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That night the hipsters jazz in
April 26, 2013 2:12 PM   Subscribe

A harrowing graphic story that shows that gentrification of ethnic neighbourhoods by young people leading alternative lifestyles was a controversial issue even in 1957. (SLComic)
posted by MartinWisse (43 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is also the plot to Beetlejuice just FYI
posted by The Whelk at 2:15 PM on April 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


It's also the plot to Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost. There's a long tradition of tales in which ghosts are haunted by weirdo humans.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:28 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Was " fix it up George" an actual phrase or just another element of American pop culture's intense, blinding hatred of beatniks?
posted by The Whelk at 2:31 PM on April 26, 2013


I shouldn't be allowed these. I have already used, "We'll dig that later--now let's go on with the STRUGGLE."
posted by LucretiusJones at 2:43 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I'LL KICK SIX FISH" - from the untold tales of Dr Seuss.
posted by GuyZero at 2:46 PM on April 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


unh this be-bop totally fractures
posted by theodolite at 2:47 PM on April 26, 2013


Exotically Edgar.
posted by 3.2.3 at 3:10 PM on April 26, 2013


Yeow bop-katz! Pin that scare rag real easy, 'cause them bones are crazy gone! All the way!
posted by petebest at 3:48 PM on April 26, 2013


They were Beats back then. (Read some Kerouac.) The word "hipster" barely existed until 2009.

They had a great vocabulary and a world-view that encouraged appreciation for the subtlety of life.

Long slow days, the rhythm of the water hitting the pier. I played mahjong with Cindy, and she told me about a dream she had where sparrows flew into the sun. Later that day we took the trolley to the park, and made love.

Sorry. I got distracted there. Just interviewing my brain.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:18 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


twoleftfeet: “They were Beats back then. (Read some Kerouac.) The word "hipster" barely existed until 2009.”

There may have been Beats back then, but there was no internet – so Google Trends isn't a very good way to gauge whether the word "hipster" was very popular. In fact, it was popular for some time; it just was relatively unpopular between the rise of the internet and 2009.

A better way to gauge this: Google Books Ngram Viewer, which shows that the term "hipster" spiked in 1960 and then again (though not quite as sharply) in 1970. Looks like it's currently about as common as it was in 1960, although that might be skewed a little by a number of factors, and although that's talking about print publications obviously.
posted by koeselitz at 4:38 PM on April 26, 2013 [20 favorites]


That's interesting and I concede the point.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:56 PM on April 26, 2013


They were Beats back then. (Read some Kerouac.) The word "hipster" barely existed until 2009.

Beats are a sort of hipster, but the word "hipster" predates the Beat movement, dating back to at least 1940, when Cab Calloway used an early version of it "hepster" as the title of a dictionary of jive. The hipster was the subject of Normal Nailer's essay The White Negro, and is satirized by Terry Southern in his story "You're Too Hip, Baby," among other stories eventually compiled in "Red Dirt Marijuana."

It originally referred to aficionados of jazz, although "are you hip" probably meant something close to what "are you cool" meant in the 60s and "Do you party" meant in the 80s -- do you smoke pot.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:56 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is very educational. Why "hip" though? What's the etymology of "hipster"?
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:07 PM on April 26, 2013


I assumed it was a corruption of Hep, meaning up to date, fashionable, within the context of the early jazz scene.

So, basically, cool.
posted by The Whelk at 5:11 PM on April 26, 2013


Yeah, but why "hep" then? Is that a corruption of "hemp"?
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:12 PM on April 26, 2013


It's definitely descended from hep, although the etymology is uncertain:

"aware, up-to-date," first recorded 1908 in "Saturday Evening Post," but said to be underworld slang, of unknown origin. Variously said to have been the name of "a fabulous detective who operated in Cincinnati" [Louis E. Jackson and C.R. Hellyer, "A Vocabulary of Criminal Slang," 1914] or a saloonkeeper in Chicago who "never quite understood what was going on ... (but) thought he did" ["American Speech," XVI, 154/1]. Taken up by jazz musicians by 1915; hepcat "addict of swing music" is from 1938. With the rise of hip (adj.) by the 1950s, the use of hep ironically became a clue that the speaker was unaware and not up-to-date.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:14 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think by then you're getting into the slang and patois of the early bawdy house days of the fusion music that would become jazz, ragtime, swing, blues, etc and pinning down any single point origin is going to be difficult or anecdotal.
posted by The Whelk at 5:15 PM on April 26, 2013


The famous "Lord Buckley" was using the term much earlier:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Buckley
As in one of the few albums he did (see link above): "Hipsters, Flipsters and Finger Poppin' Daddies Knock Me Your Lobes".
posted by aleph at 5:15 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Somehow, sometimes when I'm doing these comments I forget that there is an Internet out there.

According to this authoritative reference, the word "hipster" comes from low-rise" in reference to pants or skirt from 1962; so called because they ride on the hips rather than the waist

That seems totally implausible to me.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:18 PM on April 26, 2013


“They were Beats back then. (Read some Kerouac.) The word "hipster" barely existed until 2009.”

I take it you have not heard of Harry "the Hipster" Gibson.
posted by jonp72 at 5:20 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


According to this authoritative reference, the word "hipster" comes from low-rise" in reference to pants or skirt from 1962; so called because they ride on the hips rather than the waist

Yeah, them's are just pants; it's a homonym. They're also called low-rise jeans.

That being said, they were popular among hippies, whose name originated as a dismissive term for and inexperienced or faux hipster.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:27 PM on April 26, 2013


This is getting to be MetaHipster.

Whatever they were called at the end of 1950's (I'm going with "beatniks") they certainly had an impact on popular culture. I invite you to watch:
Beverly Hillbillies Meet the Beatniks
I Dream of Jeannie - My Guru
Dobie Gillis Goes Beatnik
The Addams Family Meets the Beatniks
etc.

Whatever happened to the Beatniks?

I'm only asking because I'm thinking of becoming one, which would be way cool, daddy-O.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:32 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


And here's "Lord Buckley" doing the title rif from (1955 album) "Hipsters, Flipsters and Finger Poppin' Daddies Knock Me Your Lobes":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4lZTgbjFJo
posted by aleph at 5:34 PM on April 26, 2013


the term "hipster" spiked in 1960 and then again (though not quite as sharply) in 1970

I remember it being used in the beatnik sense. 2002 or so was the first time I heard it used (in an ironic way at first) to describe the young folks with the anachronistic/vintage styles and hobbies. [or insert your definition here]
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:35 PM on April 26, 2013


Jones once said they couldn’t be a generation because they could all fit in her living room the wreckage of the Silent Generation, sadly, all inward.

Plus if you look at US pop culture from the time oh god did people HATE them.
posted by The Whelk at 5:38 PM on April 26, 2013


Every time I think of beat poetry, I think of this, from High School Confidential.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:57 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I worry about kids today. They don't get it. They don't understand.

They're getting into trouble, and I try to reach out and help them by persuading them to adopt the beatnik lifestyle.

I tell them about the time that Cindy and I walked along the beach, collecting seashells, and Cindy found one that had the distinct profile of Richard Milhous Nixon. We took the shell to the water and skipped it across the ocean. Later, under a reddish purple sunset, we took the trolley to the park and made love.

It's hard to explain that to these kids today. They're a lost generation.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:12 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's funny how try-hard coolspeak rings false regardless of era.
posted by clarknova at 6:23 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know the word "coolspeak", but it doesn't sound right to me.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:28 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]




It's funny how try-hard coolspeak rings false regardless of era.

Or awesome, depending on your perspective.

How to Speak Hip.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:38 PM on April 26, 2013


How to Speak Hip

I shoot from the Hip.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:02 PM on April 26, 2013


I try not to shoot. From the hip or otherwise.
posted by aleph at 8:21 PM on April 26, 2013


The Tower of Power has the HOW-TO formulation of the word hip.
posted by bukvich at 8:34 PM on April 26, 2013


I was hep when it was hip to be hep. . . .

I even call me girlfriend man,
Cuz I'm hip.

Also possible of interest: The Beat Generation, Rhino 3-CD set.


 
posted by Herodios at 9:06 PM on April 26, 2013


"Hip" means "with it". You dig?
posted by three blind mice at 10:45 PM on April 26, 2013


"Hip" means "with it". You dig?
posted by three blind mice at 6:45 AM on April 27

Tubular, dude. Err... rad.

I'll get me coat.
posted by Decani at 12:04 AM on April 27, 2013


According to this authoritative reference, the word "hipster" comes from low-rise" in reference to pants or skirt from 1962; so called because they ride on the hips rather than the waist

If you click through (the book icon) to the source that is noted as a Chiefly British term. The Brits have a lot of terms for clothing that aren't like ours. Hep, hip, hipster meaning cool, etc. are Americanisms.

popular among hippies, whose name originated as a dismissive term for and inexperienced or faux hipster.

The source for that is a comedy album. Now, to some extent this may be a justifiable source, but I wouldn't take a comedy album at its word on a definition. The term was around much earlier and while there's a vaguely contemporaneous analogue in the way that, say, Bjo Trimble defined Star Trek fans (Trekkies: casual fans of the show; Trekkers: dedicated fans; Trekkists: devoted to the show's philosophy of a pacifist, univeralist future), so such things were done, I just don't buy it. It's a common modifier, for one; there is no hard evidence that the terms didn't originate separately, or were used consistently, across a non-digitally-connected country with lots of regional slang; and ultimately, I would hope the hipsters who were really into this sort of splitting hairs thing were deconstructing Sartre instead.

Personally, I'm a bit sweet on the theory that "hep" comes from forms of counting/chanting/keeping cadence in military formations and parades. "Hep, hep, hep! Get/keep/stay in step" and other similar phrases are attested, and this could easily translate to keeping time in music. There are also phrases like "stay hep" or "keep hep [to the jive]". A few recent books have cited this possible origin. Truth to tell, though, it's entirely possible that one or more uses sort of complemented each other or merged as the term spread.
posted by dhartung at 12:56 AM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The problem with most of you is that you're hopped up on hep. It's not hip to be hopped up on hep, despite the hype. I hope you can help. I would be happy if hipsters hopped onto the nearest heap of herpes, however the happenstance.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:50 AM on April 27, 2013


Personally, I'm a bit sweet on the theory that "hep" comes from forms of counting/chantingund /keeping cadence in military formations and parades. "Hep, hep, hep! Get/keep/stay in step"

I've got a gal and she is mine
Makes me happy all the time
Hella good honey makes sweet like a harp
Hope her funding comes from DARPA
Sound off. One two.
Sound off. One two.
Irrational sound off. One Four One Four Two One Three. The song apparently goes on forever, because it involves the decimal expansion of the square root of 2
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:17 AM on April 27, 2013


> Whatever they were called at the end of 1950's (I'm going with "beatniks")

They're two entirely different phenomena. Beatniks were out of Kerouac and his "Beat Generation" (1948); they were into modern (bebop) jazz but that was just one component of a whole panoply of behaviors and signifiers (the Road! hitchhiking! mystical gibberish!). Hipsters were out of Harry "the Hipster" Gibson and were primarily about jazz and its slang; they couldn't have cared less about the Buddha.
posted by languagehat at 7:30 AM on April 27, 2013


According to this authoritative reference, the word "hipster" comes from low-rise" in reference to pants or skirt from 1962; so called because they ride on the hips rather than the waist

That's not what the source says. "Hipster" used to mean that particular thing dates from 1962, which seems very plausible to me.
posted by rodii at 10:07 AM on April 27, 2013


That partially explains that novelty song where a mummy tries to scare a beatnik.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:49 AM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


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