Author Topic: The Great Hipster Debate of 08  (Read 11820 times)

yesno

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The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« on: August 03, 2008, 05:58:25 PM »
In an effort to piss off their readership, Adbusters runs an anti-hipster screed:

http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/79/hipster.html

Momus rejoins:

http://imomus.livejournal.com/390994.html

I agree with Momus that looking for "authenticity" and so forth is just kind of tired.  Give up on this quest for originality.  The giant world brain makes it unobtainable.  (Also, however gross and secretly thrilling I find American Apparel ads, they do make some really good quality stuff.)

This is the comment I left on the momus blog:

Quote
Most of the people I know that I would characterize as hipsters tend to have rather shallow cultural knowledge. For them, it's about fashion (not style) and parties. I'm more of a person who prefers to spend a quiet evening with a book, so I don't envy them their parties. But I find it odd that the hipster is seen as some arbiter of taste when your average hipster is into the same dozen shit bands as his friends, and the same pop culture inflected visual stye as everyone else.

The people on stage, and the people who pass down The Knowledge, usually tend to be shy introverted types, not these type A scenesters.

Spot on with the rest of your criticism. I just think you give the average hipster way too much credit.

ps: Livejoural support for OpenID is terrible. Doesn't work.

I don't think I agree with myself of this morning that people who make good culture are never type A, when I think about it.  But my own personal, chubby blogger-like (read the article for the reference) disdain for hipsters came about when there was this explosion of truly mediocre bands out of Brooklyn & other hipster meccas in the early 2000s.  I'm on board with some of them now, but for a while it was rough.  Also, suck.com came out pretty heavy against what it called "hipsters" in the late 90s, but I think it had a different beast in its sights.

masterofsparks

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2008, 06:06:01 PM »
It seems to me that if you were to place a picture of the group of people known as "hipsters" next to one of the group that constantly complains about hipsters, you'd be looking at two of the same thing.
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Patrick

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2008, 06:17:11 PM »
It seems to me that if you were to place a picture of the group of people known as "hipsters" next to one of the group that constantly complains about hipsters, you'd be looking at two of the same thing.

truer words have yet to be spoken.


from time to time someone, usually a 'hipster' will ask what my WFMU t-shirt means.  i often tell them that it is a truly awesome freeform radio station from jersey city that were at the forefront of broadcasting over the internet.  perplexed, they say "you mean like pandora"     maybe that off topic?
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mokin

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2008, 06:19:58 PM »
It seems to me that if you were to place a picture of the group of people known as "hipsters" next to one of the group that constantly complains about hipsters, you'd be looking at two of the same thing.

Funny you should say that. Here's the author:

Douglas Haddow: When not burning the midnight oil writing for some of the world’s most prolific cultural magazines, Douglas Haddow can be found getting his eat/drink on at off the radar Korean, Vietnamese or Japanese restaurants. Inspired by the words of literary greats like Fyodor Dostoevsky, Haruki Murakami and J.G. Ballard and fueled by hearty bowls of five-dollar Pho, his well-articulated and insightful perspectives are attracting the attention of editors world-wide.


Stupornaut

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2008, 07:42:50 PM »
Seeing as how every single other counterculture ever started off idealistic and creative and then devolved into bland, cliche conformity and compromised principles, I for one applaud the modern hipster for jumping straight to the "superficial husk of a subculture" stage without having to bastardize something cool first. That, and they're goofy kids in goofy clothes dancing and drinking, I mean who the hell cares
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jamesp

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2008, 08:46:31 PM »
Quote
Noticing a few flickers of light splash out from the club bathroom, I peep in only to find one such photographer taking part in an impromptu soft-core porno shoot. Two girls and a guy are taking off their clothes and striking poses for a set of grimy glamour shots.

I'm fine with the hipster fashion (Personally, as Spike might say, I don't do hipster clothing) and I'm a fan of your average hipster music/movies, but I gotta say that this sort of stuff is what pisses me off the most. Disco coke-parties with guys looking like Vincent Gallo and Dov Charney trying to get sickly thin girls to strip off their clothing in bathooms like it's a real-life American Apparel ad sounds grimy and lame.

Regular Joe

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2008, 08:51:27 PM »
Seeing as how every single other counterculture ever started off idealistic and creative and then devolved into bland, cliche conformity and compromised principles, I for one applaud the modern hipster for jumping straight to the "superficial husk of a subculture" stage without having to bastardize something cool first. That, and they're goofy kids in goofy clothes dancing and drinking, I mean who the hell cares

You make a very important point with this. It may be one of the first times in decades that true counterculture has been left to flourish in obscurity. I bet this has something to do with the world wide web.

yesno

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2008, 09:20:24 PM »
I liked the adbusters point about "What kind of counterculture is it when the only name that exists for it is "offensive"?"

They're less of a subculture along the lines of hippies, etc, and more like Edwardian dandies.

I like the Momus point of "What kind of beast are you that a bunch of kids having a good time bothers you?  We should all be able to have a good, fun time."  I agree with that sentiment.

Those kids still do tend to like bad music, though.  The fatal flaw of eclecticism is lack of depth.





todd

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2008, 09:37:18 PM »
I liked the adbusters point about "What kind of counterculture is it when the only name that exists for it is "offensive"?"

This is true of any subculture, and has nothing to do with hipsterism. It has always been uncool to fall so neatly into a subculture, so people rebel against any label. Think "emo" in the 90s and early 00s and the reactions it inspired in people. Everybody wants to fit in, but no one wants to admit it when they do.

I think the rejection of labels is something that has developed independent of any particular subculture.

emma

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2008, 09:53:20 PM »
Everybody wants to fit in, but no one wants to admit it when they do.

I think the rejection of labels is something that has developed independent of any particular subculture.

When I was in grade 7 I dyed my hair green and went to ska shows and was really really really careful never to describe anything as "punk rock" lest people think I was trying to be punk rock, because if people thought that I would be a poser. Every time I passed someone with piercings or a skateboard or something, I would totally judge them, but more out of that weird, adolescent fear (you know the one I mean) that's all tied up with identity and insecurity than out of spite.

Now I live in a pretty hipster-y neighbourhood, and lately I've noticed that in any cafe or restaurant, around brunch-time, you can always hear someone with a funny hat and tons of facial hair making fun of someone in a sweater vest. Because they are wearing a sweater vest.

I am slowly getting used to the idea that nothing ever changes, and after high school it is just more high school but with more different beer and fewer classes.

yesno

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2008, 09:55:34 PM »
I liked the adbusters point about "What kind of counterculture is it when the only name that exists for it is "offensive"?"

This is true of any subculture, and has nothing to do with hipsterism. It has always been uncool to fall so neatly into a subculture, so people rebel against any label. Think "emo" in the 90s and early 00s and the reactions it inspired in people. Everybody wants to fit in, but no one wants to admit it when they do.

I think the rejection of labels is something that has developed independent of any particular subculture.

That's a good point, but many punks have worn and do wear the label proudly.  Some with lots of other subcultures over the past 50 or so years.

I think that the conditions for the development of that sort subculture no longer obtain. There's too much communication, and access to culture is no longer very hard.  The Adbusters guy was trying to criticize the hipsters from an irrelevant angle.  I think that whole scene is just part of the blessing/curse that a lot of modern culture is.  It's like, yay podcasts.  Boo, not sitting down to read a novel.  Yay, staying in touch with friends.  Boo, jobs googling you. Yay, finding out about new bands.  Boo, no longer any space for unique local scenes to develop in.  What's the word for this?  Post-something?  I read it in a book somewheres.

edit:  Emma, when I was around that age (late middle school/early high school) I totally used to make fun of kids who just assumed some easy subcultural identity overnight.  My friends and I tried to be ultra-normal as our own rebellion against rebellion.  While always making sure to just so casually bring up how cool we were from time to time. I mean, we listened to such cool bands as Therapy? and Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, how could be not be awesome?  Brother.  Now, I kind of wish we had more subcultural diversity.  I haven't seen a crusty punk in months.  Where'd they go?  And what is with that poser idea?  No one was ever born cool except that one kid with a mustache in 5th grade.

mokin

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2008, 10:09:15 PM »

I am slowly getting used to the idea that nothing ever changes, and after high school it is just more high school but with more different beer and fewer classes.

No, emma! It's that way for some people. The people you should avoid.

John Junk 2.0

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2008, 10:22:24 PM »
My main problem with hipsters is they've never bought any of my band's albums.  They always want one for free. 

I think a lot of hipster hate comes from people who were hipsters four years ago and then got in a long term relationship or started getting really bad hangovers and now just want to gentrify Echo Park in peace, not with all this Comets on Fire tomfoolery blaring out the windows at 2 am, you drunk children.  Not that I have any personal experiences like that.

Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2008, 10:46:37 PM »
I actually think it depends on the place.  I hated hipsters when I lived in Williamsburg because so many of them were just assholes in the way only overly-privileged New Yorkers can be assholes.  Then I go to a place like Austin or Portland and everyone's dressed the same as the Williamsburg kids but they're actually pretty decent.
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John Junk 2.0

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Re: The Great Hipster Debate of 08
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2008, 12:10:37 AM »
I was thinking that very same thing while driving around today.  Most of the hipsters in Baltimore when I lived there (before it became the capital of cool it is now) were fashion-concerned nice people who wanted to learn a lot about music and to also get laid.  There's not really anything wrong with either of those impulses.  AND if you made a lot of noise in the street, or played kickball, you got shot.  So that took care of a lot of bullshit.

I'm trying to decide whether over-priveleged New Yorkers are more or less annoying than over-priveleged Los Angelenos.  I think I actually prefer NY, but it's a slim margin.