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November 15, 2012 6:32 PM   Subscribe

How to Be a Hipster In 22 steps.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies (124 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
thanks
posted by codacorolla at 6:34 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, be rich.
Q: Can we never talk about this ever again? A: Shut up, self!
posted by shushufindi at 6:35 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


That MetaTalk thread was kinda lame, duct tape your laptop to your fixie and let's make this the Hipster threat to die for!
posted by sammyo at 6:36 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


22 steps? No wonder they're so skinny!
posted by srboisvert at 6:38 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The How To is a sure sign that every movement, ever, has peaked.
That said, this ask.me has comments which posit that hipster isn't a sub-culture as the dominant culture.

So, that's nice. Or depressing.
posted by Mezentian at 6:38 PM on November 15, 2012


if you gotta ask, you'll never know

- louie armstrong
posted by pyramid termite at 6:39 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of all the MeFites to post this, I never suspected it would be St. Alia.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:39 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I soooo look forward to tracking this generation's every whim for the next 50 years like we did with the Boomers.
posted by DU at 6:41 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wait. That first image features a Pistols T-shirt.
Damned hipsters. Go co-opt some crappy band!
posted by Mezentian at 6:41 PM on November 15, 2012


next up, pope guilty posts "how to be a deacon in your pentacostal church"

sorry, pope, couldn't resist
posted by pyramid termite at 6:42 PM on November 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


TIL: there is apparently something called "treggings."
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:43 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Patton Oswalt on ironic T-shirts.
posted by Devils Slide at 6:45 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


What is this shit.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:46 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Treggings are leggings styled to look like trousers".

Hummmm.
posted by Mezentian at 6:48 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Woo hoo! I've failed pretty much all of these steps, so now I can proceed with my artisanal sriracha without fear of anti-hipster opprobrium.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 6:48 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


For the record, I got sick of hipster-hate before hipster-hate became out of fashion.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:49 PM on November 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


Interesting though, that this version of youth culture pushes buttons in such unique, bespoke, hand-crafted ways. Compare to punk rock, or mods, or shrubs (metalheads) where physical aggression was a fundamental part of youth rebellion. Now it's just passive aggression.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:50 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


see also http://www.hipsterhandbook.com/
posted by bizwool at 6:51 PM on November 15, 2012


Friend of mine's definition of hipster: "People with roughly the same socio-economic background and cultural interests as myself, whom I resent."
posted by anazgnos at 6:51 PM on November 15, 2012 [37 favorites]


Did anyone really ever say "deck?" I mean, as anything other than a joke?


I don't really think they did. It's like "mary jane" as slang for marijuana or something.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:54 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey! In the pictures, isn't that our own, um...
posted by pullayup at 6:54 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Interesting though, that this version of youth culture pushes buttons in such unique, bespoke, hand-crafted ways.

nah, the only buttons being pushed here are cash register buttons - they buy things and it makes them into something

at least that's how this article presented it

show me what you do and what you are, not what you buy
posted by pyramid termite at 6:54 PM on November 15, 2012


This article says petrichor isn't a real word.
What else is it lying about?
posted by Mezentian at 6:55 PM on November 15, 2012


Damn it, mis-read and mis-placed my rage.
posted by Mezentian at 6:56 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


like I suggested in some other recent thread, I'm still unclear on what a hipster is, and thus why I should hate them.

But if you're into something crap such as PBR, Journey (the band) or overall stupid fashion for some reason beyond just being, you know, kind of an idiot, then I don't trust you.
posted by philip-random at 6:56 PM on November 15, 2012


from the OP link : If you're really good at something like math, physics, medicine, psychology, political analysis, eco-awareness, etc., you might find yourself making amazing discoveries that are light years ahead of everyone else's thinking. You know deep down that you've cottoned onto something that really matters and that it makes sense but others are not convinced because it's the "great unknown". Rest easy and be determined in your knowledge that some day, others will come round to your discovery.

That's a helluva long fortune cookie message.

and surely style is way more important than substance here. The unabashed retrograde casual ethnic prejudices spouted recently by certain self-identified lefty progressive cultural studies theory-loving "so hip we're not hipsters" hipsters I know are still ringing in my ears after couple of days. I've no idea if they were being ironic or sincere or some kind of combination of both. I'm sure they don't either.
posted by Bwithh at 6:56 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The reason I resent hipsters is because I probably would have wanted to be one when I was young (cute girls! vintage stuff!) but wouldn't possibly have made the cut, especially since "skinny" and "jeans" never have shared the same sentence when talking about me.
posted by maxwelton at 6:57 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Things you need: cat

I is..
posted by ovvl at 6:57 PM on November 15, 2012


hipsters are people who dress a way and care about things, and that's just wrong
posted by Nomiconic at 7:00 PM on November 15, 2012


if you're into something crap such as PBR, Journey (the band) or overall stupid fashion for some reason beyond just being, you know, kind of an idiot, then I don't trust you.

Spoken like a true hipster.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:02 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm now totally convinced that these overwrought efforts to taxonomically describe "hipsters" are done by people who are so sour grapes about being a part of a deviant subculture that they have to cynically make up reasons to deride people who are actually having more fun than they are.
posted by triceryclops at 7:03 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Friend of mine's definition of hipster: "People with roughly the same socio-economic background and cultural interests as myself, whom I resent."

I think that's a great description. I'm a fan of Anthony Bourdain's shows, and something I find amusing is that he rails endlessly against hipsters, ad nauseam, but the thing is that he likes the same things that those hipsters like. What he resents is that these younger people are occupying the same space that he does.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 7:03 PM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was looking at some late-'90s photos of my friends and I the other day, and...the term wasn't in common usage yet, but damned if we weren't hipsters. I'm so, so sorry.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:03 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The unicorn dude looks pretty bummed out.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:04 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am pretty sure MeFi's own Juliet Banana is in a photograph in that article.
posted by jessamyn at 7:09 PM on November 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


How to make me lose all respect for you in one easy step
posted by nathancaswell at 7:09 PM on November 15, 2012


That page definitely has a picture of one of Metafilter's Own on it.
posted by supercres at 7:10 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hipster-ism is nothing more than a reflection of white, middle-class guilt.

Seriously, tell me about the avant-garde music that you listen to; show me your vintage clothes; and I will describe to you what kind of suburb you grew up in and how much money your parents make and what your friends were like who attended your mostly white, reasonably well ranked public high school.

I fucking hate irony.
posted by lobbyist at 7:11 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Bwith said:I've no idea if they were being ironic or sincere or some kind of combination of both. I'm sure they don't either.

You're really hitting on something here. The overwhelming current of feeling is confusion more than anything else.

...The unabashed retrograde casual ethnic prejudices spouted recently by certain self-identified lefty progressive cultural studies theory-loving "so hip we're not hipsters" hipsters

I'm sure that ten years ago, I was absolutely one of those people you hate (and you hate us with reason). I know I'm not like this anymore...Now I'm older, and not at all upwardly mobile...but more than that, what's changed me? Putting down roots and working...actually having to take commit to things and take a stance.

I say this to offer hope to folks who are absolutely disgusted by hipsterism. Some of the current crop of hipster dicks will get better. I know I certainly did. I wonder, though, if collectively the groups who are so plagued by hipsterism can outgrow the hipster identity. Will we ever be less confused?
posted by shushufindi at 7:14 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I now want a pair of treggings. What is wrong with me.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:17 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mefi's own!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:21 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


codacorolla: thanks

Thanks hipsters. Thipsters.
posted by schmod at 7:22 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I first read this, I thought the post said "How to be a hipster in 22 years," which I thought was a really interesting approach.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:22 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


WHY IS THERE A POTATO IN A SHOE.
posted by feckless at 7:25 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


You must use either Google Chrome or Safari to go online. No Firefox or (wince) Explorer

What's wrong with Firefox? Is it because it doesn't fit into the whole aesthetic-obsessed aspect of the culture? Open source too mainstream? I know that Chrome and Safari are comparatively sleek, but talk about nitpicking.

(been using Opera before it was cool)
posted by jpolorolu at 7:27 PM on November 15, 2012


tell me about the avant-garde music that you listen to ... and I will describe to you what kind of suburb you grew up in and how much money your parents make

Sachiko M, Mikel Rouse, and Giacinto Scelsi. Boom. Quantify me, oh wise one.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:28 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Seriously, tell me about the avant-garde music that you listen to; show me your vintage clothes; and I will describe to you what kind of suburb you grew up in and how much money your parents make and what your friends were like who attended your mostly white, reasonably well ranked public high school.

I can't decide which is a better a representation of naive entitlement. Is it the stereotypical hipster? Or is it this post? I'm not sure what permits you to make assumptions like that about people judging by their taste in music and wardrobe. I really don't care if every "hipster" you've ever met is a trust fund kid. Assuming they're all that way is quote honestly more pretentious than any "hipster" I've ever met.
posted by triceryclops at 7:29 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hal Hartley. Good to see ol' Hal is still getting some mileage with the kids.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:29 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


tell me about the avant-garde music that you listen to ... and I will describe to you what kind of suburb you grew up in and how much money your parents make

Oh, oh, try me! I like Ligeti! But who doesn't?
posted by mr_roboto at 7:33 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Relevant
posted by triceryclops at 7:36 PM on November 15, 2012


Do me next!

Ligeti, Ground Zero, Sachiko M, Yasunao Tone, John Weise, Fred Frith, Merzbow, Otomo Yoshihide, Ryoji Ikeda, Albert Ayler.

Give up?

Rural Squalor.

I don't have the numbers for my parents' income, but Framer, Grocery Clerk, and Unemployed should give you hints on each of them.
posted by idiopath at 7:42 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


This was written by a reddit user. Apologies for losing source,, but this about sums it up.



Hipster culture is a reaction against perceived cultural trends of inauthenticity and superficiality. In a hyper commoditized world where commercial motives permeate every layer of the cultural fabric and advertising and lobbying dollars make everything in mainstream society suspect or of questionable motives, hipster culture has arisen to offer an alternative set of values and attitudes.

Hipster culture is primarily built on two behaviors: the fetishization of authenticity, coupled with a derisive, dismissive and ironic rejection of everything that doesn't fit within that narrow category.
The hipster concept of "authenticity" is complex but largely based on i) age, where objects or ideas older than a few decades are perceived to be more authentic as they sprang from a culture less corrupted by commercialization, and ii) a spartan kind of utility, where bare-bones items are seen as less commercially exploitative and thus more reliable.

Thus, hipster culture embraces fixed-gear bikes, mechanical typewriters, folk music, drinking from mason jars and vinyl records as they are all perceived to be both old and spartan. It also embraces things like mustaches and vintage clothes (just old), and apple products (just perceived to be of extreme simplicity).

The primary desire for authenticity also manifests more directly. Thus, hipster culture idolizes the true or realincarnation of things which have been commoditized and corrupted by consumer society. This category includes gourmet coffee, gourmet wine, organic food, micro-brewed beer etc.

When it comes to objects or ideas outside of the categories hipster culture embraces, it rejects them fiercely, either with hostility (Windows PCs, watching TV, working in an office and wearing a suit etc.), or by co-opting them under the banner of irony and adopting them as self-consciously "lame" (tri-wolf tee shirts, wearing gaudy fake jewelry etc.)

But as hipster culture has grown in popularity and has itself become more mainstream, the central definitions of these various concepts have shifted from being chiefly substantive (or at least, substantive based on dubious perception) to being chiefly aesthetic. Being seen to be authentic has become more important even within hipster culture than authenticity itself.

The real irony is that hipster culture is now aided and abetted by mainstream culture itself, as products and services are offered that appeal to the aesthetic sense of authenticity while being wholly of the commercial and inauthentic nature that hipster culture sprang up in reaction against. The waters are further muddied by some factions of hipster culture co-opting and subverting aspects of "faux" hipster culture to mock it in by the same method original hipster culture mocked mainstream culture.

To bring this back to the original example of a mason jar with a handle being given away by a microbrewery: originally, drinking from a mason jar was adopted by hipsters because it rejected commercialism by repurposing something that might otherwise be thrown away and because it harked back to some kind of Southern rural idyll that was perceived to be less corrupted by the commercialization of society. But as the substantive reasons for using a mason jar have given way to aesthetic reasons for drinking from a mason jar, those original arguments have become irrelevant. Thus, it's possible to i) use a mason jar with a handle, which completely perverts the original appeal of spartan utility, and ii) buy a mason jar drinking vessel, which completely perverts the original appeal of repurposing waste and rejecting commercialism.
posted by lalochezia at 7:44 PM on November 15, 2012 [41 favorites]


Mefi's own!

Same mefite on the Wikipedia hipster page!
posted by Ad hominem at 7:49 PM on November 15, 2012


This was written by a reddit user. Apologies for losing source,, but this about sums it up.

that definition is way too long. I think I'll stick with ...

"People with roughly the same socio-economic background and cultural interests as myself, whom I resent."
posted by philip-random at 7:50 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


At some point, maybe the 00's, the word "hipster" was basically the contemporary term for bohemian-ish kids who would rather have fun and do arty things in lower-rent parts of town than put their energy into traditional career and family goals. Like any other bohemian kids they had their set of fashions (skinny jeans, fixies, trucker caps) and were resented for being gentrifiers and for having too much fun. So far so good.

The problem was that this particular subculture revolved around this concept of "irony," the appreciation of the discord between what something signals and what it is. Wearing a Tshirt from the "Minnesota Junior Wrestling Championship '93" or whatever is cool, because by wearing it in Brooklyn in 2002 as an adult, you are demonstrating that you can appreciate how what a Tshirt says on it doesn't necessarily relate to the person wearing it, despite that relation being the original intended purpose of said shirt. However, any identifiable aspect of hipsterdom, especially self-identification as a hipster, has to be denied in order to participate in the hipster subculture, because that kind of straightforwardness goes against the central "ironic" aesthetic.

This causes a lot of problems. Who is or is not a "hipster" is impossible to directly state, so all those resentments about class and race and age toward this nebulous group of people can't be resolved and just stew. Sincerity becomes difficult because it has become fashionable to not express yourself directly, so your options are to be either uncool or obtuse. Much more psychic energy than necessary gets wasted on dealing with intractable ingroup-outgroup distinctions and determinations of authenticity, and there's that much less left to deal with the actual problems of life.

Thankfully, "hipster" seems to now mean absolutely nothing at all, so we can just move on.
posted by eurypteris at 7:51 PM on November 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


Juliet Banana, I like your porteur rack. Now I wanna powder coat one to match my bike.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 7:56 PM on November 15, 2012


The best of the web!
posted by J0 at 8:01 PM on November 15, 2012


Hey, kids, lemme tell ya: being a hippie was easy. Grow your hair (over the ears was considered long back in the 60's) and do drugs and listen to rock and roll...Beatles, Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Country Joe and the Fish, Grateful Dead, Dylan etc. Complain about the War in Vietnam. Sincerely, not ironically. Irony came later. (In life, that is. Literature is another story...heh.)

When rednecks started smoking pot and growing their hair long (well, in mullets, but, still...), things became a little more complicated.

Now this hipster thing...no opinion, really. Knock yourselves out. I don't have a dog in this fight. I just turned sixty fucking years old.
posted by kozad at 8:04 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


"hipsters don't exist"
- a hipster

also lol at everyone talking about how hating urban well-off white young people with lots of social capital makes you some middle-aged sorehead
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:10 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't have a dog in this fight. I just turned sixty fucking years old.

Don't be so sure. I'm 53 and somebody just called me a hipster a while back. And I haven't worn tight jeans since at least 1977. But those were just tight through the ass and crotch, wide by the time they got your ankles. Flares, they were called. Stupid fucking things.

I'm guessing hipsterism started there. In which case, guilty as charged, I guess. But then I got into punk rock, destroyed the social order, so I figure it all balances out.
posted by philip-random at 8:20 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was waiting for the More Inside, that would tell me which computer program wrote that article.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:28 PM on November 15, 2012


This makes it sound like being a hipster is a lot of work.
posted by zennie at 8:36 PM on November 15, 2012


So v-necks on men are out now I hope. Hideous.
posted by yesster at 8:39 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hipster culture is primarily built on two behaviors: the fetishization of authenticity, coupled with a derisive, dismissive and ironic rejection of everything that doesn't fit within that narrow category.

TL;DR: "Laid back and rude.*"

*Quote was originally used to describe Mill Valley, CA, residents, may not be mutually exclusive
posted by Graygorey at 8:44 PM on November 15, 2012


This was written by a reddit user. Apologies for losing source,, but this about sums it up.

I like this explanation, as it fleshes out a related observation: authenticity doesn't necessarily cost money so much as it costs time. In these cases, time and money can be interchanged as they both lead to the same conclusion. Finding the authentic or less-commercialized source of a particular item takes time. Reviving long-lost practices takes time. Shepherding the existence of a small storefront selling artisan widgets takes time, let alone the time it takes to lovingly handcraft these widgets. The ability to engage in such time-consuming practices is just as similar of a class demarcation as the 80s-era yuppie who spent money on a Porsche 944 or a collection of Reeboks in every color available.

What goes hand-in-hand with both time and money is obsession, or as the popular phrase goes, following your passion. Patton Oswalt complained famously about the spread of otaku culture, but what he missed in that rant was that it's the otaku methodology that has gone mainstream and not necessarily the subjects of its adoration. The mainstreaming of otaku intensity started with the hipster subculture's never-ending quest for authenticity and relevancy, but as hipsters have mainstreamed, so has their thought processes. I personally draw the line here because I don't believe every object merits an obsession in order to enjoy it. It's perfectly okay in my book to have a casual interest in numerous things like coffee or wine or clothing, and if I'm not obsessed with the full story of how this particular glass of wine came to be...that's fine by me. I don't want the barrier to knowledge or enjoyment to be so high up that I'd have to showcase a huge commitment of time or money just to get there.
posted by stannate at 8:48 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's the guys who roll up their tight jeans to expose their hairy shins that give me the creeps...
posted by KokuRyu at 8:50 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


hahaha, this HAS to be a self-aware art piece. The non-ironic use of the word 'deck' totally gave it away. Well-played.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:54 PM on November 15, 2012


I thought this was a good article... there's a lot of mockery ("Chrome, never Explorer") but also a lot of sincere appreciation for people who would rather conform to an open subculture than to a, well, conformist subculture (a given example is getting your eyebrows waxed). The article contains many contradictory ideas of a what a hipster is and then suggests that part of being a hipster is learning to embrace contradiction.

There's also some social commentary ("don't be surprised when you work out that perhaps even your entire generation has adopted the anti-materialism message out of sheer necessity from the lack of jobs, money, and financial support that was once around") and even some spiritual commentary:

"Negativity can pervade the hipster culture, perhaps as a counteraction to the ridiculously over-positive can-do-anything motivational speaker style attitudes pervading much of the business and consumer culture these days. However, negativity is not an answer, it's simply a reaction... Remember too, that every generation is cursed with thinking things used to be or could be better. We are time-bound and body-bound creatures who need to accept our limitations while making the most of what we do know and can do. Constant deconstructing and criticizing of society can all too easily turn into a paralysis-by-analysis lifestyle, in which complaining becomes your modus operandi but actually changing the status quo is not something you're tooled up to do."

For a how-to wiki that focuses mostly on fashion, there's some surprising stuff in there.
posted by subdee at 8:56 PM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I dunno, I think hairy shins and v-necks are kinda hot. And wouldn't exposed hairless shins be creepier?

(assuming adult dude + not a cross-country runner or in drag or something)
posted by en forme de poire at 8:57 PM on November 15, 2012


It's the guys who roll up their tight jeans to expose their hairy shins that give me the creeps...
What about the girls who roll up their tight jeans to expose their hairy shins (or hairy ankles)? Asking for a friend.
posted by kendrak at 8:57 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Anyway, if hipster culture really does allow hipsters to both reject and incorporate mainstream consumerism, it might be the first youth subculture to survive the commoditization process. Which is necessary, because that process is happening at light-speed now...
posted by subdee at 8:58 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


hahaha, this HAS to be a self-aware art piece. The non-ironic use of the word 'deck' totally gave it away. Well-played.

It reminds me of the kind of straight-faced style guides you'd find in things like local newspapers back in the 80s. I still recall one particular article (in the women's section) where the reporter (obviously just filling up space between ads) was explaining to women how to help their husbands/boyfriends to affect the always-unshaven look that Don Johnson had in Miami Vice. It was very detailed and included specific instructions on how and when to shave, and explored various regular and electric shaver options (and of course began with a discussion of different kinds of facial hair).

How To Be A Hipster very much captures that tone. Well-played indeed.

f***ing hipsters
posted by philip-random at 9:12 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember when the term was first re-appropriated, about 1998 or so. In fact, I think - my memory is fuzzy here - we were using the word "hip" in place of "cool" for a while. God, it's so long ago I could be totally imagining that. But I think it was a thing - to say "hip." This was in LA. I think it may be related. But this word "hipster" is so confusing.

By the way, isn't it pretty much impossible to self-identify as a hipster? Isn't -ster a suffix meaning roughly "thing of little significance?" A diminutive?
posted by univac at 9:34 PM on November 15, 2012


There are 100 ways to be a hipster...100 loving waaaays
posted by hellojed at 9:41 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wearing a Tshirt from the "Minnesota Junior Wrestling Championship '93" or whatever is cool, because by wearing it in Brooklyn in 2002 as an adult

My mom used to wear a fake "University of Michigan State" sweatshirt made in Hong Kong that she said she bought in LA while living in Vancouver during the mid '80s. Was she a proto-hipster?

(Fake American University apparel was/is a "thing," as was random English words but designed interestingly.)

Thanks for bringing up the idea of "authenticity" - in 90s/00s/10s perhaps the fetishisation of the obscure/antique/authentic comes out of the ability to spend time on finding it whereas in the '80s one spent their time on a career and focused primarily on income. Could hipsterism be borne of the stagnant economy (mandatory productivity increases in spite of income stagnation) and this is just how the well-off are exhibiting conspicuous consumption? Or is hipsterism borne more from the well-off imitating the underemployed/non-career-mainstream/co-opting the underclass?

Gah. There are so many different phyla of hipster it's probably a mixed up complicated mess. I can already feel the weight of MA and PhD theses/dissertations filling up archival servers.

univac - I'm of the camp that thinks that there is very little actual "social genetic" similarity between contemporary hipsters and the historic use of the term "hip" or "hep."
posted by porpoise at 9:48 PM on November 15, 2012


I'm still unclear about the potato in the shoe. WHY.
posted by feckless at 9:50 PM on November 15, 2012


50 Ways To Leave Your Hipster
posted by kersplunk at 9:50 PM on November 15, 2012


My mom used to wear a fake "University of Michigan State" sweatshirt made in Hong Kong that she said she bought in LA while living in Vancouver during the mid '80s. Was she a proto-hipster?

Depends; did she wear it ironically?
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:51 PM on November 15, 2012


I'm me and I'm really happy that way.
posted by zephyr_words at 9:59 PM on November 15, 2012


Rebel Sell: Why the Culture Can't be Jammed
So here we have the paradox of anti-consumerism. The major remedy of the consumer society which has been adopted almost without question by the Left and by the radicals more generally has been one of the most powerful forces driving consumer capitalism. The Adbusters sneaker is just the latest and most extraordinary example. This is also why counter-cultural rebellion is not a threat to the system, but rather has become the system.
The article is about Adbusters but has relevance to hipsters per lalochezia's comment.
posted by BinGregory at 10:15 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Did anyone really ever say "deck?" I mean, as anything other than a joke?

Gretchen: That is so fetch!
Regina: Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen! It's not going to happen!
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:28 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm still unclear about the potato in the shoe. WHY.
oh you don't know about potatoes in shoes? oh. wow
posted by arsey at 10:29 PM on November 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Rebel Sell: Why the Culture Can't be Jammed

Oh, such a tonic! Whenever I become irritated by Adbusters again, I will read it for relief. Thank you for posting this article!
posted by KokuRyu at 10:29 PM on November 15, 2012


Wait. That first image features a Pistols T-shirt.
Damned hipsters. Go co-opt some crappy band!


They did.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:54 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


And a hipster is somebody who thinks cycling to work is an act of rebellion.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:02 PM on November 15, 2012


Style. Grooming. Shopping. Lifestyle. etc.

Most of it is pretty much just consumerism, conspicuous consumption, fashion-driven purchasing, including all that "early adopter" stuff (proud to be important cogs in the commercial machine).
posted by pracowity at 11:23 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hipster culture is a reaction against perceived cultural trends of inauthenticity and superficiality.

No. Hipsters are inauthentic, superficial people in search of a culture.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:05 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I like all the same things as hipsters like, (except for the glasses. those are just weird) does that make me a hipster?
posted by empatterson at 12:12 AM on November 16, 2012


I'm grateful to hipsters. They tend to have pretty good taste in music, and as a result good bands come through knowing they can sell lots of tickets to them.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 2:00 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


As I said in the metatalk thread:

Calling someone a hipster is the aesthetic equivalent of Fox News labelling everyone they disagree with a "socialist".

It doesn't tell you anything about the subject, only about the labeller, who is using a convenient shorthand rather than telling you about their actual disagreement.

I mean, if someone tells me "I can't stand that guy, he likes bicycles/beer/universal healthcare", I might say "hey, i like that thing too" and then there wouldn't be another participant for the Two Minutes Hate.


Seriously. Complaining about "hipsters" is USELESS, because the term doesn't mean anything anymore. If you don't like a behavior, describe it.
posted by dubold at 2:30 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lalochezia, isn't that pretty much the basis of most subcultures? Striving to be authentic until the subculture becomes so mainstream that it becomes a kind of parody of itself? Weren't emo and goth and grunge all the same, just w.r.t. different kinds of authenticity? I mean, "the world doesn't understand my sadness, so I'm going to start buying it from Hot Topic"? Doesn't it all get kind of paradoxical? It seems most subcultures are founded due to a perceived lack of something in the mainstream.

I honestly don't get the hipster hate and I'm not sure why because I'm primed to do so. As a working class girl who went off to the big city for college with a bunch of rich kids wearing Goodwill skinny jeans and handkerchiefs and their dad's watch, you think I would hate their guts. But I don't think I ever encountered a True Hipster, who actually cared about gatekeeping "authenticity" in a substantive way. Sure, they were searching for authenticity, but so is... nearly everyone.

Hating trucker hats I get-- ironic trucker hats were shitty and I never saw one my whole adolescence because my community was saturated with people wearing trucker hats because they were just middle-aged working class guys, some of them actual truckers. It seemed shitty to me to be like "hyuck I'm wearing a trucker hat, because it's hilarious to think that someone like me with all the money and opportunity in the world would become a trucker!" But just wearing a certain style of clothing, or riding a bike, or liking new music isn't inherently douchey to me. Hipsterism at one moment actually pointed to a series of commercialized trends which were distinguishable, but I think it's true in a way that hipster culture has melded with the mainstream desire to resist industrial culture and just become a bunch of people wearing svelte clothing and buying music and not having a Real Job because there are no jobs, and carrying on in the way that youths will, I guess.

Hating them makes no sense to me-- literally, I can't make sense of it, it boggles my mind. The more I read about it the more confused I get. I guess I get pissy when people spend 2x the money they need to buying music on vinyl, but I actually do enjoy listening to vinyl, so all that's left is annoyance that they have more money than me. It gets douchey when it's taken to a fetishistic extreme, but when it's not, it's just a cool thing that exists in a sensual and experiential and curatorial way. Like museums 'n shit. I'm actually more interested in what Henry James kind of identified and illustrated in his fiction as a seemingly American desire to consume and own in physical quantities the object of one's fascination, which is a broadly consumerist desire which has been around at least since then. There's a tension between "I like seeing things in museums because I like seeing a lot of neat things collected together" and "I want to own all these neat things so I have access to the at all times, and they increase my social cachet." I guess I do see the potential for getting one's hate on over that particular issue. But it seems like an American symptom buried in the middle of a subculture (or maybe now mainstream culture) that is trying to do what all subcultures do.

It's the guys who roll up their tight jeans to expose their hairy shins that give me the creeps...

I think it's hot. Call it the "good creeps," if you will.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:47 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anyway I'm kind of chill with being called a hipster, I have only been called a hipster twice in my life and both times I thought "but I don't look as good as most hipsters." Would that I did. But I enjoy fashion in general.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:48 AM on November 16, 2012


Too much work.
I'm content with being an Old Fart.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:40 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


We're still doing this? Christ, we're assholes.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:43 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]



Seriously, tell me about the avant-garde music that you listen to; show me your vintage clothes; and I will describe to you what kind of suburb you grew up in and how much money your parents make and what your friends were like who attended your mostly white, reasonably well ranked public high school.


Ain't gonna work, baby. Where I grew up, everyone but everyone was clad in sportswear, the streets resonated to the sounds of happy hardcore, and my home town was 20% Muslim so not sure if that counts as 'mostly white'.

Having said that, yesterday my team-mates and I were trying to decide which trendy burger bar (it's a thing in London) to go to for our Christmas lunch.
posted by mippy at 4:30 AM on November 16, 2012


The mason jar example is striking. I've seen it happen with craft a lot in the past few years. Charity shopping was good if you were broke, if you didn't like the items available in the shops and preferred to buy older textiles and items, or if you preferred to cut down on the new things you used. Now it's been largely repackaged as 'vintage', and 'vintage' hobbies like knitting and sewing have become commodified - there is not a shop near my London office where I can go and buy a cheap ball of wool if I need it, but I can go and buy a very expensive 'artisan' yarn down the road from the shop that does artfully-distressed stools and the one next-door which does £80 versions of the cheap overnight bag my dad used in the 70s.

I like the fact that more people are willing to wear weird-looking stuff - my friend used to get verbally abused in the street for wearing 70s paisley - and I like that people are more interested in making things rather than buying, but not so much that others have realised that you can make a lot of money out of these two things. And those who have been doing it for years are being called 'hipsters' and charged hipster prices, and it's a right pain. I didn't learn to cycle until a couple of years ago, but I imagine the same thing is happening for those who have cycled for years as it's fun and cheap - yes, you can get more and fancier gear, but it's becoming less fun and cheap as a result.

I don't, however, care about band t-shirts being sold in Primark and Urban Outfitters, because I remember being a teenager and not being able to buy the band merchandise I wanted as there were no gigs where I lived. Similar thing with vinyl - if you wanted music on vinyl in the 90s, if only because your parents thought a CD player was a 'gimmick', you had to be prepared to take the train. If the teenage me of today could go into their local Primark and pick up a PiL shirt, this would be an excellent thing.
posted by mippy at 4:42 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like Urban Outfitters. And jeggings. Now I find myself questioning my identity...
posted by saraindc at 5:04 AM on November 16, 2012


Between the hipster rage here and the post about shallow geek culture, I get the feeling I should be insecure about how certain things in my life are seen, but I don't have enough psychic energy to give a shit.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:09 AM on November 16, 2012


TL;DBIE
posted by tommasz at 5:16 AM on November 16, 2012


I remember when the term was first re-appropriated, about 1998 or so. In fact, I think - my memory is fuzzy here - we were using the word "hip" in place of "cool" for a while. God, it's so long ago I could be totally imagining that. But I think it was a thing - to say "hip." This was in LA. I think it may be related. But this word "hipster" is so confusing.

Hip means (meant?) cool and current. A hipster is someone who surfs the trends jumping from one hip thing to another. They don't enjoy these things because they enjoy them, they do them because they want to be seen as hip. They are just another kind of fashionista. They aren't defined by the specifics of what they do (PBR and trucker hats one year, fancy mustaches and handmade axes the next), but by the fact that they are followers of trend.

What is aggravating about the hipster is the hypocrisy of them proclaiming that they are free spirits, proclaiming individuality while dressing and consuming exactly like everyone else in their meta-clique.
posted by gjc at 5:19 AM on November 16, 2012


Did anyone really ever say "deck?" I mean, as anything other than a joke?

We say it all the time when swinging on the flippity-flop. You must be a real cob nobbler.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:40 AM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


subdee: people who would rather conform to an open subculture than to a, well, conformist subculture

That's a good point, actually. Once I was in the situation of having to start from near-scratch in terms of building a social life, and the most welcoming group was hipsters. All you really had to do was show up and talk to people and you were part of the group. It was very non-judgmental.

Admittedly I'm someone who's into obscure culture, but I was equally conversant in terms of the geek subculture, but I found it a lot less welcoming. There always was this subtle testing going on, trying to figure out what my knowledge of topic X was, or how much time I'd spent doing activity Y. This isn't true of all geeks, but for geeks who care about their status in the subcultural hierarchy, that's how status is enforced.

While with hipsters, it was generally that if I didn't know about, say, some band, I'd be told when the next show was gonna be, or which album to check out. The general attitude was that if you didn't know about something, then you'd be presented with the information necessary to seek it out. This is also a status-enforcing thing, but it's very different (of course, at the top of the hierarchy for both geeks and hipsters are artists, Shigeru Miyamoto and Wes Anderson both have similar status within the respective subcultures). Status in the hipster scene is tied into notions of authenticity, i.e. being really into whatever you're into, and you build social status by demonstrating how enthusiastic you are. This isn't a conscious thing, necessarily, as a rule people who are really into something want to share their obsession with other people. Likewise, geek status-jockeying via knowledge-oneupmanship is not conscious, it's just an inevitable result of taking part in a subculture that prizes a certain kind of intellect.

I think that part of the reason some geeks find hipsters so irritating is that in geek subculture being told how to learn about something is a put-down, implying that you are dumb for not knowing about it, while that's the central mechanism by which the hipster subculture is maintained, and there is little stigma for not knowing about something (though that's not universally true... I think most hipsters would be dumbfounded to talk to someone who'd never heard of Radiohead, to give an example). So when someone accustomed to geek mores is told: "Oh, you haven't heard Esmerine? You should go see them, they have a show next week!" What they hear is a put down.

It's funny, I've never really thought of it this way before. I don't want to present the hipster subculture as some kind of utopia, because it definitely has problems, but it is very open to new people.
posted by Kattullus at 5:41 AM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


My mom summed it up best when she finally understood: "So, someone who has a really expensive laptop, but looks like they're homeless."

Which is why whoever wrote this guide does not truly understand hipsterism. They thought the greasy hair was from hair grease, not the result of carefully administered expensive hair product.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:02 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Greif's efforts puts the term "hipster" into a socioeconomic framework rooted in the petty bourgeois tendencies of a youth generation unsure of their future social status. The cultural trend is indicative of a social structure with heightened economic anxiety and lessened class mobility.
posted by Brian B. at 6:47 AM on November 16, 2012


Sign in the window of the new Brewdog bar in Shoreditch:

"Warning - All hipsters must be accompanied by a responsible adult"
posted by DanCall at 6:48 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Lalochezia, isn't that pretty much the basis of most subcultures? Striving to be authentic until the subculture becomes so mainstream that it becomes a kind of parody of itself? Weren't emo and goth and grunge all the same, just w.r.t. different kinds of authenticity?

What's different about say, punk vs. "hipster" authenticity is that there is supposedly some platonic Punk authenticity internal to the subculture against which all ostensibly punk things are judged and inevitably found wanting. "Hipster" is something that's judged only against external ideas of authenticity (working class culture, sincere enthusiasts, you, etc.) and inevitably found wanting. Whereas calling something punk could be a mark of approval, hipster is an insult. It's "poser" with the extra venom of "so you think you're better than me, hunh?"

Because, like half of everyone keeps saying, there is no "hipster" subculture. (Notice how no one ever accuses goths of being hipsters, except maybe people who want to express dislike but are deeply confused: goths are a specific subculture, hipsters are not.) The only thing here is the dominant middle-class culture, collectively made up of current fads and products and the same old class/race/gender issues and etc.. That's why it's so easy to accuse someone of hipsterdom: I have no clue why this idea of the hipster came to be. Is it some weird endgame of American mass marketing, in which everyone's internalized the story of authentic self-expression through purchases? I mean, that would explain all the posts like this:

> A hipster is someone who surfs the trends jumping from one hip thing to another. They don't enjoy these things because they enjoy them, they do them because they want to be seen as hip. They are just another kind of fashionista.

Same dang script each time. Half the energy in discussions about hipsters is making sure everyone knows that you've identified the cultural hypocrites, and that you are not of their number.

Maybe the internet is somehow responsible, where the increased access to information makes the idea of widespread commonality (and thus the need for the hipster strawman) so much more in evidence and so much more fraught.

Or maybe the internet is responsible because the raging amount of snark online just HAD to find some vehicle in the real world, and thus was born The Hipster. Everyone outside of the main culture, after all, was already easily pegged and sneered at as a minority or the wrong class and etc.. And with The Hipster around, you can put down your fellows in mainstream culture without resorting to icky liberal criticisms like pointing out their participation in systemic inequality and whatnot. (That more liberal criticisms of The Hipster attack it in just that way reinforces the idea that it IS a construct of the dominant culture.)

I dunno. All I really know is that for a little while some people in the arts/music scene which has always been around were dressing in ironically unflattering apparel, like eighties clothing and pedo-glasses. There were some class issues. It was a thing and then it faded out. And then about a million articles like the one in OP picked it up, ran with it, and made fetch happen.

The idea of The Hipster exists. It's interesting, multifaceted, and serves different purposes in different contexts. But "hipsters" don't real.
posted by postcommunism at 6:51 AM on November 16, 2012 [40 favorites]


How to Be a Hipster in 2 Steps:

1. Lurk at Metafilter and find out what things the members there hate about how certain young people act. GRAR Clothes I don't understand?!?!? GRAR Music I haven't heard of?!?!?! GRAR Trendy things?!?!?!? GRAR

2. Do those things.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:53 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm 53 and somebody just called me a hipster a while back.

> I have no idea if you're a "hipster" or not. But if the rap against hipsters is superficiality and materialism, then judging someone's trustworthiness* by their affection for a pop song sounds like exactly the kind of thing such a hipster would say. Unless you were just writing ironically, in which case ... uh, nope, it's hipsters all the way down.

4 years ago, when Adbusters was warning us all about the hipster scourge, I wrote this and I haven't changed my mind since. I'm also pretty much behind Momus' remarks on the topic, especially this one:
"Sure, the hip subculture, seen from a certain distance (like next door when you're trying to sleep and they're partying), can be frustratingly superficial, conformist, holier than thou. But think of it as something people do in their 20s, and think of 20-something hipsters spreading out, in their 30s and 40s, in more and more individual directions, becoming artists, visionaries, eccentrics ... or just settling down to bring up kids in a neighbourhood with an organic grocery and soya milk ice cream."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:02 AM on November 16, 2012


When my name/photograph stops surfacing in every thread about hipsters on Metafilter I'm going to start feeling really old, I think.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:11 AM on November 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


"I am big. It's the hipster threads that got small!"
posted by octobersurprise at 7:29 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the article: you'll tend to find hipsters in major cosmopolitan centers . . . especially the Brooklyn, N.Y. suburb of Williamsburg

Can't tell if this is a joke or just wrong.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 7:57 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank god we have ways of classifying large groups of people as being inherently bad due to how they look and dress because otherwise I might have to get to know them before I mentally put them in the "worthless" box in my head.

I think making fun of hipsters has reached a point where it is utterly toxic and makes me sad.
posted by jsturgill at 8:29 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favorite bit; I can't find the source image, but it was one of those "funny facebook/text message" screenshot sites, an exchange that went something like this:

Mom: What's a hipster?
Me: Well, actually, it's a bit complicated...
Mom: You're one of them, aren't you?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:47 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I thought all you had to do to be a hipster was follow Questionable Content and do whatever the characters in there did. Especially sleep with hot indie girls.
posted by happyroach at 9:24 AM on November 16, 2012


I remember when the term was first re-appropriated, about 1998 or so. In fact, I think - my memory is fuzzy here -

1984 (maybe 1985). I've secured a video-pitch meeting with the cool alt-underground band in town. It's in the lead singer's apartment, which is the top floor of a rickety old building -- the kind of place where poets are eventually found dead. Every stair creaks as I make my way up. There are all manner of ancient smells permeating. I reach the door of the guy's apartment and "GET HIP" is carved into it.

This was the first time I saw "hip" disconnected from "hippie" in my life, though I did make the association that it was connected with stuff like the Beatniks, pre-1960s cool etc. Anyway, for me, "hip" and general hipsterism slowly grew (back?) into the culture from there, as a sort of post-punk thing ... and yes, permeated with irony from the get-go.

Not that there's anything wrong with irony.

But Adbusters is such a drag. If it was a person, it would be that cat who's always going on about not owning a TV.

(from that comment octobersurprise linked to ...)

True story. February 1991. I was in the Adbusters office discussing possible work with Kalle Lasn when the word hit that US (and other) forces were bombing Baghdad -- the beginning of the first Gulf War. And they didn't have a TV. Or if they did, they didn't know where it was, and they definitely didn't have cable. Here was this organization dedicated to cutting edge deconstruction of the great LIE-MACHINE and they weren't even hooked up. I remember walking out thinking, these guys don't get it.

And then later on they used some of my stuff in a piece that ended up on MTV-Europe without either crediting me or paying for it.

And yet I do credit them with being a good sort of 101 for 15-18 year olds who need to have it explained to them the degree to which they've been brainwashed by a POWER that wants to keep them soft, so their flesh will be tender when they get eaten.
posted by philip-random at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


This was the first time I saw "hip" disconnected from "hippie" in my life, though I did make the association that it was connected with stuff like the Beatniks, pre-1960s cool etc. Anyway, for me, "hip" and general hipsterism slowly grew (back?) into the culture from there, as a sort of post-punk thing ... and yes, permeated with irony from the get-go.

It's a word I associate with William Burroughs ("the hipster bebop junkies..."), and even his use of it always seemed deliberately ironic to me.
posted by Forktine at 2:18 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hands up, who likes hipsters?
posted by klangklangston at 5:31 PM on November 16, 2012


HipStar

posted by mmrtnt at 12:29 AM on November 17, 2012


How to be a Hipster
posted by kmz at 8:38 PM on November 18, 2012


Only hipsters deny the existence of hipsters as a sociological phenomenon
posted by thelonius at 1:39 AM on December 11, 2012


Heh. That was essentially the thesis of my cultural anthropology 101 term paper some ten years ago, that hipsters were a culture based on denying that they were hipsters.
posted by klangklangston at 9:56 AM on December 11, 2012


My suspicion for the longevity of hipsterdom is that, because it forever denies itself if keeps having to reinvent. A modern hipster is nothing like the hipsters of a decade ago, except for the whole being a hipster thing.
posted by Kattullus at 11:07 AM on December 11, 2012


Really? I tend to think that they're pretty close to the hipsters of ten years ago, and to the Gen Xers, and to the Beatnik "White Negro" hipsters of the '50s.

The hipster domination might also be because of the fracturing of pop culture, so that everything's obscure to somebody, and if you're into something obscure and you're even passably cool, you're a hipster.
posted by klangklangston at 12:57 PM on December 11, 2012


The touchstone of hipsterdom around 2000 was the appropriation of working class signifiers. Sometime around the middle of the last decade that got overtaken by the idea of authenticity, i.e. people doing crafts and other such things. That wasn't really a major part of hipsterdom before that. I think that's perhaps best demonstrated in that sincerity is the default hipster attitude these days.
posted by Kattullus at 2:46 PM on December 11, 2012


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