's problem with "emo" kids?
posted by brevator at 4:31 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Elephant Talk
posted by not_on_display at 4:32 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I agree it's bad for conversation, and I agree it's more rooted in sterotyping people based on a few cultural signifiers -- you rise a fixie, you must also blah blah, and, in turn, must also blah blah. It's not us at our best, any more than any group of people heaping contempt on another group is people at their best. What passes for anti-hipsters wit is merely the passing around of some very tired cliches, and we get bogged down as user after user has to take time out to get their potshot in. It's an unimpressive spectacle, and I am not sure what hipsters have done to earn such loathing, except to look like maybe they think they're better than us, with their stupid facial hair and vinyl records and too-carefully considered and yet still sorts of thrown together outfits and their bikes and PBR.

But, then, if the worst thing that happens is people make fun of hipsters, it's pretty low on the scale of worst things to happen ever. At worst, it's going to make a number of users who wonder if they might be thought of as hipsters also wonder if they won't be very welcome at a meetup, which is stupid, alienating behavior on the part of other users, but there's no law against being stupid or alienating.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:33 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


What has always amused me about the discussions of hipsters on MetaFilter is that a significant number of MeFites probably count as hipsters, even under less than maximal definitions of the word. I mean, seriously, the number of vegetarian/vegan, fashion-conscious, intellectual beer snobs around here is pretty damned high.

Then it occurs to me that some of the people bagging on hipsters are probably hipsters themselves, adding another level of meta irony.

Then I have to try to figure out whether they're doing it on purpose.

Then my brain explodes.
posted by valkyryn at 4:43 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Maybe they appropriated his fixed gear heritage, DU?

"Meh" to the hipsters. It's not about some collection of preferences being arbitrarily labeled as hip, at all. It's not being lacto-ovo-vegetarian, or messenger bags, or anything else. If there's one thing common to hipsters, it's that their involvement with things they enjoy comes in at a false, ironic level. Rather than true engagement, it's about an attitude that delivers a lot of "I 'like' the band, I don't really like the band," because deep involvement and enjoyment means you're a fanboy. True enjoyment is nerdy. Enthusiasm is uncool. Hipsters make a bid to claim cool simply because they don't (or pretend to) like anything they're around.

I'm drinking this beer. I don't really like this beer, so to facilitate such I will deliberately choose crap ("PBR"). Frank over there is uncool, because his enthusiasm ("Pabst! Blue! Ribbon!") is genuine. I'm at this concert because I have nothing better to do, I'm not really into this band.

They are anti-Beat. Nothing is heavy, everything is light. They do not dig, they point at the rest of us who have presumably gotten muddy doing so. Their skinny jeans are still spotless, except for a few deliberate bleach stains.

This weighs into the appropriation. If Natasha Khan wears a headdress, she does it because she is at least into it, like Adam Ant before her. When a hipster does it, they make a point to let you know that it's as disposable as anything else; it might as well be a paper hat from Burger King. No hobbies, just "hobbies," anything that can be shown to add flavor with all of the depth of having been rolled at random to fill out your character sheet, held at arm's length.

This would all be fine as long as you did not have to see and interact with them, people who come with large ironic quotes floating about their heads, because to run into them in conjunction with anything you're doing is to be reminded that they're winning the battle of who could care less and can knock you out of your enjoyment because, damn, you are dorky enough to actually dig the show. The entire lifestyle sits in judgment of genuine fun. For that, I do not forgive.
posted by adipocere at 4:49 AM on May 28, 2010 [56 favorites]


But young people are all the same. For a start, they're all young. Fuckers.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:11 AM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, that sort of behavior is terrifically annoying. And it is commonly associated with hipsters.

I live in Minneapolis, which is a sort of hipster Eyjafjallajokull, blasting great clouds of hipsters into the atmosphere constantly, disrupting air traffic worldwide. I have also lived in Los Angeles and New Orleans, which have their own vast hipster communities. Many, many of my friends are New Yorkers, and all would be called hispters.

And that ironic detachment. It describes none of them. For two decades. Not a one. The hipsters I have known -- and there are thousand of them -- have genuinely loved what they loved, and it has mostly been a mix of Star Wars, too-earnest music, old movies, and Franny and Zooey.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:15 AM on May 28, 2010 [25 favorites]


I'm a hipster. I self identify as such. I LOVE things and go fucking nuts for them. I'm broke and wear hand me downs and drink cheap beer. What most of MeFi seems to be describing are just assholes.
posted by josher71 at 5:17 AM on May 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


Is there a UK term for 'hipster', other than 'Nathan Barley'?
posted by salmacis at 5:39 AM on May 28, 2010


If you do things and say things in order to be seen doing them or heard saying them, you're a pretentious, shallow miswit. But that doesn't make you a hipster. If you choose the things you want to be seen doing and heard saying just so that your opinion is clearly in opposition to popular acclaim and appeal, you're a contrarian, antagonistic baiter. But that doesn't make you a hipster, either. No, what makes you a hipster is knowing that you're doing these things, encouraging their expression in yourself and other members of your peer group through self congratulation, and ultimately finding yourself satisfied in your assumed moral and intellectual superiority.

In other words, being a pretentious, shallow, miswitted, contrarian, antagonistic baiter isn't enough. You've got to be smug. And that's why hipsters are always in line for verbal beatdowns. Because smugness is a fucking lightning rod for loathing.

The only thing that will save us from hipsters is that hipsterism is a self-limiting phenomena. If being a hipster becomes too common, the only choice hipsters will have in order to stand out from other hipsters will be forced to emulate tradespeople instead, at which point they'll be killed where they stand. Hipsters are only safe when they mock the gentility.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:40 AM on May 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: being a pretentious, shallow, miswitted, contrarian, antagonistic baiter isn't enough. You've got to be smug.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:44 AM on May 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


Is there a UK term for 'hipster', other than 'Nathan Barley'? Hoxtonite? Or hipsters getting used a fair bit now.

Thing is, seanmpucket etc you're using the word 'hipster' to mean 'all the things I don't like'...but it's also used for all the other people who have a particular (vaguely defined) look, scene whatever who may not be like that.

So obviously it's gonna get personal if people are a bit like that and you're saying all those things.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:47 AM on May 28, 2010


So if being a hipster is all about irony or being smug, why do we look at pictures of them and laugh and spout tired unoriginal hate? How can you tell someone's intention of irony or smugness from a picture? And if being a hipster is all an act, how can you tell that from a picture?

I suppose this is why no one admits to being a hipster. I know a lot of people that would just be so easy to label as hipster and hate on. But you know what? They really do like weird mustaches and noise music. They are not putting on an act. They don't do it for the irony. If you saw a picture you would hate them but if you met them you would like them. That is stupid. How about that MeFite who posted the picture of him and his friends, all in plaid and sporting beards, and said: look we're not hipsters, and everyone was like, dude, you're hipsters. Should he feel the wrath of the hipster hate now that he has been labeled one? That would be stupid.

So if some are good people (looking you, half of MetaFilter) how do you determine a good hipster from a bad hipster? And from a picture, no less? Yeah, let's stop with the hate.

There are jerks who wear every sort of fashion trend. Even if you have your little definition of who you're gonna hate, I think it sucks. If you have to get your snark on, do it on a real entity who you know for a fact is a horrible person.
posted by bobobox at 5:47 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think that the problem here is that hipsters -- and indeed anyone not part of an expressly political countercultural movement -- refuse to identify as such. It's almost like the tao:
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
~TTC: 1
For these groups, being identified by any collective term (no matter the external validity) is an implicit snub to their individual identity. So while they wear the uniforms and carry the boomboxes and ride the fixies out of a desire for community, they'll reject the label because it cheapens their individuality. Do they contradict themselves? Very well, they contradict themselves-- they are large and contain multitudes. So,

Dear free thinkers,

I have used
the term
that was
used by everyone else

and which
you were probably
avoiding
because it made you less cool

Forgive me
it was easier
than learning
all your names.
posted by The White Hat at 5:52 AM on May 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


Hate is a strong word. Mockery often arises from less drastic quarters, like disdain or condescension. Seeing hate in snark is incredibly common; it also usually signals a failure of perspective.
posted by breezeway at 6:00 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


The reflexive hipster hate reminds me of my grandfather in his pilly tracksuit avowing all David Bowie records to be "[FARTY RASPBERRY]." (Though even sillier is this notion that hipsters are a protected class.)
posted by applemeat at 6:02 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I for one love hipsters, they really take the heat off us rednecks.
posted by nola at 6:03 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think most hipster hate is old dudes or unfashionable dudes lamenting their lack of access to attractive and fashionable young ladies. Speaking as a fellow unfashionable dude, the solution involves self-respect and dignity.
posted by Kwine at 6:07 AM on May 28, 2010


I think the main definition of "hipster" that people use is a kind of nebulous tribalistic way to talk about authenticity; "I may genuinely like the idea of urban gardening, but Travis over there just got into it last year, and I daresay his jeans are too skinny; why, I do believe he's a hipster." So the only thing we can definitely say when trying to define hipsters is that they're concerned with remaining on the cutting-edge of coolness in a way that they feel makes them superior to you, which we know because we can see inside their heads. This requires the "hipster"-invoker to do some really amazing mental gymnastics: "Travis has a moustache, which bothers me; but culture as a whole has passed judgement on the aesthetic appeal of moustaches, so I have the dominant culture's ideals of aesthetics to back me up in my desire to disparage Travis; his moustache must be an IRONIC moustache; Travis is a hipster". From a mild annoyance at a behavior comes the assignation to a subculture -- a subculture invoked almost entirely to dismiss the members of it.

When it comes to a lot of demographic labels - like sex and race - well, one can't do much about the way one exits the womb. But hipsterism is a conscious choice

To say it's a conscious choice to be a "hipster" (which I don't believe it is; I'm still not convinced the word has any great meaning beyond "person I don't like who has different interests than I do") is, as far as I'm concerned, kind of beside the point. I think it's harmful to intellectually-stimulating polite discourse to hate on categories of people with the expectation that everyone else will know what you're talking about and smile and join in on the circle-jerk.

It all smacks of high-school-style in-group/out-group behavior that I find repellent and nasty, whether it's a bunch of football players talking about the faggots in the drama club, or a bunch of theatre kids talking about the meatheads on the football team. It's an impediment to good-faith conversation about behaviors that may be good or bad, substituting substantive discussions of said behaviors with a mild form of tribalism.

Ulimately, Astro Zombie's right, there are worse things to worry about than "Do hipsters exist?" or "Is it okay to hate on hipsters?" (to which my only answer is: hate on whoever you gotta hate on, I guess; birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, haters gotta hate). It just dismays me to see otherwise-intelligent people tossing around "hipster" like they're twelve-year-old boys calling things "retarded" or "gay". It dismays me not because I think the Glorious Cause Of Hipster Rights is being set back twenty years or whatever, more because I end up thinking less of the commenter who invokes "hipster" as a replacement for something interesting or funny or thoughtful.

On a more concrete level, related to the thread, it makes NO BLOODY SENSE to call the B2B indian-clothes-wearers "hipsters", to say that they're even authentic or inauthentic or belong to a particular subculture, because the FUCKING B2B IS A COSTUME PARADE, where the goal is, explicitly, to dress as you would not otherwise dress. There's a lot of intelligent and often-contradictory things to be said about the intersection of genocide and fashion (and fourcheesemac and others have been saying them in that thread), but "STUPID HIPSTERS, THEY RUIN THINGS" is not one of those interesting things. The blog posts about the B2B parade are one of the clearest examples I've ever seen of "hipster" being used only to arouse negative emotions against the people being discussed.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:08 AM on May 28, 2010 [49 favorites]


It's fashionable to hate on hipsters. It's also tiresome how it crops up in every thread where there might be links to something about something that hipsters do or like. (Or should that be "like".) Nthing DU that the people in the Indian warbonnets were not hipsters. They're frat boys.
posted by rtha at 6:08 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with seagull.apollo and Greg Nog if I see the word hipster in an FPP I know to avoid that thread because it's just going to be full of FARK level hipster (read: other) bashing. I don't think we need a site-wide ban, but I'd love a cultural understanding that when you're posting something with the word hipster in it you're being lazy.
posted by edbles at 6:10 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


If there's one thing common to hipsters, it's that their involvement with things they enjoy comes in at a false, ironic level.

This. The true hipster (throughout history) is a poseur, an appropriator, a follower; combined with the arrogance or narcissism that allows them to believe they are none of those things. "I liked beards, birth-control-glasses and dirty clothes way before everyone else did."

And there is the irony thing. They use the shield of "oh, I'm being ironic" to excuse what amounts to making fun of people.

There is also, among the "true" hipsters, a mile wide streak of judgmentalism, "look at me enjoying life much more fully and purely than you. You suck for not peacocking your preferences they way I do."

For hipsters "of a certain age", they probably didn't fit in in high school, and are now loving fitting into their chosen clique of not fitting in.

They are fanboys (and girls) of "authenticity". They don't love the thing, they love loving the thing, and love competing in showing their love.

There is a fundamental difference between being who you are and being a hipster. It is statistically impossible for someone who is just being themselves to ALWAYS happen to look, act and love the same way as everyone else near them.

Agreed, the headdress wearers don't seem to he hipsters to me. But maybe there are different veins of hipsterism that I haven't yet seen, where posing and appropriating frat-bros is the new thing?
posted by gjc at 6:12 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is why we can't have nice things. Because the hipsters appropriated them all to use in a self-consciously ironic way.
posted by iconomy at 6:15 AM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


It kind of reminds me of the 90s when people who you thought were rational started calling people "politically correct." It's a term that tells someone, "Shut up. We're not going to talk about the actual issue at hand because I'm labelling you as this thing which invalidates your opinion."
posted by chococat at 6:15 AM on May 28, 2010 [21 favorites]


Whem they stop riding fixies I will stop loathing them....When they start selling this shit at Urban Outfitters your trend is dead and over.

It's your lucky day, I guess?
posted by piratebowling at 6:16 AM on May 28, 2010


It is statistically impossible for someone who is just being themselves to ALWAYS happen to look, act and love the same way as everyone else near them.

You'd be surprised! Everyone I know wears T-shirts and jeans on the regular. Even I wear pants all the time, despite the fact that I'd really much rather wear kilts, or, ideally, nothing at all.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:18 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


"look at me enjoying life much more fully and purely than you."

If this is what we take away when looking at others we probably don't enjoy our lives enough.
posted by applemeat at 6:19 AM on May 28, 2010


This thread frightens me.
posted by bondcliff at 6:19 AM on May 28, 2010


Last year about this time The Boyfriend and I went to a wedding at which the groom and all the groomsmen wore black Chuck Taylors. And you know what? It was fun, and cool, and dorky and trendy at the same time. (None of us drank PBR, though, since the bride's parents had kindly shelled out for Johnny Walker Black Label.)

I like weird art shows and stupid craft fairs, and it's true that The Boyfriend and I both have a lot of American Apparel in our closets. We live in a brownstone in Brooklyn. He has a beard. I have a blog. We get seltzer delivery. Earlier this week a friend gave us some Mennonite whoopie pies, which we ate while watching Mad Men on Netflix.

If you looked at us, or at the people we hang out with, you might say, "Bah! Hipsters." But we're also both MeFites, and we're also both much too nerdy to have been invited to the cool parties in high school.

I don't think either of us are usually obnoxious and condescending -- at least I hope not. At the end of the day we're just people. Kind of like you. (Except we have seltzer. I'm sorry. Was that smug? I can't help it. Seltzer makes me smug. But if you ever come visit, I will totally share.)

While it's easy to snort at bearded, hoodie-wearing, iPod-rocking dudes on the street, I feel like the root of it is at least partly jealous, combined with that irresistible urge to knock people who are either too like you or too unlike you. Blah, blah, blah, etc. etc.
posted by brina at 6:23 AM on May 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


I roll my eyes at hipsters for how much they care about irrelevant shit like being ironic, trend-setting by pack-following a different group of people, and because they buy things for other reasons than their function.

I do so with a keen knowledge that obsessing about having a perfectly tailored jacket that complements my whatever is just as irrelevant, that I am a special-snowflake who follows the pack and my decisions are function-less and that the only reason it bugs me is because I cannot understand why someone would choose otherwise.

In the eyes of history, most of our decisions are so freaking irrelevant that it only secures our place in uselessness to argue whose irrelevant decision-making skills have more worth. The difference between a wolf t-shirt and a well-tailored blazer is meaningless to about 9/10 of the world and 99.999% of history.

I still roll my eyes at hipster culture, but I do so knowing I do not have a leg to stand on that I am somehow less of a douche than they are in the grand scheme of things.
posted by Hiker at 6:23 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like hipsters and if I were younger I would probably be one. The actual word hipster though? It's just embarrassing.
posted by iconomy at 6:25 AM on May 28, 2010


*body snatcher screech*
posted by fleacircus at 6:26 AM on May 28, 2010


Oh, and:
If there's one thing common to hipsters, it's that their involvement with things they enjoy comes in at a false, ironic level.

Could not disagree more. Much like Astro Zombie, anyone I can think of that people would categorize as "hipster" had some passion that pushed them towards their affectation or style. They are passionate about bikes. And beer (and I'm not talking about the ones drinking PBR*). Fashion and music. And films from the 70's. The Situationists. Contemporary art and making animated gifs. These are the kids I know that actually update their blogs, have real portfolios and are getting hired to work at some amazing places doing web design, fashion design and PR.

They all have a passion and drive. They may not sound like they have fully formed opinions or an overarching goal in life, but that is because they are in their 20's and early 30's. Christ. Who the hell is fully formed and doesn't sound a bit stupid at times at that age?

*PS, those kids you see drinking PBR? Although they may claim to enjoy it, they are drinking it because it is dirt cheap. And they are broke. And they still want to go out and have fun. I don't see the need to crucify them over that.
posted by piratebowling at 6:26 AM on May 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Looking at photos from mefite meetups would lead one to believe that many mefites look like hipsters. But since they're mefites and we nonironically drink beer with them and like them, they're not like *those* yucky hipsters over there. Some of my best friends etc.
posted by rtha at 6:27 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is why we cant.
posted by pracowity at 6:28 AM on May 28, 2010


My last FPP was to a blog that idiotically used "hipster" in the URL (but was still a neat website), and I made a point of avoiding that term in my post because I knew how the discussion would turn. It's just a dumb label.
posted by yeti at 6:33 AM on May 28, 2010


Here's a photo from a recent meetup in Chicago, for instance. I bet that if people who can't wait to say how much they hate hipsters and why were to materialize at a Chicago meetup, they would either explode from cognitive dissonance or have a really good time and wish they could move to Chicago. (The photo's really perfect, and if it appeared in yet another tired article in the NYT about a new band from Williamsburg, y'all would freak out.)
posted by rtha at 6:33 AM on May 28, 2010


This. The true hipster (throughout history) is a poseur, an appropriator, a follower; combined with the arrogance or narcissism that allows them to believe they are none of those things. "I liked beards, birth-control-glasses and dirty clothes way before everyone else did."

So the original hipsters, who were defined by their celebration of marginalized and despised cultural forms, particularly jazz, were contemptible because they were poseurs? I think they actually loved the stuff, and it wasn't a pose, and, anyway, we wouldn't have a lot of music if it weren't for the hipster. Lester Young was probably one of the first modern hipsters, in his porkpie hat and his exclusive language of self-invented hipster argot, and he basically invented the cool and sophisticated saxophone playing that made the birth of bop possible.

I mean, if you really want to talk the history of hip, I'm happy to have that discussion, but I am going to ask that we talk about real history, and not a caricature of it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:34 AM on May 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


Don't trust them new hipsters over there.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:37 AM on May 28, 2010


I am going to ask that we talk about real history, and not a caricature of it.

Sometimes I love you, AZ.
posted by brina at 6:38 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Looking at photos from mefite meetups would lead one to believe that many mefites look like hipsters.


OH MY GOD!!! We're living in an episode of The Twilight Zone the enemy was us all along. It also explains why everyone's faces look all melted.
posted by edbles at 6:39 AM on May 28, 2010


I'm an artist and hang out with lots of artist types at many venues and events that are serious tropisms for the hipster demographic. Here's the interesting thing: when you get real artists and real hipsters together at an event what you wind up with is a lot of really fake smiles, really loud talking, and that ghastly braying laughter.

And as someone whose basic essence is observation, what I observe at these events is that the artists are standing wearily, wearing fake smiles and tolerating the loudly stated and shallow opinions of the hipsters, who are all having too much wine and laughing much too loudly.

And here's the really important point: you can't tell the artists from the hipsters just by looking at them. Because everyone at these events dresses pretty much the same; artists and hipsters. Comfortable, cheap clothes, mostly dark, but sometimes brightly coloured.

And this is why I don't like these laugh and point "look at this freaking hipster" blogs, because you know what? Those people look like my friends.

"Hipster" isn't something you can see, it's a behavioural pattern and an attitude.

It's also worth noting that the hipsters are never the ones exhibiting the work; they're only there for the mass critique.

And the good news is that hipsters can be saved. If you engage with one on a real level for a sustained period of time, and get across to them that making things is fun and rewarding, they can make the transition from critic to creator... and in so doing you've lit another firefly against the darkness.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:42 AM on May 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hipster, in its current incarnation came into being in the early 2000's. I remember it distinctly because before people were calling each other hipsters, they were calling each other posers or just "emo" as a pejorative.

The hipster concept gained traction at that point because it happened to coincide with the rise of our spiffy new digital culture, in which everything was equally available to everyone. In the 90's and before, if a person wanted to consider themselves "part of the underground" it took some legwork. You had to go to shows and ask other people about bands they liked. You had to go to the right record stores, or special order records from catalogs. Often, if you lived in the middle of the country, you had to buy records on the hopes that they were good by association with some other band you liked (same members, same label, etc.) The same goes with movies. Those weird foreign horror movies that your friends passed around? You had to make a concerted effort to get two VCRs in the same place and make a blurry dub of Tombs of the Blind Dead or whatever you were into at that moment.

And then, very suddenly, everything was available to everyone. No one needed to pass around hissy Polvo cassettes or a nearly unwatchable copy of The Holy Mountain. Everything became available in the highest quality format and it would not degrade over time/number of copies.

And all the old timers lost their minds.

It's hard to stomach the concept that your hard-earned subculture is now everybody's subculture, or that it really isn't much of a subculture any more. They needed a way to quickly and easily of invalidate the tastes and ideas of someone who might like the same music and movies as them, but whose personality they found grating. Enter "the hipster." Greg Nog is right that it signifies nothing other than a person who you'd rather not have liking the same movies/music/tv as you.

Now do me a favor and get off my lawn, hipster.
posted by orville sash at 6:44 AM on May 28, 2010 [19 favorites]


It is statistically impossible for someone who is just being themselves to ALWAYS happen to look, act and love the same way as everyone else near them.

I used to take trips up to this gay bar in Richmond with the rugby team/GSA in college. Every time we did this people would try to dress a little snazzy to go out and drink and dance. Inevitably at least 3 of us on the butchy side of the continuum would have independently arrived at the nice jeans plus tight black t-shirt combo.
posted by edbles at 6:45 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love that in most discussions like this you can mentally swap 'hipster' for 'Mefite' and the comments still work and make sense.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:46 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


This thread has successfully convinced me that "hipsters", in the sense of the term most people on Metafilter appear to be using, do not actually exist.
posted by kyrademon at 6:47 AM on May 28, 2010


I bet that if people who can't wait to say how much they hate hipsters and why were to materialize at a Chicago meetup...

I've been. Hipsters? No. ...I was thinking more "AP honor students." Who are drunk.
posted by applemeat at 6:54 AM on May 28, 2010


honors
posted by applemeat at 6:55 AM on May 28, 2010


We're living in an episode of The Twilight Zone the enemy was us all along. It also explains why everyone's faces look all melted.

CURSED BY THEIR OWN HUBRIS
posted by Greg Nog at 7:02 AM on May 28, 2010


Hipsters almost universally don't like Prog-Rock.

That's lame.
posted by fuq at 7:07 AM on May 28, 2010


This thread has successfully convinced me that "hipsters", in the sense of the term most people on Metafilter appear to be using, do not actually exist.

Clearly you have never ridden the L or F trains in NYC.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:08 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, was that the Twilight Zone where their faces were all melty because they had reversed beauty in an Orwellian fascist state, melty because they agreed to wear masks reflecting their inner characters as part of an estate execution and their faces froze like that, or that other show, (maybe an Outer Limits?) where it was an exchange between planets who had different ideas of physical standards?

That's the problem with melty faces: they all run together.
posted by adipocere at 7:10 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The nice thing about a meta about hipsters is that there is no mention of Lady GaGa...

well, crap, I just screwed that up, didn't I...
posted by HuronBob at 7:14 AM on May 28, 2010


Clearly you have never ridden the L or F trains in NYC.

I want you to know that thanks to this I am now slamming face into my desk repeatedly.
posted by edbles at 7:14 AM on May 28, 2010


I never thought of hipster being exclusive to youth. I know at least a few middle aged people who seem to fit the hipster lifestyle and image, which I'm sure isn't accidental. There seems to be a sliding scale for different people as to what makes a hipster, but for me it's always involved some level of commitment. Wearing an ironic t-shirt with a goofy haircut just makes you quirky. There's a huge gray zone and I couldn't define what I think a hipster is, but I know it when I see it.

A real hipster would be immersed in the "hip" movies, music, fashion, clubs, books, and political talking points. It's the big picture, you're either full-on hipster or you're not a hipster. And depending where you are on the trend cycles, a hipster to one person could seem behind the times to another. Much of what I think of as hipsters seems to be counterculture with nicer clothes.

I love many of the same things the hipsters do, but I'm not committed enough to a look or consistency to pull it off. I look like a NARC, watch too much CBS, and too much of my wardrobe is from JC Pennys to ever be mistaken for a hipster. I don't hate hipsters, but I'm not beyond laughing at the expense at someone that tries to hard and still misses the mark.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:15 AM on May 28, 2010


What I find amusing about people who hate hipsters is that while the haters wax apoplectic over what bikes hipsters ride or what glasses they wear, the hipsters are out there generally having a good time.

They're grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it.
posted by JDHarper at 7:16 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Your favorite hipster sucks.
posted by sanko at 7:16 AM on May 28, 2010


I always thought that hipsters started with these ad graphics.
posted by HuronBob at 7:16 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I covered this already.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:18 AM on May 28, 2010


Astro Zombie: "Yes, that sort of behavior is terrifically annoying. And it is commonly associated with hipsters.

I live in Minneapolis, which is a sort of hipster Eyjafjallajokull, blasting great clouds of hipsters into the atmosphere constantly, disrupting air traffic worldwide.
"

God, I love this visual...vast clouds of madras and fedora wearing hipsters clutching their special bikes as they travel air currents around the world. France, China, New Zealand...who knows where they will end up?

Anyway, We were hipsters in '86: wearing flannel, listening to REM and drinking Rolling Rock. We were hipsters in '92: co-opting skater chic and loving Jane's Addiction. Now the hipsters are doing yet some other "cool thing" because it's what groups of young people do. Stop hating on hipsters. It's a pretty standard rite of passage. God...it even happens when you turn 40...if I see one more woman with a Vera Bradley bag and a Trollbead bracelet I'm going to freak out!
posted by victoriab at 7:22 AM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Would hipsters that deny being a hipster/say they hate hipsters be hypocritsters?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:22 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Stereotyping can be the harmful use of one's power in a) a patriarchy b) a society of racism c) a capitalist economy or d) any number of other structures of power inequality. On the other hand stereotyping can simply be an exaggeration of aspects of everyday culture done for comic or discursive effect, with knowledgeable reference to existing power structures. It's also a particularly effective way for groups wielding less power in a society to refer safely to their own status; it's the basis behind all ethnic humour.

I see what you mean, but I don't think this really gets at what's off-the-mark about the OP's objection to stereotyping of "hipsters." You're making it sound like stereotyping is just fine if it's done by a less powerful group about a more powerful group.

So, since you mentioned "patriarchy," you might say (at the risk of putting words in your mouth) that women are allowed to stereotype men, while men aren't allowed to stereotype women. But I'd argue that this is wrong on a number of levels. For one thing, once you go around stereotyping people, this isn't confined to the one group that's being stereotyped -- it sends a general message that the culture accepts the idea of stereotyping. Like it or not, those who stereotype men just aren't going to have much credibility if they turn around and say women shouldn't be stereotyped. After all, stereotyping one gender logically is stereotyping another gender -- since most stereotypes are relative, and there are only two genders. (For instance, if I say, "Men are violent!" I'm also implying that women are relatively peaceful -- otherwise my reference to men would be vacuous.) In addition, you may assume that women on the whole are the relatively powerless people in society, but I doubt you're envisioning, say, the incarcerated population when (if) you're saying this.

But again, I don't think any of that really gets to what's problematic about the OP's objection. The thing is: "hipsters" aren't like gender or race or sexual orientation. A hipster is, by definition, a certain kind of person who does things a certain way. That's all the word means. And it's fine not to like those tendencies. But a person who's black or white or male or female or gay or straight isn't by definition someone who acts a certain way. Maybe men have certain quirks to their behavior, and women have certain quirks to their behavior, but when you point them out, it's much dicier, because there might be other men/women who don't do those things. (For instance, I do believe that all too many men should be criticized as overly violent, but I don't want all men crticized as violent, because many men are peaceful and shouldn't be put down based on other people's behavior -- and this makes sense even if, or especially if, you believe that our society is well-described as a patriarchy.) In contrast, "hipster" is so malleable you can make it mean whatever you want. Who would be offended if you say that all hipsters, say, are phony? You're right, as long as your definition of hipster includes someone who's phony. Few people strongly identify with "hipster" (the way they do strongly, emotionally identify with woman, man, black, American, Jewish, Muslim, vegetarian, etc.), so people are more likely to think, "Well, that doesn't include me," rather than "Hey, that offends me as a hipster."
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:23 AM on May 28, 2010


I commented in both the headdress thread and the lesbian hipster fashion thread and other than as a (self?) identifier in the lesbian thread, I thought the term hipster was a red herring in both of them. It seems to be a red herring in most threads where the hipster hate is on. I don't doubt folks who tell me whichever version of the hipster stereotype they've run into is real, but the word seems to mean so many different things to so many different people that I couldn't identify a hipster if I tried.

If I had to guess I'd say some of the hipster hate comes from nerd hate of cool kids in high school (Metafilter being nerd-heavy) and the pile-on snark tendencies around here. Both of those make me uncomfortable, and I suspect that's the kind of thing that's bothering a lot of folks who feel icky about it.
posted by immlass at 7:26 AM on May 28, 2010


Nope, not convinced.

*continues hating*
posted by chugg at 7:35 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always think of this guy when I hear the word hipster.
posted by Sailormom at 7:36 AM on May 28, 2010


What is the hipster, as we know him? A slender, effeminate man in women's jeans who is obsessed with culture and fashion. Ask yourself what people might find threatening about hipsters?

Look, I've thought this was obvious for a while now, but maybe not. "Hipster", used pejoratively on the internet, is a code word for "sissy" or, yeah, one of its several less-nice synonyms.

As a matter of fact at this point I basically have a subconscious word-replace function in my head that swaps out "hipster" for, you know, "gay". You learn a lot.
posted by chaff at 7:36 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd argue for the word being a slur. On Mefi I have been been continually surprised by the number of 'I'm a hipster' posts, but regardless, outside of the internet it has been rare for me to find someone that self-identifies as a hipster. It's what you call the Other, in Greg Nog's words. While it isn't on the same level as other slurs based on gender, ethnicity, race, etc, it comes from the same place.
posted by seagull.apollo at 7:37 AM on May 28, 2010


The line between nerd and hipster can be very difficult to locate. They do tend to despise each other, but I think it's for the same reason that Jesus and the Pharisees despised each other: Because they wee so very much alike that they had to distinguish themselves with excess vitriol.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:37 AM on May 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


Here's the problem with "hipster" as a brand. We connect a lot of unrelated traits with each other, and then in using the label "hipster" we associate individuals with all those traits when maybe only one or two apply to them.

I've got friends who are avid music lovers. When we talk about music there's occasionally talk of XYZ band's not being as good as they used to be. I was just talking about that yesterday re: the new Arcade Fire singles, which don't strike me the way their older stuff did right from the get-go.
That's not me claiming some kind of authentic Arcade Fire fan status. It's just my initial thoughts on the music. But I'm sure it would be easy to go RORY LIEKD ARCADE FIRE BEFORE YOU HEARD OF THEM HURRR and just assume that I also wear plaid, ride fixed gears, drink PBR, and whatever else hipsters do that you hate them for.

Of course "hipsters" hate being called hipsters! Of course they're all going to deny being hipsters! If you have a dozen different "hipster traits" and most people fall under three or four of them, all of those people are going to be irked when you accuse them of being hipsters.

About Hipsters And Irony

Whenever somebody accuses hipsters of "making ironic commentary on the lack of values of" whatever, it makes me think the people in question have never talked to any of these people ever. I have, so you can call me an authority.

Hipsters don't do irony the way you think they do irony. They like Wes Anderson* quite earnestly. The ones I've seen buy PBR buy it because they like it more than the other beers that are available. I mean, these are people that also drink Keystone Light at parties. And Keystone Light tastes like urine. But nobody suggests Keystone Light is ironic. It's just a cheap fucking beer.

I had a professor who, while talking about the postmodernist art movement, would say the most ridiculous shit about Philip Glass and irony. He said that Glass's use of repetitive structures was to "prove the meaninglessness of melody", and that the point was specifically to make music that sounded bad. Which, like, fuck off, professor. People don't listen to Glass to prove their hatred of music. Hell, if you want repetition you have to go back to La Monte Young, and it's impossible to think La Monte Young hates music because he's a cheery gnome with an awesome beard.

That's the professor I think about when I read things like AdBusters' "Hipsters Are The End Of Civilization". You can only honestly think the entire movement's ironic if you've never met one of these people in your life. And you can only think people inside this social category are empty shallow shells if you've never tried to hold a conversation with one. I mean, they're largely young, but for young people I submit they hold better and more thoughtful conversations on average than, say, the guy decked out in all Abercrombie. And hipsters pay less for their clothes.

In fact, the irony irks me more than anything, because when you call somebody's love for something "ironic" you're suggesting they don't love the thing they profess to love. That's just goddamned rude.

* We accuse Anderson and Tarantino and Lynch of being "ironic" directors, but I've never liked the phrase. Because for all they all have their characters say and do things that real people wouldn't say or do, the end result is to evoke quite sincere emotions. Tarantino doesn't ironically comment on kung fu. He just rips of kung fu movies to create something incredibly fun/violent. Anderson's deadpan characters tend to be revolving around emotional dilemmas they can't bring themselves to openly discuss. Lynch tends to use irony to expose more sincere characters. As a fan of all three I'd like to think loving them doesn't instantly make you "ironic".
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:38 AM on May 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


A slender, effeminate man in women's jeans who is obsessed with culture and fashio

That to me is almost the opposite of hipster. At least as they exist today.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:40 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mornin' Jess, Cortex. Hope your day gets better!

I can't see how it won't.

And yes, there are too many threads about hipsters. We would like to see fewer of them. I live somewhere where there aren't any hipsters [or that means maybe I'm one?] so I am jealous of you getting to look at all these attractive arty people.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:40 AM on May 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


I live somewhere where there aren't any hipsters

Then you live in the hippest place of all.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:42 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


If we're letting the hipsters go, can we go back to making fun of Goths? I was always pretty good at that. They were weird. I wear black most of the time, too, and so was frequently mistaken for a Goth. So I can sympathize with the hipsters/cool kids/mefites whatever... I understand your frustration.



look at this guy. He's weird.
posted by ServSci at 7:43 AM on May 28, 2010


Oh, and I did mean they wee so very much alike. Under our clothes, we're all just people who are either peeing or are preparing to pee.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:43 AM on May 28, 2010


Some of my best friends are not true Scotsmen.
posted by cog_nate at 7:44 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


The line between nerd and hipster can be very difficult to locate. They do tend to despise each other, but I think it's for the same reason that Jesus and the Pharisees despised each other: Because they wee so very much alike that they had to distinguish themselves with excess vitriol.

My despise for nerds is that people who use the phrase tend to be labeling themselves specifically to hold themselves above other categories. I know jocks who play WoW and actors who play D&D and film snobs who program, but none of them are nerds. The people past 16 who call themselves nerds use it to excuse their cultural insensitivity and to tell themselves how much purer and refined their tastes are. Exhibit A for me is Reddit, whose members tell themselves constantly how much better it is not to have girlfriends and to quote Monty Python nonstop and how much stupider people who aren't in IT are. It's gotten better in the last year and a half, but it was basically a big lonely nerd circlejerk.

I think I'm allowed to despise people who're self-righteous about their "culture". Meanwhile, hipsters are the opposite because hipsters don't think there is a hipster culture. And they get labeled specifically to be held below other categories. They're the anti-nerd.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:46 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


The hipster threads remind me way to much of High School. I hated high school.

Labels suck.
posted by mmmbacon at 7:48 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I mean, they're largely young, but for young people I submit they hold better and more thoughtful conversations on average than, say, the guy decked out in all Abercrombie.

You had me till the Abercrombie line. On preview also the self-identifying nerd rant.

In fact, the irony irks me more than anything, because when you call somebody's love for something "ironic" you're suggesting they don't love the thing they profess to love. That's just goddamned rude.

One thousand times, yes. My dad used to like to tell this story about a buddy in college who was working as a nurse on or was doing his residency on a psychiatric ward who told him this story about the lesson he learned working with mentally ill patients. There was one patient who he had gotten to be friendly with who was otherwise a lucid intelligent and rational, but happened to believe he was the King of France. One day Dad's friend finally had to ask, the cognitive dissonance was just too much, so he asks the guy "C'mon you don't really think your the King of France do you?" The guy calmly slapped him across the face so hard my dad's friend got knocked off balance and the patient proceeded to resume his seat. Yes, whatever thing that someone believes that you think is completely ridiculous, they do actually believe that, they aren't just thinking those thoughts to irk you.
posted by edbles at 7:52 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, PBR?

I wonder if they pay David Lynch big time royalties, or what?

That said, I could stand to be less knee-jerky on the subject, I suppose. The headdress thing, I was trying to be somewhat earnest. The androgynous clothing thread, though, I kinda crapped in. Still -- my thinking on that:

I grew up in the Castro in the 1970's, as a straight male. The deal there was you either learned to accept that your neighbors were just your neighbors, or you went insane like Dan White. So I learned at a pretty young age that who you slept with was none of my business, and really not important for me to think about at all. The thing that grated with me about that post was not the "look at us, we're making fashion" part, it was the "this is important because we're gay" part. No, it's not.

I think gay equality is an important issue, and I'd fight you for it -- but stuff like that seems to me to reinforce the "other" and detract from the part where people who prefer to have sex with people of their own gender are pretty much just like the rest of us in every other way, and lets get on with the not making an issue out of it part. It's hard to encapsulate that in a pithy/snarky sentence -- hell it's hard to encapsulate that in several paragraphs, and I may even be off-base about some of my ideas about gay recognition and acceptance, so if I pissed off any young, fashionable people with my post crapping, sorry about that. Please feel free to wear whatever you want and to have sex with whomever you share a mutual attraction.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:06 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please feel free to wear whatever you want and to have sex with whomever you share a mutual attraction.

Great! That was already my plan!
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:11 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Great! That was already my plan!

That green kilt really looks atrocious with the flo pink headdress, though, dude.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:15 AM on May 28, 2010


Seriously, PBR?

I always thought this too. I'm from Canada, and PBR is an import here. You can get micro-brewed deliciousness for a twoonie more. 'Who bothers with Pabst?' I scoffed, smug with my superior beer knowledge.

Then one day I went down to LA for a polo tournament. Shit's cheap! And when it's cold from the 7-11, who's going to knock it? Someone will, and justifiably so. It's crappy, stereotypically American beer. But it's just not that bad, and if you don't care, then drink it. I'd liken it to smokers and their cigarettes, in that you pick a brand and go with it. There are a lot of people that don't care about the beer they drink, so if you don't care you might as well have what everyone else is having.
posted by seagull.apollo at 8:17 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


PBR is popular because of a really great stealth-marketing campaign.
posted by box at 8:17 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You'd be amazed how often in gets me laid, though.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:17 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please feel free to wear whatever you want and to have sex with whomever you share a mutual attraction.

Alright, sorry - that sounds asinine & condescending, too. I'd delete that if I could.

Is it a disease I got from this infected plate of beans?
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:17 AM on May 28, 2010


Here's a photo from a recent meetup in Chicago

Woo, that meetup was awesome. That picture was taken at karaoke bar the Blue Frog, where they were having $2 PBR night, and who doesn't like getting drunk for less when in the company of friends? I think we can all, Shatner and Rollins included, get behind that. MeFi's resident hipster Juliet Banana was there, and she sang something that I totally don't remember because, I mean, look at all those empty cans. I was plastered. But she rocked the house, as she always does. Good times.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:35 AM on May 28, 2010


I've been on a "how do people describe things outside of themselves or their direct experience" kick the last couple days, and the largely-external definitions of hipster are kind of fascinating to me. I'd kind of like to roundup a bunch of different people's personal characterizations of "hipster" and try to figure out where it all overlaps and where it doesn't and how that relates to the circumstances and demographics of the people doing the defining.

Shit's cheap! And when it's cold from the 7-11, who's going to knock it?

Exactly. At the end of the day, sometimes cold weak American macrobrew lager at half the price of everything else is an okay fit for the situation. I'm a genuine beer lover in a beer lover's town, I don't just not know better, and PBR et al aren't good beers in any craft sense, but they are cold and beer and cheap and not distracting, and sometimes that's perfect.

I drink a lot less of the stuff lately since I haven't been playing out with bands, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:45 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


people in skinny jeans and thick glasses sipping a PBR at an indie rock show talking about how their first album was way better

Every few years, you see a new generation of "people in xxx (clothing) and xxx (fashion accessory) sipping a XXX (beverage of the moment) at an XXX(genre) rock show talking about how their first album was way better."

The more things change, the more they stay the same. When I was the appropriate age, we were all wearing elephant bell bottom jeans and desert boots (also known as chukka boots), drinking Michelob because we were too cool for Coors, and talking about how Emerson, Lake and Palmer's first album was better, and wow, doesn't disco suck?

Hipsters are just the latest generation's version of angst-ridden younger people trying to differentiate themselves from the generation before them, while the older generations make snide remarks about how they think they're all different, yet they all look alike. Goth was over when it showed up in Hot Topic; tattoos were over when 40-something suburban moms started getting tramp stamps; Hipsterism ends when it shows up in Urban Apparel, and the cycle starts all over again.

Personally, I find that as with people in general, there are some hipsters I like quite a lot, others I dislike intensely, and the majority I don't even bother to think about much. Poseurs of any type irritate me, and I like sincere people pretty much regardless of what it is they're sincere about.

And btw, as someone who is 1/8 American Indian, I wasn't offended by the headdresses so much as I was offended by the fact that they were cheap, tacky, poorly made headdresses. I mean, really, people - quality matters! I guess I'm just not hip enough to appreciate that dimestore headdresses are just as cool as airstream trailers and little silhouettes of birdies sitting in bare-branched trees.

Now, all you kids - I don't really care what you do on my lawn, but just be aware that if your dog shits on it, my feral cat colony is liable to destroy him.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:45 AM on May 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


my feral cat colony

I wasn't aware cats had a hive mind. It does explain however why mine occasionally runs into doors. Clearly he's lost his uplink to the queen mother.
posted by edbles at 8:51 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


MY DEFINITION OF HIPSTER IS: YOU EAT COOKIES AT TIMES.

WHO WILL CAST THE FIRST STONE NOW, MOTHERFUCKERS?
posted by everichon at 8:53 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ban Hipster Threads.
posted by hazyspring at 9:00 AM on May 28, 2010


The entire lifestyle sits in judgment of genuine fun. For that, I do not forgive.

So much hipster criticism takes the precise form of thing it professes to dislike. The implicit message of much hipster-hate is really that they are uncool, that they fail to really dig things, that they are, basically squares; while their critics, who are in a position to see this, are absolved from all of those failures. Many of these hipster/anti-hipster arguments remind me of the temperamental conflicts between the champions of Pop art and the champions of Abstract Expressionism.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:05 AM on May 28, 2010


FWIW, we've been celebrating hipsterism (I guess) in Philly at Bob and Barbara's with the trailer park special (PBR and a shot of some cheap rotgut) for decades. I confess to going there many times on my track bike when I worked as a bike messenger in the 90s. So yeah, I guess in a lot of ways I was a "hipster". You know what I think though? I think it's great that these kids like bikes. The other day I saw 5 bikes in a row (no cars) cross Broad St. on Spruce at rush hour. I was like, Damn! Lotsa people riding bikes!

So anyway, the hipster hate – I think a lot of it is based on jealousy. I have kids and a house and stuff, and I don't have the time to go to 3 rock shows a week anymore, or play in a band. I don't have the money to spend a few grand on a track bike that I don't really need (sold my race bike a couple years back, sniff!). I could see how some people could feel bitter about that stuff. I've been wishing I could get a new bike for years now, but the old one is still working. But even so, I don't wish these kids ill. I make the odd joke, sure, but I am poking fun at myself as much as anything else. The thing is, I am past all that now. Sure, a new bike would be nice, but keeping up with fashion? No thanks! Dating? GAAAH, kill me instead. I think my wife still finds me reasonably attractive, that's enough for me. Going to rock shows? Makes my ears, head, and feet hurt. There need to be more rock shows at like 3 pm on Sunday.

So yes, I've moved away from all that stuff, and now I watch others going through it—it's part of growing up. I really don't want to go back to all that, because I love my family, and I love things like not smoking anymore and not drinking to excess. I love getting up at 6:30 to talk with my little kids about Nintendo and Star Wars and the likelihood of various monster incursions into our house. I love these things unironically and whole-heartedly. Maybe this makes me sound a bit smug...
posted by Mister_A at 9:08 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wasn't aware cats had a hive mind.

A hive mind is a terrible thing to waste.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:12 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


http://bikes.urbanoutfitters.com/build.asp

This is hipsterdom to me. A fancy flash-based "build your own bike" thingy, were all the options are different colors with garishly contrasting templates and a f-ing random button. No selection of higher quality rims, lighter handle bars, or more comfortable seats. You kids should have been on the ski slopes in the early 90's. All fashion no function.
posted by Big_B at 9:13 AM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


The entire lifestyle sits in judgment of genuine fun.

Some of them, sure, but lots of them just like different stuff than you and they have different ways of showing how much they like that stuff.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:14 AM on May 28, 2010


This is hipsterdom to me.

This is hipsterdom any GTA clone to me.

FTFY.
posted by edbles at 9:19 AM on May 28, 2010


I've watched as people have mocked fixies and silently cheered because I loathe fixies.

Or so I thought until early this morning when the truth came to me:

I just really fucking love derailleurs.
posted by vapidave at 9:21 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I picture the population of Metafilter as a kind of modified Venn diagram. The diagram is enclosed in a big box labelled "Nerd", because seriously people, we're all giant nerds and proud of it. Inside the box are three overlapping circles: one for "Hipster", one for "Computer Genius" and one for "Crotchety Old Grump". Some of us are nerdy hipsters (like me). Some of us are are nerdy computer geniuses who are also crotchety old grumps. Etc, you get the point. I guess I'm saying that hipster can mean what you want it to, and I take it to mean well-informed, artistically inclined bon vivant with a zest for witty banter and an elevated consciousness of what life truly means. I know, I'm such an optimistic naif.
posted by Go Banana at 9:24 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


All fashion no function.

Yup. They certainly are selling a bike with no pedals and no handlebars that clearly can't be ridden anywhere or help reduce your carbon footprint. They made it easy for someone who hasn't subscribed to a fixee 'zine to purchase a single speed bicycle that's any color they WANT. It's fucking terrible.
posted by edbles at 9:24 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


How do people not get what hipsters are? They're bohemian yuppies. That's it.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 9:26 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Derailers > dérailleurs.
(but only their first album har har har)
posted by entropicamericana at 9:28 AM on May 28, 2010


I've gotten my hate on for "hipsters" in the past but I agree that it's more about the "ironic for the sake of ironic, too cool for you, anti-conforming conformist" aspects that I really find objectionable, from direct "are we still in high school?" experience.

I move for a new designation and suggest "ironicons."

It's a hybrid of "ironic confirmists" and "ironic con artists" because their goal is ultimately to convince you that you can never attain their state of detached smugness.

My worst experiences were being single and trying in earnest to associate with "these" people, even some I've known for 10 years, only to be brushed aside when the cool alpha dogs make their appearance.
posted by aydeejones at 9:32 AM on May 28, 2010


"Youth is wasted on the young." -- George Bernard Shaw.
posted by ericb at 9:37 AM on May 28, 2010


What I find amusing about people who hate hipsters is that while the haters wax apoplectic over what bikes hipsters ride or what glasses they wear, the hipsters are out there generally having a good time.

You don't have to consume to have a good time, but wise hipsters have learned that it can't hurt.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:39 AM on May 28, 2010


I move for a new designation and suggest "ironicons."

At least now we know who the Autobots really ought to be waging their battle to destroy.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:40 AM on May 28, 2010


vapidave: "I just really fucking love derailleurs."

DERAILLEURS!?

FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

INTERNAL. HUB. GEARING.
posted by boo_radley at 9:44 AM on May 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Shaft drive is where it's at. Or go really retro, penny farthing.
posted by fixedgear at 9:49 AM on May 28, 2010


Seriously, PBR? One of my favorite bands name dropped it in a new song, and on a gut level, I stopped liking them as much. That's pretty much how I feel towards ironic affection and the folks who practice it. If you like something, just like it, and don't worry about how cool it might seem to other people.

Hmm... I feel like I have to defend country singer Eric Church, whose song Pledge Allegiance to the Hag (Youtube) includes the line "get loud and rowdy on PBR". The theme of that song seems to be more nostalgia than irony.

But maybe he's just a Country Music hipster.
posted by Jahaza at 9:52 AM on May 28, 2010


fixedgear: "Shaft drive is where it's at. Or go really retro, penny farthing"

There's a dude in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver who's got a penny farthing. I see him climbing up crazy grades on that goddamn thing and it blows my mind every time he rolls by, dressed in his orange blaze safety jacket and modern bike helmet.
posted by boo_radley at 9:54 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Custom Bicycle I'm not sure if these guys are messengers, hipsters, hipster messengers or messenger hipsters. It's teh funny, though.
posted by fixedgear at 9:55 AM on May 28, 2010


Fucking internal hub gears, how do they work?
posted by vapidave at 10:00 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


planetary gears all up in this hub

(RAINBOWS)
posted by boo_radley at 10:04 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought hipsters were all hat, no cattle. Can't say I feel any more informed about 'em for having read this thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:10 AM on May 28, 2010


Internal hub gears work like this. Easy peasy!
posted by fixedgear at 10:20 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Omg, why *would* anyone want to self-identify as a hipster?! Listen to all this judgemental crap. Many of us are being absolute jerks here. And there is a whole lot of negativity and othering going on. Which is the OPs point. Many of us are sitting here arguing over the meaning of a word, a label, which is a shortcut for defining a group of people. A group of people we don't quite understand. And we're trying to stay away from the visual signifiers, so, what? We launch into character assessments!

They drink crap beer, not because it's cheap, but because they're being ironic!
They don't have dirt on their skinny jeans, not because they take pride in their clothing, but because their fashion choices aren't authentic!
They ride bikes, not because it's fun and enviro-friendly, but because they're a bunch of trendy followers!
They go to art shows and bands, not because they like them, but because they're making a statement about superficiality!
They eat healthy and talk about it, not because they're trying to raise awareness about sustainable living, but because they enjoy being trifling in restaurants and grocery stores!

And on and on. But what the fuck do we really know about them and their motivations?

And yes, I sound smug, and maybe I am. Can you forgive me, or have I justified some hate that needs to be exercised? And if so, why? Can't we just accept people for who they are?
posted by iamkimiam at 10:22 AM on May 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


I am reposting this cause
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM on May 28, 2010


Omg, why *would* anyone want to self-identify as a hipster?!

I used to. Then I got too old to be a hipster. Not sure what that makes me now. Maybe just the weird old guy in the back at rock shows?
posted by Nothing... and like it at 10:29 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay anyone who is complaining about hipsters ironically appropriating gauche culture raise your hand.

Now, anyone who has ever purposefully typed 'hope me,' 'teh funnay,' 'i can haz,' 'how is babby formed,' or similar, please raise your hand.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:32 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


dude I have said those things OUT LOUD.
posted by The Whelk at 10:32 AM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


TO OTHER PEOPLE.
posted by The Whelk at 10:32 AM on May 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


Yeh but sometimes fashion and making yourself look good is fun

Okay, so, if you do [something] for fun, then you shouldn't really get bent out of shape if people mock it, because mocking can be fun, too. It's a whole different category from, say, being something that you cannot change, or are emotionally or intellectually committed to.

So: someone is [race] or [gender]? Don't go there. Someone is [religion] or [politicial party]? Probably shouldn't go there, unless they're also [hypocrite|phony], in which case they're not actually committed to it and the people who are committed to it should mock them. Someone who is doing [random fun thing], on the other hand, doesn't (or shouldn't) suffer from being mocked, because it's just [random fun thing]. People who get deeply, emotionally connected to identifying their persona with [random fun thing] are going to get mocked, too, but you'll always have people investing emotionally in foolish things -- just like you'll always have some people who mock things they shouldn't, like [race], [gender], [religion] and [political party].

In short: if you're a hipster, then you're in on the joke, and all this mocking isn't hurting you -- plus you probably have no truck with it, because you want other people to have fun, too. But if your feelings are getting hurt, you're taking it way too seriously and you should step back, before all the other fun-loving hipsters move on to the next big thing (and hell, I'd go with 'em if I could) and you're left working an office job wearing tight pants and a fedora and wondering why you aren't having fun any more.
posted by davejay at 10:36 AM on May 28, 2010


Omg, why *would* anyone want to self-identify as a hipster?! Listen to all this judgemental crap. Many of us are being absolute jerks here. And there is a whole lot of negativity and othering going on.

Drama can be a strong motivator. "Oh, I am so persecuted for my fashion and lifestyle choices!"

But what the fuck do we really know about them and their motivations?

If we're defining hipsters by their motivations then it's a tautology so I don't really see a problem.

I don't spend any time deriding hipsters though and I don't really care if someone only likes cheap beer ironically.
posted by ODiV at 10:48 AM on May 28, 2010


fixedgear, thanks for reminding me why I always take my 3-speed hubs to Curtis.
posted by Mister_A at 10:49 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ooooh, justifiable mocking! Is that what is going on here? Because it sounded more like insulting, othering, dismissing, mischaracterizing, nitpicking and obsessing to me. But maybe I'm not in on the joke. Or I have no sense of humor when it comes to this stuff. Or maybe I'm confused about who I am or where I belong (seriously, I'm a MeFite and I may be a hipster too. I love irony, but I don't even know how to ride a bicycle. And I'm 32, so I'm struggling to hold onto this misunderstood and despised youth identity. Frankly, I don't even know what I should feel pissed about.)
posted by iamkimiam at 10:51 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Intelligent members of this community turn into key pounding axe grinders at the drop of a (sharply styled, handmade) hat.

This isn't about hurt feelings. The use of the word hipster in the body of an FPP causes thread shitting, which leads to shitty threads. It's frustrating for those of us who want to discuss whether or not lesbian fashion exists and how it has changed through the years or the ethics or morality of wearing a caricature of native clothing, when we come into a thread and see a ton of "hurf durf hipsters pedal their fixees like this." If I wanted to read Buying Stuff White People Like For a Year I would go do that. I come to metafilter because it makes me more smarter and shows me different viewpoints. The seagull.apollo is arguing for having less shitty, more content based, more diverse threads, not for hugs and rainbows.
posted by edbles at 10:52 AM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am distressed to learn that iamkimiam doesn't know how to ride a bicycle. If you come to a Chicago meetup I will teach you because it is a valuable life skill.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:53 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]



Drama can be a strong motivator. "Oh, I am so persecuted for my fashion and lifestyle choices!"



these people do not exist and if they do you are allowed to beat them with oar.
posted by The Whelk at 10:53 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


how is happster formed?

GAUCHEGASM!
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:54 AM on May 28, 2010



GAUCHEGASM!

I'm trying to think of a better visual to go with this word but I keep coming back to this.


This is now the internet eats itself.
posted by The Whelk at 10:57 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am pretty sure The Whelk thinks in YouTube.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:02 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


iamkimiam: I'm just saying that, as I understand it, a hipster is defined as someone who has these characteristics:

They drink crap beer, not because it's cheap, but because they're being ironic!
They don't have dirt on their skinny jeans, not because they take pride in their clothing, but because their fashion choices aren't authentic!
They ride bikes, not because it's fun and enviro-friendly, but because they're a bunch of trendy followers!
They go to art shows and bands, not because they like them, but because they're making a statement about superficiality!
They eat healthy and talk about it, not because they're trying to raise awareness about sustainable living, but because they enjoy being trifling in restaurants and grocery stores!


So to say that we don't know anything about their motivations is false, because they are defined by them. Anyone whose motivations are not these is not a hipster.

Now you could say that we wouldn't really know who is actually a hipster, and you'd be right. The same holds true for any group defined by their beliefs, motivations, or thought processes (e.g. Christians).

Now deriding them isn't really that productive, I agree. But saying, "Hipsters have these sorts of motivations," is not really derision.
posted by ODiV at 11:02 AM on May 28, 2010


Metafilter: I come to metafilter because it makes me more smarter
posted by Big_B at 11:02 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now you could say that we wouldn't really know who is actually a hipster, and you'd be right. The same holds true for any group defined by their beliefs, motivations, or thought processes (e.g. Christians).

Christians, for the most part, self-identify, and the only way to make a Look At These Fucking Christians website would be to find photos of people wearing Campus Crusade sweatshirts or something, whereas you'll note that, for the most part, anti-hipster invective targets people based on their mode of dress or choices in entertainment or consumption.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:04 AM on May 28, 2010


Christians, for the most part, self-identify

Yeah, I don't think that's all that reliable, but that's kind of offtopic.

whereas you'll note that, for the most part, anti-hipster invective targets people based on their mode of dress or choices in entertainment or consumption.

I haven't seen any of these and I agree it's stupid and probably wrong in its assessment of many potential hipsters.
posted by ODiV at 11:08 AM on May 28, 2010


I'm a MeFite and I may be a hipster too. I love irony, but I don't even know how to ride a bicycle.

What shakespeherian said. That is truly sad. There is an AskMe that I posted in giving some easy no panic methods for learning to ride as an adult. It's one of life's great simple joys.
posted by fixedgear at 11:09 AM on May 28, 2010


people again Cat and Girl has had this conversation for you already
posted by The Whelk at 11:11 AM on May 28, 2010


Guys! I never knew Cat and Girl was actually funny. I always would see it linked, read the first one and get bored and wander off. I'm going to go read the archive backwards.

Metafilter does make you more smarter!!!!
posted by edbles at 11:19 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd just like to add that there's a long history of loving something ironically. Just ask some older soap opera fans.
posted by ODiV at 11:19 AM on May 28, 2010


Re: autobots, I do like the robotic connotation that "ironicons" implies, and it contains the word "icon" which parlays nicely too.

When I was in high school I was very avid "LaVeyan Satanist" and certainly had my own tribe of "anti conformity conformists" to consort with. But I always wanted to earnestly engage other people, not exclude, mock, or deride them.

My later experiences at Bender's and The Hi-Dive / Sputnik in Denver left a bad taste in my mouth, but I've met and befriended several "hipsters" and agree that when "they" do engage you and get to know you, you do feel like an ass for having pre-conceived notions. But when you receive smugness and snideness you've just gotta roll with it and not paint everyone with a broad brush.

Coors Light is better than PBR IMHO. Miller High Life, Hamms, and Old Style are jockeying for the coveted hipster-beer-crown, I've noticed.
posted by aydeejones at 11:20 AM on May 28, 2010


I have no idea about the bikes. I long ago gave up on them when I realized that bicycles were devices that, no matter what I tried, seemed designed to transport me, in particular, by flinging me into various objects rather than in a smooth horizontal translation. I could never pause in my headlong flight to witness the vicious machines folding back into the innocuous two-wheel form from the sudden catapult. Guns scare me less, by way of being at least being basically honest about their intent to leave me bleeding and alone in a ditch somewhere. I'm sure they're fine for other people, but maybe bikes aren't "into" me anymore.
posted by adipocere at 11:21 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: You Are Allowed To Beat Them With Oar.
posted by Mister_A at 11:26 AM on May 28, 2010


There is an AskMe that I posted in giving some easy no panic methods for learning to ride as an adult.

Do you happen to remember which one? You have 1,355 Ask answers.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:34 AM on May 28, 2010


Maybe this one.

(I Googled "learning ride bike 'posted by fixedgear' site:ask.metafilter.com", and it was the first result.)
posted by box at 11:52 AM on May 28, 2010


Oh right, Google.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:55 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Box has it. For kids there is a new-ish product, the Like a Bike. Pricey, but buy used or pass along to your in-laws or something. For adults you can see the consensus in that thread.
posted by fixedgear at 12:00 PM on May 28, 2010


Similarly, there's the Specialized Hotwalk. It has a regular 1" threaded headset, so you can upgrade to vintage Campy or Chris King or whatever.
posted by box at 12:08 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like a Bike is great for the wee ones.
posted by Mister_A at 12:10 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there a gyroscope in a wheel trainer, too? Was I just imagining that?
posted by boo_radley at 12:15 PM on May 28, 2010


I get hating on shallow, insincere, self-obsessed, arrogant people because, well, they're shallow, insincere, self-obsessed and arrogant (but I didn't notice this being a new thing)

and I get making fun of the bad fashion choices of the young, because who didn't fashion mistakes when they were young (and how are we going to convince ourselves we wern't that bad if we don't have someone else to point at)

and then there is pointing at other people and saying they look like this therefore they must be this because they must think like this.

So here's the thing. I live in Portland and spend part of my weekend volunteering at a bike project a block off Alberta and not so far form Mississippi which kinda puts us pretty close to hipster ground zero. We get all sorts of people in: sometimes it's the sweet older men who love tinkering, sometimes it's middle aged mums looking for a cheap commuter bike, sometimes its the locals on beat up full-suss chain store bikes with the milk crates on the back to collect cans in looking to get some air for their tires, and sometimes its those people.

And every time one of them walks through the door I think "hey maybe this is one of the hipsters everyone keeps talking about". But it never quite works out like that and I end thinking "oh I was mistaken, they were really some of the vegan punk kids, all kinds of sincere", or they'll be coming into put brakes on a fixie they just built.

So the other day these two guys walked in looking like the love child of Vice magazine and Cat and Girl. Me and the other mechanic glanced at each other and had to stop ourselves bursting out laughing.

Skinny Jeans? Check
Trilby? Check
Flannel shirt? Check
Stupid (even by Portland standards) mustache? Check
2 fixies with fluro deep V's, cut off riser bars and no brakes? Check, check and check.

It was like the triple powerball rollover mega-jackpot of hipster bingo.

So then? Couldn't have met a nicer couple of people. Turned out one of them knew a fair bit and had just come in to fit a more comfortable saddle for the other one and didn't really need any help, just to use the tools. But still they were really polite about it, made sure to ask our opinions on stuff, thanked us profusely. They hung around in the shop for a little while helping put air in some one tires while they told about how excited they were because they could finally get to go on the long rides they had been wanting to. Then they thanked us again and rode off. Man kids these days, I'm telling you.
posted by tallus at 12:15 PM on May 28, 2010 [23 favorites]


Oh like a bikes are great but as Sheldon Brown pointed out you can also just take the peddles of a regular bike and lower the saddle.
posted by tallus at 12:19 PM on May 28, 2010


Gyrobike.com
posted by fixedgear at 12:32 PM on May 28, 2010


The best part of making fun of hipsters is that nobody admits to being one so no one can get offended.
posted by empath at 12:44 PM on May 28, 2010


"and how are we going to convince ourselves we wern't that bad"

In that endeavor I've destroyed all the prints and negatives, time and beer will erase what were we talking about again?
posted by vapidave at 12:55 PM on May 28, 2010


We get seltzer delivery.
Wait, what? That's a hipster thing?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:01 PM on May 28, 2010


MORE BIKES
MORE LIKES
GOOOOOOOO HIPSTERS!

posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:05 PM on May 28, 2010


EMPATH IS A HIPSTER I SAW HIM IN AN IRONIC INFLATABLE RAFT LETS GET HIM
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:06 PM on May 28, 2010


i am a hipster and such. There is so much horror and misery in the world. There is so much terror and sickness and anger. There are problems that people should take seriously and work on. Let's not take the things seriously that aren't really that serious ok?

by the way the next sweet ironic trend is basketball shorts IM WEARING SOME RIGHT NOW WITH SOME KARATE SHOES CHOOCHOOO
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:10 PM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


It occurred to me that i accidentally dressed like a soviet sailor on shore leave yesterday. Does this make me a hipster?
posted by The Whelk at 1:12 PM on May 28, 2010


EMPATH IS A HIPSTER I SAW HIM IN AN IRONIC INFLATABLE RAFT LETS GET HIM

I really feel like we should have a DC meetup at one of the pool parties sometime.

You think you can guest list everyone?
posted by empath at 1:15 PM on May 28, 2010


We get seltzer delivery.
Wait, what? That's a hipster thing?


That's a New York thing.
posted by fixedgear at 1:16 PM on May 28, 2010


That's a New York thing.
But, why? What's so special about delivered seltzer water? Is it just that no one wants to lug around the bottles? Then why not beer (PBR, bien sur) or raw milk or kombucha? I guess the ways of the hipster defy rationality.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:24 PM on May 28, 2010


Seltzer Man Is Out of Action, and Brooklyn Thirsts

Full disclosure: If I could get seltzer delivered to my gated suburban community (I kid, I kid!) I would. It's fun to say, too. Seltzer! Salsa!
posted by fixedgear at 1:28 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is a great sucking void in America (and maybe much of the rest of the world) because of the absence of a well-defined Counter-Culture. There used to be Beatniks, then Hippies, then Punks, but it seems like ever since the Goth and Metal cliques fought each other to be the Next Big Counter-Culture and neither won, we have been flailing around, searching for somebody to call The Others.

I have been unsure of what the definition of "hipster" is and why the MetaFilter Community had a Hate-On for them and this thread has been very helpful. Especially considering the home base for this Internet Institution is Portland, considered one of the places you're most likely to encounter hipsters.

I like the "bohemian yuppie" label (I had already come up with "upper-class underground" but that choice of words is much better). Ironic-tude is also an important element, but that has been a pervasive part of our culture ever since David Letterman started laughing behind Larry "Bud" Melman's back. "Ironic Appreciation" is nothing more than "Guilty Pleasures" with goatees.

The snobbery aspect of hipsterdom would make it one of those categories of people who share SOME beliefs, tastes and loves with YOU but look down on you for not sharing ALL of theirs. In other words, a subcategory of Asshole. But the Hipster still falls far down the list of Assholes Ranked by Their Threat to ME (with Islamic Fundamentalists, Christian Fundamentalists, Somebody Else's Lawyers and Social Marketing Specialists at the top), no worse than Google Corporate Apologists, Devoted Fans of American Idol Finalists and Pot Heads).
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:38 PM on May 28, 2010


For a hundred bucks you can get a stripper dressed like Brian Setzer.
posted by hydrophonic at 1:40 PM on May 28, 2010


Selzer booooooy,
Where are you hiding?
If you don't come right now
I'm goin' tell you boss, on youuuuuuuuuuu...
posted by Melismata at 1:52 PM on May 28, 2010


For a hundred bucks you can get a stripper dressed like Brian Setzer.

I think you have the wrong thread, try this one.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:55 PM on May 28, 2010


Forgive me for possibly pointing out the obvious here, but maybe the reason so many people (not just mefites, by any means) have a problem with hipsters is that the name seems condescending. "Hipsters" seems to imply that they're hip...and that everyone else isn't.
posted by MexicanYenta at 1:56 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


onefellswoop:

Beatniks, Hippies, Disco, Punk, Hip-Hop, Ravers, Burners in that order.

I'm not sure where hipsters fit in, tbh. To me, they just seem to fit more in the slacker/grunge continuum than in the counter-culture.
posted by empath at 2:00 PM on May 28, 2010


Because I think the main thing that a true counter-culture requires is sincerity.
posted by empath at 2:02 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It occurred to me that i accidentally dressed like a soviet sailor on shore leave yesterday.

Don't tell anyone, but I listened to the first track off the new LCD Soundsystem just this moment. I then put on Til Tuesday's "Voices Carry" at full volume.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:16 PM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still wouldn't know what a hipster was if one bit me on the leg.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:21 PM on May 28, 2010


Frankly, I don't even know what I should feel pissed about.)
posted by iamkimiam at 10:51 AM on May 28 [1 favorite +] [!]


This nagging feeling...this...this is the birth of both hipsterism, and its reactionary anti-hipsterism.
posted by nickjadlowe at 2:26 PM on May 28, 2010


man, hipster used to just be an identifier for a particular fashion trend, or musical taste, or social atmosphere, etc... maybe all at once, maybe just one or the other. It didn't necessarily have negative baggage attached. And I'm not talking about beat poetry 50s counter-culture days, I mean the current name for the styles you imagine in your head when you hear the word. It's like punk or punk rock or hippy. Oh a hippy can have a tie died t shirt and sandals and long hair and smoke pot, sure. but then you can just go to a meeting where someone starts some kind of participatory hugfest among the attendees and even if they're all in business suits someone will say "man, this is some hippy bullshit." punk rock can have a mohawk or tattoos or leather or whatever, but it can also just be some guy in a polo shirt getting RIGHTEOUSLY in some fucking cop's face.

that's the way this shit goes. when we talk about things, we don't want to say "that thing where you have a beard and rivers cuomo glasses" or "that time when you go to a show and drink shitty beer." we want to say a word so that people know what we're talking about without an explanation.

the problem is that it was a REALLY easy step for hipster to become a word used in magazines for the metropolitan in-the-know youngster crowd. it was practically a return to the original usage of the word, but with the extra weight of modern expectations attached. and since much of that fashion movement was born out of the guilt of privilege ("I shop at thrift stores because I can't afford regular stores." "oh shit, that guy is authentic. I, too, will shop at thrift stores because I can't afford regular stores.") combined with the understandable desire not to conform to mass market consumerism, rejecting the label of being fashionable or in any way part of the consumerist machine was natural. people engaging in hipster-like things not wanting to be called a hipster because time out new york was suddenly using it to make their neighborhood bar a trendy new destination for the bridge and tunnel crowd is, though often enough annoying, still understandable.

but there's only so far that goes before it becomes recursive. not only that, there's only so far it goes before it stops having any god damn meaning.

and I strongly suspect that not only the origin of hipster as a negative term but its subsequent meaninglessness originates in hipster rejection of the word hipster. it happened with punk, though that's long enough ago (shut it, aging punks. you're still punk rock in the good way, ok?) that the worst punk needs to endure these days are mtv bands claiming to be punk rock. the rest of it has sort of settled. but back to hipster, the origin of hipster as a denigration probably originated in one of a thousand conversations like the following:

1: hey, did you hear in the village voice apparently Bar X is the new hipster hangout. apparently there's really good music there.
2: ugh. i hate that word. we're not hipsters. that word is obnoxious.
1: ok, you know what? fuck you, you fucking hipster.

so here we are. we can't even culturally identify this group, except as an overly broad denigration. so congratulations, you people who obey certain fashion dictates and/or drink certain things and/or listen to certain things. you have no name, except as a slight against you. hell, I've been called one, so WE have no name, except as a slight against us. and this is annoying, because now we're saying "hipsters are smug, or pretentious" instead of "hipsters are people who may wear trucker hats ironically." or "hipsters may listen to independent music." or whatever. and now we're fighting about whether that makes them hipsters or just assholes. it doesn't matter. the word really has, as has been mentioned, become meaningless. much as Girl in Cat and Girl is a total hipster, on top of being the most annoying character in web comics, she happens to be right that hipster is an insult, now. not a descriptor.

but once... ONCE... it was a useful word, before irony and uniform non-conformity made it stupid. and I think what is happening is that soon it won't matter if it's an insult. that will be the definition. it will simply represent slavish devotion to ironic fashion, or slavish devotion to ironic pretension, and that's it. the fashion associated won't be attached any more. the drinks, the music... you know, the things people enjoy... will have nothing to do with it. it'll be a multi-purpose insult for anyone acting all pretentious about their ironic whatever. and those people who like denim a whole lot, and beards and leg warmers will have to get a new name for their fashion. I recommend weenie. It won't carry the hip cachet of hipster, so they won't reject it quite so handily in an effort to feel out-of-the-mainstream. No one is going to publish articles about how Bar Y is the new Weenie hangout, and honestly expect anyone to show up, so their bars will remain unknown dive pieces of shit. there might wind up being a lookatthisfuckingweenie.com, but that's ok.

I think I'm on to something here.
posted by shmegegge at 2:30 PM on May 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


For one hundred bucks you can make your own seltzer.
posted by tinamonster at 3:12 PM on May 28, 2010


Hey! That's my seltzer guy in the New York Times!

Honestly? We get it because it's awesome. It comes in old-timey bottles and you can make the most excellent egg creams with it. Ronny is kind of persnickety, but he's a nice guy and he is happy to lug giant wooden cases full of glass bottles all over Brooklyn.

It might be slightly ironic. I'm not sure. But does it matter why it's awesome, when you can have an egg cream any day of the damn week? No, my friends, it does not.

::sprays seltzer at crowd, runs away::
posted by brina at 3:35 PM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


So brina he's OK? Because crazy iconoclasts who use antique machines and keep crazy non-economically viable things alive should be supported and normally would be 100+ favorite FPPs. It's not even ironic, it's so obsolete that it should be in a museum but it's not.
posted by fixedgear at 3:42 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still wouldn't know what a hipster was if one bit me on the leg.
This reminds me of the time I tried to explain what a hipster was to my father. At the end of the conversation, I'm pretty sure he thought HE was a hipster.

My father is in his 50s, lives in a small town in Eastern NC, he pretty much looks like an older version of Ron from Parks and Recreation; the last concert he went to was one of those still touring 90 year old 60s R&B groups. The fact that I was able to convince him he was a hipster pretty much convinced me that attempting to describe hipsters was a foolish enterprise. Now, I just hate each one I meet individually, on their own merits.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:50 PM on May 28, 2010


-penny farthing
-derailers
-trilby
-egg cream

I have had to Wikipedia more things from this thread than most FPPs.
posted by edbles at 3:54 PM on May 28, 2010


I really feel like we should have a DC meetup at one of the pool parties sometime.

You think you can guest list everyone?
posted by empath at 4:15 PM


we'll call it computer camp
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:07 PM on May 28, 2010


If you're doing something simply be in the in crowd, please, for yourself, try to graduate from high school some time in the near future.

Halle-fuckin-lujah!
posted by philip-random at 4:10 PM on May 28, 2010


and then the doctors remove the bandages from our faces and we're ALL HIPSTERS.

Or pig monsters. Whatever.
posted by The Whelk at 4:15 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It might be slightly ironic. I'm not sure. But does it matter why it's awesome, when you can have an egg cream any day of the damn week? No, my friends, it does not.

Hmm. I'm confused by this. Can you not make an egg cream with a can of Canada Dry seltzer? Or is it just that, being in Brooklyn, and probably not having a car, delivery is more convenient than buying a fridge pack?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:27 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


(This MeTa has helped me to see that I've been using hipster when I should probably be using poseur. Like, I've called an old roommate of mine a hipster for writing poems about nanotechnology only after hearing a thingie on NPR about it, while simultaneously making fun of me--not in a nice way--for my copious Star Trek novels. I realize now that my feeling infringed upon had nothing to do with her hipness or not. Hell, I listen to NPR, too. Anyway.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:30 PM on May 28, 2010


Also, people, the best comment on hipsters has already been made

Now we just talk about dinner or egg creams?
posted by The Whelk at 4:33 PM on May 28, 2010


I always think of hipsters like the girl in Common People.

But still you'll never get it right,
cos when you're laid in bed at night,
watching roaches climb the wall,
if you call your Dad he could stop it all.

posted by zinfandel at 4:41 PM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let's talk about making Danny Trejo glamorous.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:41 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meh. I still say it's all just "kids today amitrite" silliness.
posted by desuetude at 4:43 PM on May 28, 2010



-penny farthing
-derailers
-trilby
-egg cream

I have had to Wikipedia more things from this thread than most FPPs.
posted by edbles at 6:54 PM on May 28 [+] [!]


Our work here is done.
posted by fixedgear at 4:46 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


the thing that gives me such a Twilight Zone feeling about mefi hipster threads is that they sound so much like a bunch of Nixon Republicans ranting about those dirty long-haired hippies (only sometimes the very oldest would forget who they were ranting about and say "beatniks")
posted by jfuller at 5:28 PM on May 28, 2010


I mostly don't understand why it's fun to hate anyone.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:34 PM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


goddamn hippie sentiment. tofuburger
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:35 PM on May 28, 2010


A subset of hipster worth hating, in my opinion, would be those hipsters who work during the week in financial services or law firms or government agencies or IT companies, not as execs but as support staff, e.g., law clerks. In all but the IT companies, they are required to wear suits. They are compensated fairly well, for people who don't own houses or have families.

Like Clark Kent into Superman, they transmogrify into hipsters on the weekend (assuming their workplaces aren't so fast-paced as to preclude weekends), and they can afford all of the expensive, so carefully signified and constantly changing hipster gear. Of course, because it's expensive, it is stepped-on, and the pseudo-hipsters paying $350 for tight unwashed (or artisanally worn-in) denim jeans from Japan and $2,500 for customized fixie bikes are suckers.

The law clerk in the expensive jeans does not have the time to consume cultural artifacts (let alone make them) during the week, so he assumes a critical pose that absolves him of the necessity of actually engaging closely with the cultural artifacts.

They are, of course, yuppies, not actual hipsters.
posted by bad grammar at 5:45 PM on May 28, 2010


Ronny is doing fine, though he doesn't carry the flats up to the top stories of buildings nowadays; you have to bring them up yourself. But that's cool.

Yes, you can totally make an egg cream using Canada Dry. And no, seltzer delivery is not really more convenient. It's jut fun, because of the awesome old-school bottles, and the pressure, and the extremely high carbonation in Ronny's seltzer. (The NYT story basically says it all.)

(/seltzer derail)
posted by brina at 5:45 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


DERAILLEURS!?

FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

INTERNAL. HUB. GEARING.


Shimano Nexus, REPRESENT!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 5:54 PM on May 28, 2010


"I mostly don't understand why it's fun to hate anyone."

It's more self deprecating in this instance I suspect. The egg cream thing though?
The egg cream is a damn lie.
posted by vapidave at 5:57 PM on May 28, 2010


I dig
I'm in step
When it was hip to be hep, I was hep
I don't blow but I'm a fan
Look at me swing
Ring a ding ding
I even call my girlfriend man
I'm so hip

posted by Lexica at 5:59 PM on May 28, 2010


vapidave, that was the cake. The cake is a lie. Not the egg cream. The cake. Got it? Good.
posted by brina at 5:59 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Read it and weep, bitches: hipster trifecta. I'm typing this on my Mac while drinking a PBR and listening to Hall and Oates.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:01 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


o-oh here he comes
watch out PBR he'll drink you up
o-oh here he comes
he's a mac user.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:05 PM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


watch out Pabst, he'll drink you up
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:07 PM on May 28, 2010


brina it is at least a fib. An egg cream wants to be a root beer float but isn't tall enough to get on the ride so it stands on tippy toes hoping the bubbly milk drink carnie will look the other way.
posted by vapidave at 6:09 PM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


http://bikes.urbanoutfitters.com/build.asp

This is hipsterdom to me. A fancy flash-based "build your own bike" thingy, were all the options are different colors with garishly contrasting templates and a f-ing random button. No selection of higher quality rims, lighter handle bars, or more comfortable seats. You kids should have been on the ski slopes in the early 90's. All fashion no function.


Urban Outfitters is to hipsterdom what J. Crew is to wealth.
posted by chomputer at 6:11 PM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, all this has done is made me realize that everyone has the definition of what a "hipster" is all wrong. Then again, maybe that's the point. Maybe a hipster is whomever is annoying one because they remind one (and by "one" I do mean ME) a little too much of oneself. And not in a good way..

Maybe.

I've heard a lot about hipsters here (on metafilter). I have also heard people around me say things like, "oh, whatever, he's just a hipster.." many, many times. Which usually makes me think: yeah, but so are you.

My definiton of a hipster was (is) informed by the way a person dresses, their politics, their taste music. That is, a combination of things running from the truly unimportant (fashion) to more important (politics). I can see how that can mean a lot of different things in different neighborhoods, let alone universally.

So, whatever "hipster" actually means, it can't possibly mean the same thing to all people at the moment (and by moment I mean a very, very long time) because EVERYONE is calling the other guy a hipster.

I'm sure this point has already been made here a million times. I'm just catching up.

Meanwhile, "yuppie" as a definition can't quite be compared to that of "hipster". With "yuppies" there was zero confusion. There would never have been a metafilter thread (twenty years ago) like this about yuppies, I'm fairly certain of that. Yuppies are no longer. I realize some people still define others as "yuppies", but what they really mean is "hipsters". Not to suggest I'm not confused. I am. Just not about yuppies, is all I'm saying.

This is one of the reasons I love metafilter. The fact that there is an attempt to get (even this) all sorted (now multiple times). That is, knowing how other people define this (clearly difficult to define) state of being (?) started with coffee this morning - and, now that I'm home again, is still going on.. (I hope).
posted by marimeko at 6:16 PM on May 28, 2010


Also, people, the best comment on hipsters has already been made

And, it's worth noting, on the very day I joined MetaFilter. Coincidence? You know what Joe Friday said. "There's no such thing as coincidence in police work."
posted by philip-random at 6:18 PM on May 28, 2010


Many of us believe, or like to believe, that we do things from our own pure inspiration and desire, that our pastimes and pleasures are (as nasreddin observed) authentic, and individual. People of a commercial persuasion realised long ago that our very yearning for distinctiveness presents a marketing opportunity. There is no counter-culture, only an emerging nodule of communal desire waiting to be harvested by canny merchants once it's ripe. (See The Rebel Sell for a good explanation of how this works).

The more we seek out or pioneer the esoteric and unpopular, the more material we provide for marketing and the more attack surface we expose to exploiters of desire, who will sell it to hipsters. But not us, cause we're special. The rage at "hipsters" is the rage at people who rub our noses in this phenomenon, purchasing with mere money that which we believe only we deserve through our superior taste and hard work, hinting that perhaps our belief is self-deception.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:18 PM on May 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I'm a yuppie. Except we're middle-aged now.
posted by zinfandel at 7:18 PM on May 28, 2010


I mostly don't understand why it's fun to hate anyone.

A quick primer for righteous hatred (sports edition): Lakers fans, Cowboys fans, Yankees fans. Unless they live in close geographic proximity to one of those three teams, or have some actual blood relation link to those teams, anyone wearing one of those teams' jerseys, hats, or any such merchandise is hateable. They defy the innate love of the underdog, and instead choose to root for evil empires of smugness and domination.

Any and all Boston (Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots) gear is slowly approaching such levels. And if you're a foreigner living in Japan, don't root for the Yomiuri Giants. It makes you an ass. Since you're not actually from here, why choose to root for most evil team in Japanese baseball? Why not choose a team that doesn't rig the rookie draft in it's favor or cherry pick all the best free agents? If you must root for a Tokyo team, root for Yakult. Among other things, the team name is the Yakult Swallows. You can't lose.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:30 PM on May 28, 2010


I still hate them.
posted by jonmc at 7:43 PM on May 28, 2010


jessamyn: I mostly don't understand why it's fun to hate anyone.

Exactly. "Who is worth hating?" is a topic I thought I had successfully escaped when I left junior high.

I've never understood people expending energy thinking on things they strongly dislike. Things annoy me about, sure, but I'm not about to create elaborate constructs of reasoning as to why I am justified in being annoyed.

This is why I found it somewhat amusing to get hate mail. I mean, someone actually spent time and energy on that? Really? You gave up time you can't get back, time you could have used on something you enjoy, and spent it on your dislike of me? If it weren't so sad-- and scary-- I'd be flattered.
posted by zennie at 8:10 PM on May 28, 2010


See, the problem is that who is a hipster keeps changing. As someone else said, all hat, no cattle. They do to be seen doing, not for love. So yeah, what used to be chunky glasses is now birth-control-glasses. What used to be iPod earbuds is now giant, ridiculous headphones. Etc.

The hipster isn't the artist, the hipster is the jerk who moves in next door and starts dressing like you.

AS, perhaps the word hipster meant something different in the 40s. But since time immemorial, wherever there is a community of people, there will be a subculture. And 5 seconds later, there will be some assholes on their coattails appropriating their behavior because they desperately want to belong, but they aren't clever or bold enough to come up with their own identity.
posted by gjc at 8:10 PM on May 28, 2010


I still hate them.

Who's them?

If it weren't so sad-- and scary-- I'd be flattered.

Sad, scary, you can still be flattered.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:14 PM on May 28, 2010


All I know about hipsters I learned in 1997.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:14 PM on May 28, 2010


If you need to root for a Japanese baseball team, you pretty much have to root for the Ham Fighters.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:33 PM on May 28, 2010


I still hate them.
posted by jonmc Almost an hour ago [+]


Ironically, in my ignorance, if forced to cough up an example of one, you'd have been on the list.

Please don't bite me on the leg.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:45 PM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


And I'm with jessamyn: where I live there are no hipsters. So I'm here to tell you, hipster is an identifiable class.

In my town, there's pretty much nobody between, say, 20 and 40 who is childless, follows certain kinds of bands, has a liberal arts degree and a lowish paying job, has a blog about their baking/sewing/etc hobby with repurposed domestic-magazine art from the early 1960s, calls their friends "the kids" in irony, wears t-shirts from Threadless or etsy with graphics on them, has ironic facial hair or Buddy Holly glasses or whatever is the equivalent, etc. That suite of sensibilities or demographics just aren't represented here. To the point where if I see someone who looks like that in the grocery store, they'll often approach me or vice versa.

When I go to a city/neighborhood that has hipsters, it is very clear. Suddenly there are *all* these people of a similar age, who seem to be mostly childless, who dress in a range of similar ways, who seem to be into art or music or literature or whatever. I expect that if I talked to someone they would know what I'm talking about when I mention various topics (which a random person in my town would not). Sometimes this is super exciting; sometimes it makes me feel a bit lame.

So - I think there definitely IS some broad group here that it's coherent to talk about, whether "hipsters" is a good term for it or not. (The group might be as broad as "20-30somethings on the artsy/educated/quirky side of the spectrum"?) But of course, as with any social group, there are some great people and some jerks and poseurs and whatnot, and the group has some silly fashions/norms etc.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:52 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


(and before I start a fight: none of the things I mentioned are necessary conditions, they're just a cluster of things commonly associated. So for example obviously you don't have to be childless to be a hipster, but it's surely the case that the people I see when I go to hip areas of east coast cities are mostly childless in their middle 20s, as opposed to in my town where most people have kids by their middle 20s.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:55 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a Dutchman I've observed metafilters distaste for so called 'hipsters' with quizzical detachment.
It seems we don't have a similar term here.
So that made it necessary for me to deduce the meaning of the word purely by how it's used here.

Two aspects of the meaning as I see it:
A authenticity vs consumerism. By definition we are an individual to ourselves. The 'hipster' sobriquet points out that the inviduality of the other is fake, is in fact the reverse: a fad, a group phenomenon. When I buy a personal item it's because I authentically like it, when you buy it it's because you try to be like the others who've bought it.
B the so called hipster 'irony' is a form of showing you understand the consumerist group mechanisms and are unaffected by them, above them by playfully doing the reverse. It's a means of singling yourself out in the dating market *) by showing your socio-cultural savvy and acumen. But consumerist group behaviour is the emergent result of individuals in large numbers and how the market reacts to that. And as a result this 'irony' is suddenly the opposite of what it is trying to accomplish. This last fact drives the 'you totally misunderstand it' paroxisms of annoyance.

*) finding a mate is obviously one of the prime objectives of the life phase that young adults are in. Which drives a lot of foolish group behaviour. I think that it's proper that young adults strut and preen. But on metafilter there a lot of middle aged people and young adult outsiders it seems that view that strutting and preening with derision.
posted by joost de vries at 10:58 PM on May 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


The Ham Fighters are indeed the best of all possible worlds when it comes to team names. Sadly, they are actually just the Fighters. The parent company is actually Nippon Ham. If they weren't a major rival of my local team (the Chiba Lotte Marines, best team, best fans), I'd like them. Since they are rivals, I can only think of them as the devils.

Seriously though, if one aspect of hipsterism is detached cynicism, the polar opposite is Japanese baseball. The fans are deeply passionate about their teams, and incredibly enthusiastic. We definitely need to do a meetup at a game some day.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:02 PM on May 28, 2010


... consumerist group behaviour is the emergent result of individuals in large numbers and how the market reacts to that. And as a result this 'irony' is suddenly the opposite of what it is trying to accomplish. This last fact drives the 'you totally misunderstand it' paroxisms of annoyance.

That is beautifully succinct.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:11 PM on May 28, 2010


Counterculture only exists inasmuch as it's not noticed by outsiders. The instant somebody outside a counterculture is aware of it, it's become a part of culture. Then it's just a matter of how widespread that culture's become.

With that in mind, you can dismantle the conception of "culture" as an in-or-out thing. We're all in it, to varying degrees. It consists of pockets of varying size and intensity. Many of these pockets resemble one another, like how individual D&D campaigns have different collective experiences that are more similar to each other than not. But none of these traits — size, intensity, uniqueness — matter inasmuch as we think they matter. We choose for ourselves and only for ourselves if we care about mainstream vs. obscure, passion vs. casual interest, individual vs. collective. And what's more, our choices don't matter past what other people choose to think they matter.

Which is liberating, in a sense, because it means you can stop defining yourself by what you like or what you've experienced or in any other way. You can stop defining yourself at all if you feel like it. And you can participate in any culture you like, any part of society, without worrying about what that participation says.

I think the people who find that offensive are the people who still insist on seeing society as a physical entity or an entity at all. Because the idea that none of the choices I make necessarily define who I am as a person spits in the face of our impulse to define people and categorize them and make sense of them. We like it when making sense of somebody is a simple, quick, painless process, even when we know we're not doing justice to the people we make sense of.

Which also explains why we think that this appropriation is in some sense ironic, or some kind of statement specifically about culture. But it's not ironic if you accept that sincerity happens, as much as it does happen, on a personal level and not a cultural one. Individuals can be sincere in a way groups necessarily cannot.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:25 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shimano Nexus, REPRESENT!

Rohloff has never had a hub fail. Shit's bangin'.
posted by seagull.apollo at 2:18 AM on May 29, 2010


Like Joost de Vries, I've been puzzling about what a hipster is ever since I've read about them here. Are they what we call bobos? or is that a different animal?

I think in a certain sense one could accuse me of the same lack of authenticity. I like to try out different (sub-)cultures, their way of dressing, their venues. I like to play with the idea and ignore the seriousness behind it. But mostly, I look like your average boring office worker.
It may be shallow but I don't think playful appropriation harms the core of what forms a subculture. Rebellion merely moves on to find a new way of expression. And I find it grotesque how seriously people would take their own cultural depth that they would feel offended by other people only wearing the trappings of that, as if it invalidates the original.

But as I said, I still haven't figured it out, maybe I misunderstand the term hipster.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:54 AM on May 29, 2010


Is there a PFHIP, like PFLAG? 'Cause I have one, and could use a support group.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:26 AM on May 29, 2010


Hipsters Ruin Everything. (pt. I, pt. II)
posted by _dario at 5:57 AM on May 29, 2010


(aw, that should have been pt. II)
posted by _dario at 5:58 AM on May 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because I mean, directionless youths have always appropriated things and made them annoying!

Thanks for the links, _dario! That's exactly it!
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:47 AM on May 29, 2010


Most relevant comment in the thread so far (repeated for emphasis):

If you're doing something simply be in the in crowd, please, for yourself, try to graduate from high school some time in the near future.

Because for me, if there's something to be genuinely HATED about any post-teenage subculture it's its highschoolisms (conformity, cliquism, pointing at people and laughing at them). Otherwise, who cares? As far as I can determine, so-called hipsterism is just a continuance of the time-honored struggle of younger people seeiking to define themselves at a convoluted moment in the ongoing evolution of their culture, (and what joost said about trying to get laid). At least they don't look like this, or this.

If the guy with tight jeans and the ironic Disneyland t-shirt who turned me onto to Jackie-O Motherfucker about five years ago is a hipster, then I love hipsters.
posted by philip-random at 8:12 AM on May 29, 2010


The Ham Fighters are indeed the best of all possible worlds when it comes to team names. Sadly, they are actually just the Fighters. The parent company is actually Nippon Ham.

shh. ham fighters.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:26 AM on May 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Still, can we please stop talking about young people like they're all the same?

Non sequiters used to be cool, but they sold out.
posted by spaltavian at 10:36 AM on May 29, 2010


Orange snit man.
posted by The Whelk at 10:44 AM on May 29, 2010


Oran 'Juice' Jones.
posted by box at 10:52 AM on May 29, 2010


Read it and weep, bitches: hipster trifecta. I'm typing this on my Mac while drinking a PBR and listening to Hall and Oates.

And, if this were twelve years ago, I'd say, yeah = hipster.
posted by marimeko at 11:34 AM on May 29, 2010


Orange Juice

Juice Newton

Fig Newton
posted by hydrophonic at 11:52 AM on May 29, 2010


Olive Newton John Neutron Bomb
posted by The Whelk at 11:55 AM on May 29, 2010


All the dramatic poses have been struck in the recent before. Aloof and irony is all that is left.

I look forward to the next generation. They will be pre-modern and caring and deep to a fault and the first of their kind as I was. I hope they keep away from the brown acid though . The brown acid is bad.
posted by vapidave at 12:36 PM on May 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why do they call 'hipsters' 'hippies' in Montreal?
posted by niccolo at 2:18 PM on May 29, 2010


cause Montreal has to do everything it's own way or it throws a big french fit.
posted by The Whelk at 2:27 PM on May 29, 2010


Er, my Montreal anglophone friends definitely don't call hipsters "hippies".
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 3:23 PM on May 29, 2010


hmmm perhaps we should have an oldfilter section of the website where people can go.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:46 PM on May 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


A hipster is a hipster, but they call it le hipster.
posted by languagehat at 3:46 PM on May 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


"cause Montreal has to do everything it's own way or it throws a big french fit."

Montreal rioted when the Habs won the quarterfinals.

Their lightweight ecstasy was as if a kruggerand spewing Elvis came to Ottumwa during a June full moon giving of himself freely, sprinkling all in attendance with sparkly droplets of absolution.
posted by vapidave at 6:12 PM on May 29, 2010


Twenty years ago I was decidedly a hipster. I think I still am at heart, except I can't fit into skinny jeans. Also I have a tractor.
posted by unSane at 7:58 PM on May 29, 2010


Tractors are totally hipster.
posted by mullacc at 8:00 PM on May 29, 2010


OK, so I just went to a bar in Willamsburg, Brooklyn and saw a guy wearing white harem pants (ala MC Hammer 1990), crest jacket and a straw boater accompanying his girlfriend who had an (admittedly somewhat normal) 70's sundress but with a shoulder-perching parrot.

How is this to be described ? It's oddness with a complete lack of context. Just a mishmash of silly crap. For these instances I'm going to stick with hipster. Since I live in Williamsburg, this is a fairly common occurrence and other NYCers know what I mean when I say it.

Hippies, Goths, Beatniks ... at least they had some sort of coherent "thing" that kind of worked.

I don't hate hipsters at all, I just wish it was more interesting somehow, but perhaps that's the future we all have to look forward to.
posted by milovoo at 11:42 PM on May 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It's oddness with a complete lack of context."

Oh fuck. Me. Perfectly.

And in honor of this nonsense I will be at the Seattle meetup with my beard bearding for me and sporting a hoodie. I always wear a hoodie though. It has a hood when you need one, right there, attached. Next I'll find oxygen fashionable I suppose.
posted by vapidave at 1:31 AM on May 30, 2010


Yup, Hipster, neither good nor bad just ...

oddness with a complete lack of context. Just a mishmash of silly crap.

Of course, the other word for it might be "ugly", which is hardly something to aspire to unless you've got some profound grievance you can't communicate in any other way.
posted by philip-random at 7:24 AM on May 30, 2010


LobsterMitten's experience is a lot like mine [if I see the person with the funny outfit walking down my street, there's a good chance they'll come talk to me because I also look out of place and possibly possessing knowledge of where the tattoo parlor is] and the more I think about it, the more I think hipster is confusing because there's a relative aspect to the whole thing. So I'm sure someone mentioned this above but this is my first real day without cold medicine in two weeks so everything's a little hazy. The problem is that it's a word that in most contexts only works to define some people relative to some other people.

So at the meetup someone called me a hipster because I was wearing stripey pants in a sea of motorcycle jackets. And I called backseatpilot a hipster [in an endeadring way!] because he had a t-shirt with a picture of a guy with his head in the microwave. And we're both stone-cold nerds in most situations but relative to this crowd, we were on the hipster side of things.

Similar to how at a local BBQ you'd call someone a jock if they had a baseball hat with a team insignia because no one does that around here. Or you'd call someone a hippie if they had a tie-dyed shirt because they're unusual in sort of day-to-day life, but that person at a Phish show would look normal, or possibly even square [do people still say square nowadays?]

So anyhow, I'm okay with the relative-hipster idea because then we all have a chance to get name-called about it [or many/most of us] just depends on where we are. I have not, in fact, been to Brooklyn in some time. Perhaps I should check it out, I hear the beer is good there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:54 AM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still say square but you have to do the Uma Thurman-Pulp Fiction finger-square thing when you say it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 AM on May 30, 2010


I look forward to the next generation. They will be pre-modern and caring and deep to a fault

vapidave — The authors of the book The Fourth Turning agree with your prediction.

and the first of their kind as I was

More like "as your grandparents were". But I think a lot of people would say "like my grandparents' generation? I can live with that — as long as they're not like my parents' generation!"
posted by Lexica at 10:09 AM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dammit, that means that I'll have to go through the 70's for a second time which seems unfair. Who's up for drinking Black Velvet, snarfing some rails and seeing REO Speedwagon at the stadium? I can't do this alone.
posted by vapidave at 2:47 PM on May 30, 2010


Dammit, that means that I'll have to go through the 70's for a second time which seems unfair. Who's up for drinking Black Velvet, snarfing some rails and seeing REO Speedwagon at the stadium? I can't do this alone.

Don't worry that already happened (again). Long ago.
posted by marimeko at 2:59 PM on May 30, 2010


seeing REO Speedwagon at the stadium? I can't do this alone.

I'll go, but only if you can guarantee me that Kevin Cronin won't be wearing those tight, shiny gold pants he wore last time I saw them. Thirty years later, that image is still burned on my retinas.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:43 AM on June 1, 2010


seeing REO Speedwagon at the stadium? I can't do this alone.

I'll go, but only if you can guarantee me that Kevin Cronin won't be wearing those tight, shiny gold pants


Fucking hipsters!
posted by philip-random at 7:52 AM on June 1, 2010


Hipsters comment late in the thread because they know nobody reads down here, so it's got a certain irony built-in.
posted by not_on_display at 2:37 PM on June 4, 2010


well they used to, but now everyone's doing it so it's so lame.
posted by The Whelk at 2:39 PM on June 4, 2010


The race doesn't to go the hip of any type and never to any cohort. Ridiculous is the water, all else is feeble stone.
posted by vapidave at 5:53 PM on June 4, 2010


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