More Thoughts on the Hipster, Good Ones, Too

10/21/2010 11:25 AM |

Jean Genet
  • O.G. hipster.

The Awl recently posted a terrible piece called “How to Pick Up a Hipster Girl,” and I still can’t really tell if it’s parody or not. (If it was parody, it was flat and obvious; if not, gah.) Either way, it was pretty flabby stuff for the Awl. Thankfully, they’ve redeemed themselves (and then some), with Maria Bustillos’s “Being a Hipster is an Excellent and Wonderful Thing.

Bustillos’s thesis is pretty similar to the piece I wrote last May, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Hipsters,” which is probably why I like it so much… to wit: we need young people in cities to care deeply about art and express themselves through music and fashion, living a life less about material comfort and more about experiment, exploration and the new. Furthermore, it is the “poseurs” we all make fun of, the second wave urban cool kids who co-opt hipster aesthetics and invade the territory that was so bravely staked out by the first wave (in my piece I used Gawker’s “fauxhemian” instead of poseur).

Has the backlash against the hipster backlash finally taken flight? The seminal pieces of the initial backlash were Adbusters’ breathless “Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization” and Christian Lorentzen’s “Why the Hipster Must Die” (the former was just a lot of straw-man grousing, the latter is worth the read, though). So what comprises the backlash to the backlash? Well, I’ve been trying to rehabilitate the hipster for years, attempting to reclaim it from the hands of evil marketing types here and here; and of course, there’s the aforementioned Bustillos article, and there’s also a piece by Gavin McInnes (founding jerk of hipsterdom) who wrote of his experience at a UCLA panel on the hipster; and, of course, there’s N+1’s What Was the Hipster?, a “handbook” compiled from ideas generated at that publication’s seminal panel on the subject, which came out last week.

So, again, has the backlash against the hipster backlash finally taken flight? Well, not really. You see, the problem, as Bustillos alludes to, is that the poseurs (or fauxhemians) far outnumber the hipsters, and will always be attractive to marketers—and they will always be irritating. So we will always hate hipsters (even though we’re talking about poseurs/fauxhemians). Get it?

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