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The cool people are everywhere; somehow, they've even made the weather rainier
December 10, 2012 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Simpsons series 24 episode 7 (The Day The Earth Stood Cool) aired last night, being the hipsterification of Springfield, complete with urban nomads, artisanal donuts, Homer's new attire, the Decemberists, Marge being confused by The Onion, and gentrification.

The Eater PDX pontificated on the expansion of Portland restaurants. TV Fanatic liked it, Gothamist noted the New York Times elements, while Flavorwire decided it was possibly the worst episode ever.
posted by Wordshore (109 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, that was a great episode. Honestly the first time the Simpsons has made me laugh in 5 years.
posted by mathowie at 5:14 PM on December 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah I felt the same way as mathowie— this was genuinely funny, and lovingly vicious.
posted by Mister_A at 5:16 PM on December 10, 2012


The Simpsons are soooo over
posted by greta simone at 5:17 PM on December 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


I enjoyed it from start to finish. So did the 13 year old in my house, but she complained that they "didn't really focus enough on how it changed the character of the town.

Go figure!
posted by vitabellosi at 5:17 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Who wants to learn a song about press gangs and infanticide?
posted by Danf at 5:17 PM on December 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


I still regularly watch the Simpsons. It's not what it once was, but that doesn't make it not a great show, even with the occasional weak episode.

That said, yesterday's was stellar. I love that it was Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein as the couple, too.
posted by kafziel at 5:18 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmm, I would've put even money on which of last night's Simpsons or the incredibly dark Family Guy would be the first to hit the Blue. I guess I have my answer now.
posted by indubitable at 5:20 PM on December 10, 2012


The commercial for artisanal electricity at the end was my favorite part of the episode.
posted by tommasz at 5:24 PM on December 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


Hold it. I figured out this whole hipster thing.

1. There are urban creative types who really are on the cutting edge of cool. They're a reaction to consumer society. They create stuff. They have ideas. They're intellectuals. They don't have any need to call themselves hipsters because they're actually hip.

2. There are all the people who want to mimic them, but they do so as consumers. They go to "hipster n' go" AKA Urban Outfitters for their "Leprechaun Piss" flasks, fake thick-rimmed glasses, and flimsy portable turntables that glaze your records. They are self-regarding consumer slaves, oblivious of the paradox of their uniform individuality.

People on the outside look at both groups and dismiss them as "hipsters". The people from class 2 are just a crude consumer simulacrum of the real thing, and are so clueless they actually agree and say "Yes, we're hipsters".
posted by dunkadunc at 5:25 PM on December 10, 2012 [46 favorites]


I could easily go my whole life without ever seeing Peter Griffin's obnoxious face or voice ever, ever again. That show makes me cringe now. About the only thing I can say for it at this point is that it's still better than reality TV, Brickleberry or (UGH) Tosh.0.
posted by JHarris at 5:27 PM on December 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


It started well, then pushed the Simpsons into admitting what they should have years ago: they're not subversive parodies of suburban life, they're doughy, lost establishment characters given over to cliche and habit.

Seriously, has a Simpson's episode in the last five years made it past the second act without copping out and shrugging off comedy to engage in a bit of glurgy affirmation for the boring sitcom it's become? (I know that people have been saying it's going downhill since, like, '96, but the last five years have been particularly bad if only because they so often start with such promise and then piss it away so lazily).
posted by klangklangston at 5:28 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


the incredibly dark Family Guy

Wait, what?
posted by sendai sleep master at 5:33 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Worst episode ever!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:33 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


But Bob's Burgers was pretty great again.
posted by klangklangston at 5:35 PM on December 10, 2012 [15 favorites]


Leave it to this generation of Simpsons writers to trend-hop onto a branch of "humor" that was tired and stale four years ago. They're embarrassing themselves.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:40 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Worst episode ever!

You forgot the unnecessary pausing.

Worst. Comment. Ever.
posted by thanotopsis at 5:41 PM on December 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


The only thing missing from The Simpsons episode was everyone going to Guy Fieri's new place in Springfield.
posted by terrapin at 5:43 PM on December 10, 2012 [23 favorites]


Are The Simpson's retro enough to be cool?
posted by cosmic.osmo at 5:43 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Flavorwire decided it was possibly the worst episode ever.

Maybe the episode was only bad ironically.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:44 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wasn't this a King of the Hill episode damn near a decade ago?
posted by graphnerd at 5:44 PM on December 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


You guys, I don't even watch The Simpsons anymore, it's so tired and played out. I only read obscure webcomics that you've probably never heard of, it's just so much more authentic.
posted by indubitable at 5:45 PM on December 10, 2012 [19 favorites]


I wish the episode made fun of some new thing nobody's ever heard of.
posted by Mister_A at 5:46 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It did, but nobody got the reference.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:47 PM on December 10, 2012 [18 favorites]


I will listen to an episode of this 'Simpsons' thing as soon as a wax cylinder is released for my phonograph - the only piece of modern equipment I will touch.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:48 PM on December 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I thought it was great. It made me uncomfortable because of the timing. The neighborhood I live in is exactly in the midst of the same transition the Simpsons satirized last night. I can see why this episode would be lame for people who live in neighborhoods where that scene is well-established, but for me, I liked it.

And I will always love Homer and his mood swings.
posted by girlmightlive at 5:50 PM on December 10, 2012


This episode features people adopting the trappings of a certain station in order to appear to tap into a powerful and exclusive group identity. While some members of the group have earned their membership and station, others merely mimic the outward appearance, language, and poses that they feel typify the "in" group's membership. In other words, The Simpsons is totally ripping off HMS Pinafore!
posted by Mister_A at 5:52 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


ugh I miss Jeff and Akbar.
posted by boo_radley at 5:52 PM on December 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


Yes, Simpson's writers are well versed on current pop culture. Yes, it was only a matter of time before (x) and/or (y) were mentioned.

And, yes, ...it was goofy and damned funny.
posted by deacon_blues at 5:54 PM on December 10, 2012


Somewhere along the line, the Simpsons went from being on the fringe, poking fun at American mainstream culture to being American mainstream culture, poking fun at the fringe.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:05 PM on December 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


It's just like what happened to Austin, only they didn't leave after the NYT acknowledged that they were there.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:06 PM on December 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Somewhere along the line, the Simpsons went from being on the fringe, poking fun at American mainstream culture to being American mainstream culture, poking fun at the fringe.

If the rating continue to drop, they can be back at the fringe again and the cycle will begin anew.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:12 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


This season has been decent by later Simpsons standards. I was a fan of Lisa struggling with the morality of eating bugs as a vegetarian a few weeks ago, something I have considered before along with the anxiety that it would inevitably lead to justifications for shrimp and other borderline foods.

I want to try the beer keg doughnut.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:13 PM on December 10, 2012


the incredibly dark Family Guy

Wait, what?


Lots and lots of rape jokes.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:15 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Family Guy has always struck me as mainstream American culture celebrating stupidity and cruelty, so lots of rape jokes sounds about par for the course.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:19 PM on December 10, 2012 [22 favorites]


"didn't really focus enough on how it changed the character of the town."

Because they can't.

Next week the redone houses on the block will go back to looking like Neds and Homer's places and won't look like they came from Dwell magazine.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:26 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


A few thoughts:

I loved this episode, and I am definitely enjoying delicious schadenfreude at how butthurt that Flavorwire review sounded, not to mention a couple of the comments in here.

There may be a few genuine article hipsters, and there may be a bunch of fake consumer poser hipsters, but man oh man, I will be so glad when ALL of them are gone, gone, gone.
posted by KHAAAN! at 6:30 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Me, too. Then all of you haters can shut up about them.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:39 PM on December 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


FWIW, the Springfield of The Simpsons is loosely based on Portland, OR which has itself gentrified and hipsericated since Groening grew up there.
posted by eurypteris at 6:45 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


ugh I miss Jeff and Akbar.

Come on down to Akbar and Jeff's Goodtime Handmade Beerdrinkery!

Where the hip skip to tip a drip!
posted by Rock Steady at 6:46 PM on December 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


So, where can I watch this? Hulu's telling me that the episode has been pulled....
posted by schmod at 6:47 PM on December 10, 2012


There will always be people who put on a tribal identity that they don't really comprehend because it makes them feel good about themselves, be they poseurs, hipsters, flappers, tea-partiers, hippies, bandwagon-jumping San Francisco Giants fans, people who claim they were at the first Daft Punk/Sex Pistols/Led Zeppelin/Beatles concert, or what-have-you.

And there will always be people hating on those people who put on those poses. And there will be people who join in with the haters because it gives them a sense of tribal identity even though they don't really understand it. And people will hate them for it, too.

It is the way of things.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:47 PM on December 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


but man oh man, I will be so glad when ALL of them are gone, gone, gone.

Much like I'll feel when people using the word "butthurt" are gone.
posted by inigo2 at 6:54 PM on December 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


Are The Simpson's retro enough to be cool?

Within the next couple of weeks we will pass the 23rd anniversary of the first Simpsons episode (and the 13th anniversary of the, ahem, last memorable Simpsons episode, Grift of the Magi).

Go back 23 years from 1989 and The Flintstones are completing their 6th and final season (although you'd probably have to go back 26 or 27 years to find the last cool Flintstones episode).

Were the Flintstones retro cool in 1989? They sure were by the early 90s, so if the Simpsons can hang on for just a few more years who knows what will happen.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 6:58 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the View-Master at 5:05 alone, I will always love this episode.
posted by Wordshore at 6:59 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kyle Ryan from the AV Club did a feature a couple of weeks ago, picking the 10 episodes that best formed a summary of The Simpsons. The most recent episode he picked, "Behind The Laughter" (the VH1 parody from the end of season 11), aired 4586 days ago (and only 3808 days after the first episode). None of the ten were from the most recent 11 seasons of the show. He produced a shortlist of the 97(!) episodes he had considered; only 8 were from the show's second half.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:06 PM on December 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


oh yeah, also lol @ that episode for managing to work the phrase "combat jack" into the dialogue.
posted by indubitable at 7:11 PM on December 10, 2012


2. There are all the people who want to mimic them, but they do so as consumers. They go to "hipster n' go" AKA Urban Outfitters for their "Leprechaun Piss" flasks, fake thick-rimmed glasses, and flimsy portable turntables that glaze your records. They are self-regarding consumer slaves, oblivious of the paradox of their uniform individuality.

People on the outside look at both groups and dismiss them as "hipsters". The people from class 2 are just a crude consumer simulacrum of the real thing, and are so clueless they actually agree and say "Yes, we're hipsters".


I don't know about this. At this point, the "hipster" has been agonized over, analyzed, and made fun of to the point that I don't there exists anyone who owns a record player or shops at Urban Outfitters or wears thick-rimmed glasses that really embraces the label. Some may resign themselves to it, but even they are probably very much aware of the fact there exist many, many other people mostly just like them. There are very few people out there, I'd say, who actually believe their particular taste in glasses or home decor marks them as some kind of rebel against conformism or consumerism.

Also, at this point the word "hipster" has been used so much that it could theoretically encompass any youngish person who lives in a city and listens to even a little bit of indie music. I mean, I'm listening to The National right now - does that make me a hipster? I live in Brooklyn and like microbrews - does that make me a hipster? I don't know. I don't care.

I do agree that there exist urban creative types on the cutting edge of cool, but they're not hipsters in all but the most technical definitions of the world. What are they? I wouldn't know - I'm not cutting edge enough, and don't pretend to be.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:14 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Artisanal electricity, now that's really good.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:19 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]






Also, King of the Hill did this episode like five years ago...the joke wasn't nearly as played out then, and it was still a pretty weak episode.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:55 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


WTF? This isn't just a thing from the episode, but an actual American socio-political concept?! I have so much still to learn before becoming an American.
posted by Wordshore at 8:07 PM on December 10, 2012


The late Christopher Hitchens preferred to call it Lacto-Fascism because he thought, incorrectly, that it didn't make him sound like Rush Limbaugh.

Or maybe I'm confused.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:22 PM on December 10, 2012


Speaking of Fox Animation Sunday, I have to agree with the AV Club that last night's American Dad was actually quite well-executed.
posted by dhens at 8:25 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most things hipster are just more marketing, but the Farmer's Market is a real improvement over the tire fire. Also, bike culture. And bike lanes.
posted by ransom_k_fern at 8:41 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


There were definitely some decent laughs in the episode, which I only watched because of this FPP. However, having not paid any attention to The Simpsons for a few years, if this is a "Great" episode then the show has fallen further than I knew.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:50 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]



Hold it. I figured out this whole hipster thing.

Hold it. I figured out this whole punk thing.
posted by mattoxic at 9:11 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You guys, I don't even watch The Simpsons anymore, it's so tired and played out. I only read obscure webcomics that you've probably never heard of, it's just so much more authentic."

I can't tell if this comment was terrible ironically. Or: I don't even know anymore.

"Also, at this point the word "hipster" has been used so much that it could theoretically encompass any youngish person who lives in a city and listens to even a little bit of indie music. I mean, I'm listening to The National right now - does that make me a hipster? I live in Brooklyn and like microbrews - does that make me a hipster? I don't know. I don't care. "

I hated hipsters, like, eight years ago. When it was about pretending I listened to Xiu Xiu and hearing Arcade Fire in every goddamn bar.

It might be cool to hate them again when I'm, like, 40 or something. Right now, it just seems like a lot of work. But who knows — a little distance, they could maybe set up a theme restaurant called Artisinal's that I could take my wife's parents to and teach 'em to stop thinking "burrata" is ethnic food.

"There may be a few genuine article hipsters, and there may be a bunch of fake consumer poser hipsters, but man oh man, I will be so glad when ALL of them are gone, gone, gone."

Joke's on you — Subcultures don't disappear anymore. Hipsters adopt 'em. They won't be gone by the time you're soylent green.
posted by klangklangston at 9:23 PM on December 10, 2012


Okay, listen. Hipster subculture exists, and is real, and simply doesn't label itself as "hipster" because that label is disparaging. As I've said somewhere before, it's like the word "conformist" in that it is generally only used by insecure folks trying to assure people that they are not one of the group in question.

But yeah, these people exist, and live their lives, and don't really effect yours in any way unless you want them too. Check out your local alt-weeklies. That's hipster culture.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:32 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have spent way too much of my time these past few years complaining/celebrating the various nuances brought to Portland, Oregon by people who have moved here. Most of these subtle variances are of the type parodied in episodes of Portlandia and this particular Simpsons. As I watched last night's Simpsons I laughed and laughed and slowly identified myself with Homer as the show progressed. And I began to get angry when I saw myself (and my mid-century home popping up like fungi around the Simpsons home) in Homer co-opting the facial hair and ironic lack of head hair and thinking I was part of this imported cool.

And then, Homer did his little mea culpa moment and I remembered that Portland will be OK and, like Homer, so will I. And in the end, something will be left behind a little like how Olympia is better for the early 1990s and Seattle is for the mid-1990s. Something we co-opted from these roving hipsters and not something they left behind. Like the difference between being vaccinated versus being infected.
posted by Johnny Hazard at 9:36 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a moment in S6E01, "Bart of Darkness", where Bart picks up a MAD Magazine and there's a caricature hippie that Bart stares at, chortling, "Man, MAD! They don't care who they offend!"

I'm only halfway through this episode and I don't know which is worse, this or the South Park episode about ziplines. At least the zipline episode was DEFIANTLY torturous. Here it feels like they're trying to be funny but forgot that humor requires more than pointing out a cliche, staring at it for three seconds, then pointing at the next one down the line.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:41 PM on December 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


hipster zombie Simpsons

zombie hipster Simpsons

Simpsons zombie hipster

hipster Simpsons zombie

zombie Simpsons hipster

Simpsons hipster zombie
posted by y2karl at 9:47 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here it feels like they're trying to be funny but forgot that humor requires more than pointing out a cliche, staring at it for three seconds, then pointing at the next one down the line

This. Or better yet, Metafiler: see above.
posted by Johnny Hazard at 9:48 PM on December 10, 2012


You forgot about hipster zombie Flanders.
posted by littlesq at 9:53 PM on December 10, 2012


Somewhere along the line, the Simpsons went from being on the fringe, poking fun at American mainstream culture to being American mainstream culture, poking fun at the fringe.

Eh, I dunno, record shops and farmers' markets look pretty mainstream from where I'm standing.
posted by iamck at 10:01 PM on December 10, 2012


There may be a few genuine article hipsters, and there may be a bunch of fake consumer poser hipsters, but man oh man, I will be so glad when ALL of them are gone, gone, gone.

I feel the same way about arbitrarily intolerant assholes.


Hurry up.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:03 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mister_A: "In other words, The Simpsons is totally ripping off HMS Pinafore!"

Oh man, Simpsons referencing H.M.S. Pinafore is TOTALLY played out.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:03 PM on December 10, 2012


The problem with hating hipsters, of course, is that literally anything can turn you into a hipster. Whether you like trashy books or classical literature, arthouse or blockbuster films, computers or sports, work in an office or a convenience store or a construction site, you have collected a bunch of signifiers that proclaim your hipsterdom.

Thanks to the Internet, where people can connect to each other from across anywhere, you're much less limited by your immediate social circle than you once were. Once upon a time, if you spent all your time working/furthering your career, you were a yuppie. Work not satisfying? Go to raves, or become active in local politics, or find your local sports-and-karaoke bar, whichever crowd suits you. That's your identity, see? It's easy for people to track you down, know what you're like.

But now you can pick up bits and pieces of identity from everywhere. So that guy over there you never talk to, he likes craft beers and folk music and heartwarming awkward comedies. Only it's so easy to develop your particular tastes, he mostly likes craft beers from Tasmania and synth-folk progressive musicals and awkward comedies featuring talking snakes. All of which are somewhat unusual things to like, so... clearly he's part of some weird social caste that consists only of things you've never heard of? And that caste is the hipsters.

That's not a particular hip trend, though. It's unique to the one guy. And his friends do completely different things, so even if you get to know this one guy, all his friends will seem like hipsters to you. So exhausting! Why don't all these people make themselves more readily identifiable to you? So they're hipsters too, until of course you talk to them and realize no, they're just weird interesting people too.

Anyway, hating on hipsters feels more meanspirited even than hating on a specific clique, because to hate a broad enough spectrum of hipster to make your joke, you end up essentially hating everything. Which is what that episode just did – it's hard to make jokes meaningful when you're targeting a meaningless identity, so instead of their humor being cutting and unsettling it just came across as lame and half-hearted. Dunno if that's a modern Simpsons thing or a hating on hipsters thing specifically, but I suspect it's both.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:07 PM on December 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the hipster-bashing. Some people like some stuff that I don't like, or haven't tried. They wear clothes that are mostly just like mine, but are cut slightly differently. They listen to pop music with a slightly different set of production practices than the pop music I am used to listening to. They drink beer produced in small batches by large corporations instead of beer produced in large batches by large corporations. They make websites for soulless companies with Ruby and HAML and Coffeescript instead of making websites for soulless companies using PHP, HTML and Javascript.

In short, hipsters are people who are 97% just like me, except for some minor aesthetic differences because they've been the targets of different marketing.

So what?
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:30 PM on December 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think the Simpsons have been doing a good job lately. I thought this episode was something special, on par with the recent Lady Gaga episode. Thanks for posting the reviews!
posted by SounderCoo at 10:59 PM on December 10, 2012


Just realized Flavorwire criticized the "Hipster Episode" for being too mainstream. Oh the irony...
posted by SounderCoo at 11:02 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Look at these people who think things are lame!" isn't a funny joke. It's a lame joke. Yes, there's irony there, but The Simpsons, not Flavorwire, is at the butt of it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:09 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


People on the outside look at both groups and dismiss them as "hipsters". The people from class 2 are just a crude consumer simulacrum of the real thing, and are so clueless they actually agree and say "Yes, we're hipsters".

Fake geek, fake hipster... I want to know which group is next in line for the true/fake line-drawing.
posted by fatehunter at 11:17 PM on December 10, 2012


The people from class 2 are just a crude consumer simulacrum of the real thing, and are so clueless they actually agree and say "Yes, we're hipsters".

I have a creative writing degree. A long time ago, back when I was an undergrad, one of the instructors who, at the time, wrote "radio plays" when he wasn't teaching drama (writing plays etc), held a party at his house.

"We can't start yet," he said when we got there - a group of Fine Arts students ranging from 20 to over 50. "My son has just gone out to find some weed."

That's when you know you are in the presence of The Real Thing.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:25 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Somewhere along the line, the Simpsons went from being on the fringe, poking fun at American mainstream culture to being American mainstream culture, poking fun at the fringe

Or... Ivy educated writers (briefly) go from making fun of people in the lower middle class they don't belong to, to making fun of people in the upper-middle class they do belong to.

Joke = Springfield is being gentrified by the hipsters.
posted by dgaicun at 11:35 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Hey, this isn't faux dive. This is a dive!"

"You're a long way from home, yuppie-boy. I'll start a tab."
posted by moorooka at 11:46 PM on December 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hipsters are white culture. They are not a subset of it, they are it, that is it, hipster is white culture.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:46 PM on December 10, 2012


My friend Teri has been making fun of hipsters lately, even though I keep pointing out that I am one, which she refuses to believe, never mind the fact that I have chunky white glasses, wear skinny pants, spent years working at an alt-newsweekly, belonged to a Celtic punk band, and run my own pop-up theater company. Last week she introduced me to something called Rumchata, and I immediately started making plans to make my own using locally sourced small batch artisanal ingredients, and that's when I think she realized I wasn't kidding.

I wasn't, either. I'm pretty sure I can do rumchata better.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:56 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Rumchata is delicious.
posted by klangklangston at 12:00 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was drinking both rum and horchata before anybody they were cool. Although I regret somebody else thought of combining them, which is brilliant.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:02 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


How have we gotten this far without anyone pointing out that "Homer becomes hip" was also the premise of the lolapaloza episode? While many episodes aren't great, they are still better than a lot of what is out there, i'm looking at you Family Guy and other shows in the same family. On Fox only Bob's Burgers surpasses it constantly.

Not to derail, but hipsters of one sort of another will always be with us, in whatever name we call them. Just read Street Style to see examples and examples of it, even though it refers to fashion and trends, it fits in times like this. Heck, according to Laver's Law, the current brand of hipster is either close to peaking or has peaked. The fact that people are complaining about posers means that enough people have adopted it and that it's easy enough to find the styles that it's no longer ahead of it's time.
posted by usagizero at 12:23 AM on December 11, 2012


dhens: "Speaking of Fox Animation Sunday, I have to agree with the AV Club that last night's American Dad was actually quite well-executed."

Now that show is dark! And hilarious.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:05 AM on December 11, 2012


The problem with hating hipsters, of course, is that literally anything can turn you into a hipster. Whether you like trashy books or classical literature, arthouse or blockbuster films, computers or sports, work in an office or a convenience store or a construction site, you have collected a bunch of signifiers that proclaim your hipsterdom.

Except, you're leaving out the key ingredient...the catalyst...You must, at all times, coat every item, act, and affectation in your life with a thick layer of irony. Essentially, make everything in and about your life an obscure (and meaningless) social statement.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:51 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are all the people who want to mimic them, but they do so as consumers. They go to "hipster n' go" AKA Urban Outfitters for their "Leprechaun Piss" flasks, fake thick-rimmed glasses, and flimsy portable turntables that glaze your records.

Even if that were the case, does it merit all this hipster hatred?

I'm struggling to understand what's so contemptible about people who see someone dressed all stylish and think, 'That looks great, I should take some pointers!'

Or, come to that, what's so wrong with taking pointers from someone's style and then coming up with an approximation that isn't quite accurate because you don't happen to have the time, the location or the resources to reproduce it better? You're probably still looking more stylish at the end of the day, and that's generally a good thing.

That isn't anything unique to hipster culture; that's just how filter-down fashion goes. A small number of creative people come up with new and attractive styles, other people see them, take some tips and adjust their own wardrobe within the limits of their budgets and fashion sense. Clothing is a social language, and learning from each other is how language works.

I mean, what are you wearing today? Is it a completely individual look that you created all on your stylish own, or did you have some ideas about fashion gleaned from other people when you bought it? Is every item sourced from exactly the right marketplace or created by you, or did you buy some of it from a location that was convenient at the time? Are you ready for the runway, or are you wearing a compromise between style, comfort, practicality and price? I know I am.

Unless we make all our own clothes, flasks, glasses frames and turntables, everyone who owns such things is a consumer. Some people are more savvy and stylish consumers than others, and artists tend to be pretty advanced in that area, especially visual artists, because they have overlapping talents. But I don't think the division between artists and consumers works. Artists still consume things, and non-artists still express themselves in how they dress. And for both, I think there remains the normal baseline that most people pretty much just want to look nice.
posted by Kit W at 2:52 AM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


"There are urban creative types who really are on the cutting edge of cool . . . They create stuff. They have ideas. They're intellectuals."

And yet despite their love of steampunk, maker faires, and their fixation with charmingly impractical objects made possible in a world of abundance... their intellect shows them to be otherwise useless in confronting climate change and raw materials depletion, which will essentially destroy their world. You'd think they'd be out there reforesting and turning lawns and urban blight into gardens, or perhaps considering a degree in chemistry, nuclear science, or materials science, so they could try to find and improve upon ways to
reduce our dependency on coal-based energy, but I guess that's not very cool.

Meanwhile, Mr. Burns quietly labors at his calling, providing Springfield with a plentiful supply of clean energy, leaving Springfield's air pristine, so that little Ralph Wiggums doesn't need an inhaler. Sure, nuclear pollutes... but Mr. Burns is buying Springfield time to get their act together in so many other ways, from more efficient buildings, to solar, to wind, etc.

Mr. Burns has done his part of the job. The rest is up to you, Springfield.
posted by markkraft at 2:57 AM on December 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


"somehow, they've even made the weather rainier."

That's climate change.

They've also caused the summer's drought conditions and made winters too warm, leading to the melting of the snow pack... which provides the water for the foods you eat.
posted by markkraft at 3:08 AM on December 11, 2012


The problem with hating hipsters, of course, is that literally anything can turn you into a hipster. Whether you like trashy books or classical literature, arthouse or blockbuster films, computers or sports, work in an office or a convenience store or a construction site, you have collected a bunch of signifiers that proclaim your hipsterdom.

I don't think so. My favourite hair stylist (I've got weird hair, and don't like to go to a barber) is a hipster - TV on The Radio did their best stuff with "OK Calculator", she doesn't have a computer or an internet connection, but collects old VHS tapes, that sort of thing. But man, she does a great job with my weird hair.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:27 AM on December 11, 2012


and awkward comedies featuring talking snakes.

You will have to list at least one. Please.
posted by ersatz at 4:46 AM on December 11, 2012


(In the authentic William Gibson timeline, this became a genre)
posted by ver at 5:17 AM on December 11, 2012


1. There are urban creative types who really are on the cutting edge of cool. They're a reaction to consumer society. They create stuff. They have ideas. They're intellectuals. They don't have any need to call themselves hipsters because they're actually hip.

2. There are all the people who want to mimic them, but they do so as consumers. They go to "hipster n' go" AKA Urban Outfitters for their "Leprechaun Piss" flasks, fake thick-rimmed glasses, and flimsy portable turntables that glaze your records. They are self-regarding consumer slaves, oblivious of the paradox of their uniform individuality.


That seems a bit harsh on Group 2. Without their willingness to consume/populate the culture, Group 1 would not exist as nobody would attend their shows, buy their art, or listen to their ideas. Really, they are cuckoos, hiding in the nests of other birds and using them.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:18 AM on December 11, 2012


The problem with hating hipsters...

The problem is there are probably other things more deserving of hate.
posted by jcterminal at 5:39 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


the incredibly dark Family Guy

Wait, what?

Lots and lots of rape jokes.


And this is different how?
posted by 41swans at 6:10 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a rather good episode and with deeper insight than a lot of the typical anti-hipster rant. And in fact on most points the Episode was Pro-Hipster and recognised that a lot of the fashionable activities are actually 'better' (and perhaps more scientifically based).

ie the 'trend' of breastfeeding was actually supported in the episode via the casual remark that Lisa (the smart child) WAS breastfed longer than Bart.
posted by mary8nne at 6:37 AM on December 11, 2012


Re: American Dad Now that show is dark! And hilarious.

Sort of. It's just another edition of the Seth MacFarlane show. They blur together after awhile.

Actually, all those "dark and hilarious" cartoons blur together. The Seth MacFarlane Comedy Avalanche. Most of the rest of the stuff on Adult Swim. South Park. Brickleberry. The Simpsons. The real exception in adult-oriented animation, oddly perhaps, is Futurama, which still maintains a sense of joy with its weirdnesses. Overexposure to comedy darkness is why I'm a brony, and it's why I love Adventure Time.

A lot of the humor of these shows comes from breaking expectations. Take my least favorite thing about Family Guy: how they treat Meg, who is the kicking dummy for most of the rest of the family. Ha ha, Peter and Lois wanted to have her aborted! Ho ho, they don't really care what happens to her!

Every time they get a laugh out of that, they also reveal how little concern they have for this supposedly valued family member, and that damages the premise a little bit more. There may not be real continuity on the shows, but it still demonstrates who the characters are, and that builds up over the (groan) 11 seasons Family Guy's been around.

It's kind of transactional, there's a zero-sum game there, the comedy comes only at the expense of the premise; after a while you stop laughing and start thinking "wait a minute, that's really horrible, why do I care about the successes of these awful people?" A similar thing happened with dumb jokes about Homer Simpson, and Family Guy still does it with Peter Griffin's insensitivity. American Dad might not have Peter and the non-sequitur jokes but it still tries to get as much of its humor from shock situations.
posted by JHarris at 6:48 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Even the worst Futurama episode is streets ahead of the rest !!
posted by Pendragon at 6:51 AM on December 11, 2012


And yet despite their love of steampunk, maker faires, and their fixation with charmingly impractical objects made possible in a world of abundance... their intellect shows them to be otherwise useless in confronting climate change and raw materials depletion, which will essentially destroy their world. You'd think they'd be out there reforesting and turning lawns and urban blight into gardens, or perhaps considering a degree in chemistry, nuclear science, or materials science, so they could try to find and improve upon ways to
reduce our dependency on coal-based energy, but I guess that's not very cool.

Meanwhile, Mr. Burns quietly labors at his calling, providing Springfield with a plentiful supply of clean energy, leaving Springfield's air pristine, so that little Ralph Wiggums doesn't need an inhaler. Sure, nuclear pollutes... but Mr. Burns is buying Springfield time to get their act together in so many other ways, from more efficient buildings, to solar, to wind, etc.

Mr. Burns has done his part of the job. The rest is up to you, Springfield.
Police Chief Wiggum is waiting for his pension to be slashed, which means he won't be able to afford extra tutoring for little Ralph Wiggum (who has recently been diagnosed with ADHD). Springfield is, like every city in America, deeply in debt, and the first thing to go is entitlement programs.

Mr. Burns wants to slash employee benefits in order to have enough money to build a new nuclear power plant in Mexico. The power plant in Springfield is set to shut down in ten years. Employees go on strike. Homer gets really drunk and passes out in the picket line. Lisa reprises her protest song:


So we'll march day and night/
By the big cooling tower/
They have the plant/
But we have the power


For a while, it looks like the strike might work. Then Mr. Burns appeals to the governor of the state (insert joke about how we still don't know where Springfield is) who forces a ban on collective bargaining through the congress in exchange for donations to his political campaign. Police Chief Wiggum is called in at the bequest of the governor to disperse the striking workers.

Meanwhile, Springfield Mall is closing down due to competition from online retailers. Moe's Tavern introduces a new line of twelve dollar vintage cocktails. Homer sells his car and buys a fixie.
posted by deathpanels at 7:01 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Except, you're leaving out the key ingredient...the catalyst...You must, at all times, coat every item, act, and affectation in your life with a thick layer of irony. Essentially, make everything in and about your life an obscure (and meaningless) social statement.

Unless you're sincere! Because remember that another possible defining feature of hipsters is their painfully earnest sincerity, e.g. the Dave Eggers school.

Literally everything you do makes you a hipster.

And yet despite their love of steampunk, maker faires, and their fixation with charmingly impractical objects made possible in a world of abundance... their intellect shows them to be otherwise useless in confronting climate change and raw materials depletion, which will essentially destroy their world.

This is an aggressively hipster thing to say, for instance. When you meet somebody at a party and they've spent the last two years of their life working for a wildlife preservation something-or-other, or they intern at a solar energy research facility, you'd better fucking believe you're looking at an honest-to-god hipster. What better affectation than to be able to say you care about helping the planet?
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:03 AM on December 11, 2012


steampunk?
posted by xjudson at 7:15 AM on December 11, 2012


Seriously, in the late 80's I was asked to sing for a punk rock band. I didn't know anything about rock music let alone punk. I was big and scary and sort of a jock so they thought it would work. I would show up for gigs wearing sweatpants and little league t-shirts, what I wore every day. I just always felt one step behind but the punks loved it. I could tell because of all the spit....I learned that if you're completely unashamed almost anything will work.
posted by xjudson at 7:22 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't see the episode, but it sounds like the gentrification critique was pretty toothless. They just all left in a caravan? What really should've happened is condos get built up on every corner, everything gets forbiddingly expensive, the legitimate artists/creatives slowly get replaced by young business professionals looking to capture a fading glimpse of the "cool," and the hipsters, the Simpsons and all the characters from the show get priced out of the housing market and forced to leave. It would be the final episode of the Simpsons, the future bleak and uncertain for everyone involved. FIN
posted by naju at 9:35 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I was drinking both rum and horchata before anybody they were cool. Although I regret somebody else thought of combining them, which is brilliant."

I just kind of assumed it was one of those eternal LA/Mexican things that had existed long before I moved here. I mean, I wish I coulda been the guy to put cheese on chips or filling in tortillas, but they're part of the background.
posted by klangklangston at 9:41 AM on December 11, 2012


young business professionals looking to capture a fading glimpse of the "cool,"

Or else they just want to live in affordable housing, and the nice stuff the artists have set up makes this place look like a nice place to live. Again, I don't think we need a group of designated contemptible wannabes to talk about how things work. Mostly things go the way they do because if people are pushed, they move, and we have a lot of people under the same pressures.

Which is a reasonable explanation for hipster 'before it was cool' stuff as well. If what you really like is enjoying stuff without having to listen to hype about it every time you turn on the radio, then of course you have to keep on the move. Not because you're all about being cooler than thou, but because freedom from marketing is a constantly vanishing resource.

Plus, of course, if you've been reading/wearing/listening to something for a while and then it suddenly gets popular, your threshold for getting tired of it is going to be higher than average because you've already been doing it for some time. People get bored with repetition. I think at least a proportion of what uncharitably gets called 'hipsters' could more sympathetically be called 'early adopters' - and early adopters are generally people who are always on the watch for the next thing because they just like finding new things. And if you're a person who enjoys novelty, you're also going to be a person who gets sick of things if they start hearing them too much.

I think the influence of cool is overrated. I think people are mostly just looking for their comfort zones - and in an uncomfortable world, that can be a moving target.
posted by Kit W at 10:05 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Check out your local alt-weeklies. That's hipster culture.

"Hipster culture" is a label which is only applied from a distance by people who have no idea what they are looking at.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:16 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Which is a reasonable explanation for hipster 'before it was cool' stuff as well. If what you really like is enjoying stuff without having to listen to hype about it every time you turn on the radio, then of course you have to keep on the move. Not because you're all about being cooler than thou, but because freedom from marketing is a constantly vanishing resource.
Someone recently called me a hipster. Not in a pejorative way, just like it was an obvious fact that had gone overlooked. For context, I am not a very cool dude. A former hipster girlfriend seemed certain I was not a hipster. Nor am I especially ironic. I was pretty sure I was not a hipster, but I wasn't sure.

Then I realized that being a hipster (or being identified as one, I guess) is all about one's comportment toward marketing – of bands, of clothing, of food, of books, etc. And I detest marketing. I have a Cayce Pollard-esque relationship with advertising. I can detect its sulfurous odor from a hundred miles away. I won't buy clothing with front-facing branding and I can't watch regular TV without complaining about the ads. As soon as a product becomes a brand, I feel a bit of a secret revulsion toward it, knowing that it has been crafted to appeal to my most shallow desires for social acceptance. This revulsion alone is enough to make you look like a hipster.
posted by deathpanels at 12:22 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


A forty-something of my acquaintance used "hipster" and "soul patch" in the same sentence a few days ago, in the apparent belief that it's 1996.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:42 PM on December 11, 2012


A forty-something of my acquaintance used "hipster" and "soul patch" in the same sentence a few days ago, in the apparent belief that it's 1996.

You mean 1946?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:54 PM on December 11, 2012


I just kind of assumed it was one of those eternal LA/Mexican things that had existed long before I moved here.

As far as I can tell, it is new, and from Wisconsin.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:13 PM on December 11, 2012


Ah, the liqueur as a named thing seems to be new, and from Wisconsin. The drink, horchata with rum, or rumchata, is just a regular thing already. I did not realize that someone had branded that.
posted by klangklangston at 12:34 AM on December 12, 2012


leaving Springfield's air pristine, so that little Ralph Wiggums doesn't need an inhaler.

If the tire fire stays gone - replaced with the farmers market - then yes, the air is "pristine".

That tire fire will be back and the Farmers market will be gone on the next episode.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:00 PM on December 12, 2012


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