Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Point, counter point, point, even more point
April 25, 2014 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Six ways to stop your child from being brainswashed by mainstream rap. Why the 6 ways...got it all wrong. Why hipsters need to stop writing about hip hop culture. Hipsters can't ruin hip hop.
posted by josher71 (85 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
How Hip Hop Failed Black America by Questlove.
posted by cell divide at 10:59 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


This is the saddest rap beef I've ever seen.
posted by kmz at 11:05 AM on April 25 [22 favorites]


If you don't trust your kid to develop their own tastes in music, and moreover their own way of getting along with the dominant cultural artefacts of our world in general, they'll likely be more damaged by your lack of faith in their intelligence than they might be by any rap track going on about hoes or whatever it is these days.
posted by colie at 11:06 AM on April 25 [14 favorites]


what happened to just telling the kids to get the hell off your lawn and turn their shitty music down ?
posted by k5.user at 11:08 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


The whole 'hipster' thing... I mean, by a whole lot of superficial criteria I am the biggest hipster alive. But I'm truly not sure how I would be able to tell, or whether it would ultimately matter.

~adjusts plastic glasses frames and walks off into the Brooklyn sunset, to where my beehives are waiting~
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:08 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


That first link is satire, right?
posted by jbickers at 11:09 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


I presume the first article was actually intended as an instruction as to how to use reverse psychology to make sure your kids think mainstream rap is a badass as punk rock.

Anyway, Lenny Bruce once said that there is nothing sadder than an aging hipster, and even if hipsters don't exist, there are people who cling to a sense of youthful coolness after they have aged out of it. When you're in the territory of trying to instruct your children what music they should listen to, you're basically a hippie in the 60s sneering at New Order and telling their kids that they should be listening to some Crosby, Stills and Nash, man.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:09 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


That first link is satire, right?

From the third link: [he] spent the majority of his digital ink on attacking my person with cheap shots and half-baked arguments while completely brushing off both the satirical nature of my article and
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:10 AM on April 25


> How Hip Hop Failed Black America by Questlove.

How Metafilter... ah sod it. Previously
posted by ardgedee at 11:11 AM on April 25


I just realized I am almost six years older than Bruce was when he died. Jesus Christ.

I now have to move him mentally from "older voice of hard-won if irreverent wisdom" to "cocky young punk."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:11 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


... and he also looks like he drinks bacon smoothies.”

Damn. Stone cold.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:12 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Any guide that encourages a parent to rap battle a child is worth considering.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:14 AM on April 25 [15 favorites]


One aging white hipster telling another white hipster to get off his hip-hop lawn?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:15 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


"But these days, "hipsters" are a fictional construct"

I dunno man, having been to the Mission... they seemed pretty real.
posted by GuyZero at 11:16 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I dunno man, having been to the Mission... they seemed pretty real.

Those are scenesters.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:17 AM on April 25


What exactly was the first article satirizing?
posted by koeselitz at 11:19 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Sucka MCs will call me sire?
posted by ChuckRamone at 11:20 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


The greatest trick the hipsters ever pulled was convincing the world they didn't exist.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:22 AM on April 25 [20 favorites]


Those are scenesters.

That explains why they're always in groups of 3 or so. Must be the scenester's union.
posted by GuyZero at 11:26 AM on April 25 [12 favorites]


The RapRehab guy is rubbing me in all the wrong ways. Super odd, angry reactionary opinions, keeps talking about whites "gentrifying" hip hop (which is odd because he's white), and... I don't even want to engage because it's mostly nonsensical. "You're not listening to my favorite kind of music in the right, gatekeeper-approved ways" rarely leads to anything good.
posted by naju at 11:45 AM on April 25


Yeah let's go back to the '90s and listen to classic wholesome hip-hop albums like The Chronic, Doggystyle, Ready to Die, Reasonable Doubt, and It's Dark and Hell is Hot.
posted by Blue Meanie at 11:48 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


And Death Certificate.
posted by blucevalo at 11:58 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


I can't wait to hear what kind of shit the kids in my life are listening to when they get older. I play some stuff around them that I like but not often; I don't want to have any influence on their musical tastes. Games are another matter but...
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 12:01 PM on April 25


Yeah let's go back to the '90s and listen to classic wholesome hip-hop albums like The Chronic, Doggystyle, Ready to Die, Reasonable Doubt, and It's Dark and Hell is Hot.

Yes! I'll be back in 1988 though, listening to Smoke Some Kill, just like I was back in 1988.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:04 PM on April 25


just came through to say i'm bangin some dipset right now
posted by Quart at 12:12 PM on April 25


Is this a good time to remind everyone to...

Help the Police
posted by aydeejones at 12:13 PM on April 25 [7 favorites]


Oh god, the "Why Hipsters Can't Ruin Hip Hop Because Hipsters Don't Exist" article posted on a Vice blog is just too much for my brain to handle today
posted by brand-gnu at 12:14 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


Also I think the 90's were more death and sex obsessed vs. the sex and greed obsessed 1980's. Now it's full on hopeless hedonism and some death. Nbd, that's the face of the new Era of letting down a generation.
posted by aydeejones at 12:16 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


If hipsters don't exist, then bros don't exist either, which means that nobody under thirty exists.
posted by jonmc at 12:23 PM on April 25 [6 favorites]


O man, i love that vice article. It makes a point a friend of mine(who is a great beat producer) has been making for at least two years.

Hipster is just a codeword for "people i don't like" that lets you say a lot of stuff you might get eye rolled at for saying otherwise. It also lets you wink-wink nudge-nudge a lot of you know the kind of people i'm talking about stuff that, while i feel uncomfortable calling it dogwhistle because i hate "reverse racist omg!" stuff sooo much, is that same kind of buttlogic on some level.

I guess a good thing to compare it to would be bullying, because a lot of the "heh, sounds like something a XYZ would say *smirk*" kind of shit exists there where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't call it out. There's always a burn of you being a whiny baby or part of the group being lampooned if you say anything.

To be clear, i'm not saying i think it's on the level of a slur or anything. But the amount of anger behind it has risen to like, the level of what old people used to direct at punks or something.

And that's a good example, because as that article points out no one can really define what it means anymore. It sort of meant something at some point, maybe 6-10 years ago, and it's been losing cohesion since then. Basically anything you could point at and go "That's SUCH a hipster bullshit thing omg" has kinda diffused into mainstream fashion, music tastes, and interests for late teens to early 30s people in a lot of america and elsewhere.

On preview, i think bro is a much more cohesive identity than hipster is now, and possibly ever was. I realize you could debate this for ages... But it has absolutely reached a point that if you're around a college and you're trying to figure out what a hipster is you'll probably point at every 3rd person who walks by. Bros practically have a uniform, complete with specific catchphrases and everything. It almost feels like as cohesive of a subculture as like, scene kids or metalheads or something.
posted by emptythought at 12:29 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


In New York, and other cities too I'd imagine, the whole hipster/bro dynamic is further complicated by the fact that the guy with the Giants jersey and gelled hair is more than likely a local, and the kid in the skinny jeans and the fixie is probably from a Midwestern suburb. I don't believe in the whole stupid false dichotomy, but then again I'm too old to be relevant anyway, I guess.
posted by jonmc at 12:43 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


I agree with some of the points the Vice article makes but hipsters certainly exist. It's definitely an overused term and it's definition changes depending on who's using it but they're out there. They're certainly not a serious threat to anything, though, or gobbling up whatever subcultres people are concerned about. In my opinion, they mostly tend to be kinda goofy young people into partying and going to shows with, at worst, an inflated sense of their own taste and style.

I get why it annoys people but it's a relatiely harmless term, like "hippy." People even dress up in hipster costumes that are just as ridiculous as the tie-dyed shirts and giant plastic peace necklaces.

It's frustrating and shitty when it gets used to disregard people who make good points and have valid opinions. But, at least from everything I've heard/read, the stakes are usually pretty low in those arguments. It's usually just two people going off and complaining about the things they like to go off and complain about. In the arguments with any value, the subtexts are often clear enough that you can figure out the important and interesting stuff by reading around the term.
posted by AtoBtoA at 1:03 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


by any rap track going on about hoes or whatever it is these days.

It's thots, sadly. It's thots all the way down.

I'm not mad at the first piece though, like someone said, it jokingly suggests that you must battle your child lyrically. That is just hilarious to imagine.

Like you walk into their room one day and hear some horrible song where it's basically just a hook with some slurred words over the rest of the track, and you stop iTunes, put in "J Dilla Instrumental" into YouTube, click one of the links and just start freestyling to your little girl about how sucky her music choices are. Or you could go hardcore with it, just turn off the speakers altogether and get your spouse to beatbox while you go acapella with it.
posted by cashman at 1:05 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]


At my age, it's pretty easy...The bros are the ones that piss me off, and the hipsters are the ones that make me giggle uncontrollably when they come into sight.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:07 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


i read the first link as making fun of white people who only listen to rap from 20 years ago and call it Real Hip Hop which makes the raprehab guy's response read as kind of nonsensical and misdirected
posted by p3on at 1:08 PM on April 25


Am I out of touch? No. It's the children who are wrong.
posted by chrchr at 1:12 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


I am a white guy in my 40s and my wife tells me I am a great undiscovered beatboxing talent.

I am not sure if she is joking ... but I'm ready to battle the kids when they get older. My wife has to rap though I guess since I'll be laying down the beat.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:15 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


If ten years in Portland, Oregon have taught me anything, it's that hipsters don't ruin things. People aspiring to be hipsters ruin things.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 1:24 PM on April 25 [7 favorites]


I recently had a very good reason (obviously) to sit down and listen to an Eminem album from end to end. Sat there with a lyrics sheet and paid full attention to the whole thing.

I had previously known of him vaguely as a guy who produced shit-howdy misogynist lyrics and yet was somehow accepted into pop music culture by women who ought to know better. It was interesting to find out why.

For starters any single song of his has more lyrics than your average entire pop album. The refrains are short and the stanzas keep coming -- and it's content too, not just filler. Despite the vulgarity and rawness each piece is clearly constructed with a beginning, middle and end.

The guy clearly has trouble with women and while there is no documented history of him acting on it there isn't the least doubt in my mind that could happen. I certainly wouldn't let my daught... Well, okay *anyone* date him. And yet ... I certainly have a few leftover feelings about my upbringing. My mother's failure to protect me from my brothers comes to mind and I'd be lying if I said that fact didn't occasionally turn up in totally inappropriate places in my dealings with women. Here's the thing though: never ever, not in my most private thoughts, not on my therapist's couch, not communing with god in the wilderness, have I ever allowed myself feel my anger that raw. He is right there thriving in the middle of a a maelstrom I can't bear. I can't even think of anger without immediately leaping to heal the hurt; to focus on the wound and not the salve is intolerable.

And not just intolerable but frightening. The lyrics are frightening, the feelings they evoke are frightening. Music has charms to soothe the savage beast; it also has charms to make it very nervous. It 'tis a powerful art.

And speaking of art, hidden under the stories and emotions are an extraordinary technical prowess.

There is a story told about The Great Gatsby that Fitzgerald and his editor Maxwell Perkins sent the entire manuscript back and forth eventually critiquing every single sentence before publication. Several of Eminem's pieces feel the same way, created with intricate internal rhyme structures that didn't come from any off-the-cuff rap battle. It is the mark of a good artist that you don't even notice how solid their technique is. I can only imagine the work it takes for him to make it look that easy.

So to sum up, Rap is an art and Eminem at least is a Damn Good Artist. Possibly a Great one. Like many Great artists he would also be a very disturbing person to be around. But his exquisitely controlled display of an emotion that typically dominates and us leaves completely out of control is profound. He has touched, known and shown anger in a way very few of us ever will and it was Rap that gave him a medium to express it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:31 PM on April 25 [21 favorites]


Our Ship Of The Imagination!: " I don't want to have any influence on their musical tastes. "

Wait what?!

It doesn't matter what you do, you will influence their musical tastes. It's ok. They'll like some stuff you like, hate some stuff you like (especially in front of you, then play it for their peers as if they had discovered it) and with any luck you will like some stuff they like.

That said, this article (and the whole argument around it) is faintly ridiculous, even if satire. Your favorite rap act sucks.
posted by chavenet at 1:32 PM on April 25


Did you just discover rap, Tell Me No Lies? If so, whoaaa boy when you get to listening more, you'll discover there are a lot of great rap artists, and eminem is among them. Pick some life topic and there is probably a song I can point you to. There was an FPP recently where we talked about Mr. Mathers, as well.
posted by cashman at 1:37 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


tl;dr 60s version - play your kids simon and garfunkel, harper's bizarre and the association; hide their nasty jefferson airplane and rolling stones records
posted by pyramid termite at 1:55 PM on April 25


Rofl-ling sooooooooo hard!
posted by zscore at 2:01 PM on April 25


tl;dr 60s version - play your kids simon and garfunkel, harper's bizarre and the association;

tl;dr 70s version -- These Sex Pistols are shit. Three damn chords played badly to a nihilistic ideology. Lock your kids in the car and force feed 'em some Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:29 PM on April 25


tl;dr 90s version - those rappers are crap - play your kids nirvana and green day and never mind they play the same damn three chords the sex pistols did
posted by pyramid termite at 2:55 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


It's not even a joke in my household, this is an actual conversation we have.

Me: Why do you listen to this dubstep crap? Listen to some real electronic music

[PUTS ON NEW ORDER]

Kid: ugh, Dad, this is old people music
posted by GuyZero at 3:07 PM on April 25


tl;dr earlier version -- what is this infernal Mozart business. Let's get some Gregorian Chant going to cleanse ourselves of this devil music.
posted by kmz at 3:09 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


He probably listened to rap that glorified violence, misogyny and general malfeasance. Is there any other kind?

Aaaaaaaand realized I was reading a moron.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 3:13 PM on April 25


Man, I was reading Douglas Copeland's "Life After God" (it's good, if you haven't) the other day, and the jacket copy noted that he had "impeccable hipster credentials."

That book came out in '94.

Twenty fucking years of arguing over hipsters, at least. There are hipsters alive now that were born after deck and fin!

It's so weird that they're, like, repeatedly posited as this source of existential dread for so many Americans.

At the very least, can't we get a new word? Or require every instance of "hipster" to be laid out in Raygun's house style?
posted by klangklangston at 3:17 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


general malfeasance

I hate when rap glorifies mishandling funds or encourages corporate directors to breach their duties of care and loyalty.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:19 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


We still use "hippie" and it’s still working just fine. Hipster has been around a lot longer than 20 years. I do remember people used to get upset about the misuse of "hippie", and "punk", probably still do.

Now I’m going to go listen to some Techno. Or Dubstep maybe.
posted by bongo_x at 3:21 PM on April 25


kmz: "tl;dr earlier version -- what is this infernal Mozart business. Let's get some Gregorian Chant going to cleanse ourselves of this devil music."

Someone being a curmudgeon about Mozart would most likely be reacting to his mid-to-late-period affinity for Baroque-influenced polyphony, his tendency to embed non-standard proportions in his mid-scale organization (such as five-bar phrases), his early cheekiness in deploying the occasional abrupt dissonance or his late unorthodoxy in exploring chromatic harmonies. Such a person would probably prefer something like J. C. Bach or another composer of the galant style.
posted by invitapriore at 3:26 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


"Hippie" is a lot better defined than "hipster." Likewise, punk. But no one has ever identified as any part of a hipster movement.

And prior to that early '90s resurgence of hipster, it's dubious whether it had a) anywhere near the level of adoption that it does now, and b) would have described a similar cohort. See: Norman Lear; Mad Magazine; Maynard G. Krebs.
posted by klangklangston at 3:29 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Hipster was originally just another word for beatnik, wasn't it? That's how Ginsberg used it in "Howl," anyway.
posted by saulgoodman at 3:31 PM on April 25


I don't get the criticism of the original article. If I even have kids, one of my favorite things to do will be to bug them by telling them what good music USED to be or what good music IS. And besides, I've even found myself introducing friends to good old school rap; my classical music friends who grew up without pop music and don't even know rap came from the Bronx, and didn't know it was rooted in storytelling (not just bragging about money and bitches). There is a whole shit ton of ignorance out there and I think the 6-point list is pretty accurate, and pretty blatantly tongue-in-cheek. But he's right.. if a good parent won't introduce their kid to Talib Kwali, Slick Rick, Sugar Hill Gang, and more... then who will?
posted by ReeMonster at 3:55 PM on April 25


On the (un)reality of hipsters:

Imagine a lineup of individual portraits. All are Americans in their twenties, maybe a few in their early 30s. They include:

—A smiling, modestly dressed woman in with a crucifix on her necklace, at a Mitt Romney rally
—A burly redneck guy in hunting gear, proudly holding up his latest kill
—A guy wearing "cholo" fashions
—A woman wearing Capri pants, Ugg boots, and designer sunglasses, walking a poodle
—A square-jawed college football player
—A guy with a moustache, oversized plastic-framed glasses, a colorful thrift-store puffy vest, and a scarf, drinking a canned craft beer and examining the liner notes of an indie-rock album on vinyl
—A nerdy girl dressed as her favorite anime character at a cosplay convention
—A guy wearing hip-hop fashions: flamboyant jewelry, a sports jersey, expensive designer sneakers
—A skinhead with shaved head, bomber jacket, and Doc Martens
—An IT worker in khakis, a polo shirt with a Debian logo, and loafers
—A weary-looking, unfashionably dressed mother of two young children

Now: which one is the hipster?

If you asked a thousand people this question, I'd bet a lifetime supply of artisanal toast that a very clear consensus would emerge. Even the people who deny that hipsters exist know which person I'm talking about.

This demonstrates that the word does have real meaning, and isn't just a synonym for "young people" or "people I dislike" or whatever.

Whether you feel that the people labeled as "hipsters" are being unfairly maligned is beside the point. The point is, the term does refer to a recognizable constellation of cultural tastes and attitudes—and, to varying degrees, real people do exhibit these traits. The word "hipster" is no different than terms like "Teddy boy", "jock", "socialite", "otaku", "punk rocker", "frat boy", "redneck", "yuppie", "Mod", or "socialite"—except for the fact that some people (rather bizarrely) deny that hipsters exist.

Can we please stop pretending otherwise? It's more than a little bit dumb. (It also has a whiff of privilege—when you say "no way, man; hipster just means the stuff that everybody does", you're revealing your own disregard for a large portion of "everybody". Not everyone is like you. Your cultural norms are not some kind of universal default.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:57 PM on April 25 [23 favorites]


I don't want to have any influence on their musical tastes.

For me, as a professional musician, I have the opposite view. We are here to share music, and to influence people. I'm proud and honored to share my love of music with anyone, paying audience or schoolkid. Whether they take to it, explore it more on their own, or reject it completely is their choice. We have to make an effort to share the music we love and the music we feel is important with others, especially kids. Entrusting kids to have good musical taste is umm, pretty dangerous. That's how groups like fucking One Direction, or acts like Justin Bieber become famous ;)

If it wasn't for my parents record collection, a treasure trove of Beatles, classic rock, blues, 80s pop, and piles of old 45s of everything from Donovan to the Righteous Brothers, I would NOT be a musician today. If they locked their records away and never listened to the music they loved around me, they would've been terrible parents.
posted by ReeMonster at 4:02 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


Now: which one is the hipster?

This one.
Or maybe this one.
Here's a contender.
posted by MikeMc at 4:05 PM on April 25


All strong candidates!
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:05 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Can we please stop pretending otherwise?

THANK YOU so much for that comment! Christ, even Urban Dictionary has a very fair, even-handed, and accurate definition.
posted by ReeMonster at 4:06 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


If the hip hop/rap artists of today were influenced by the hip hop/rap artists of the previous decades, doesn't it make sense to introduce your kids to the music that influenced hip hop/rap prior to it being a genre? Or maybe, instead of abolishing the music they're listening to, simply inform them through playing the originals of whatever music their favorite artists are sampling?
posted by Chuffy at 4:13 PM on April 25


Well, we can at least all agree that "hipster" is not a very good word to distinguish amongst people who read Vice.
posted by zscore at 4:13 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


That Questlove piece is great. Fun fact: When I worked at the Tower Records on Broad and Chestnut he would come in some times and pick up some albums. I, oblivious as I am, had no idea who he was.
posted by runcibleshaw at 4:31 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


If Tower Records still existed, I don't think most hip hop fans knew who he was.
posted by cashman at 4:39 PM on April 25


If the hip hop/rap artists of today were influenced by the hip hop/rap artists of the previous decades, doesn't it make sense to introduce your kids to the music that influenced hip hop/rap prior to it being a genre? Or maybe, instead of abolishing the music they're listening to, simply inform them through playing the originals of whatever music their favorite artists are sampling?

Oh if only that worked. We might even be in uncharted territory, music-wise. It's tough for even me, a fan of hip hop since it started, to be able to hold it all in my head. Some of these rappers like Tupac, Eminem, PE, Dre, Ice Cube, Ice-T, LL, Ra, have lengthy back catalogs. And the beats are there, the samples are there, the lyrics are there, and on top of that you have signifying. And someone noted already that each song has a lot more lyrics than a song in another genre. So it's a multilayered endeavor to get into to appreciate the classics. And kids often sense that, resent it as unapproachable, and dismiss it because on top of seeing that chore, they want to have their own music to claim, not feel like they missed out.

For a good amount of this classic work, it's not like throwing on some awesome Diana Ross or Stevie Wonder. There is often a story within a story within a story. Songs call out to other songs and other artists and recontextualize what you're listening to, changing the meaning for those in the know. They reference real life events and weave in happenings in the hip hop community that further shape the song.

So you let somebody hear the song, then you can spend the next hour going over the lyrics in that one song. Explaining the samples in that one song. Talking about the beats in that one song. Explaining the references in that one song. Meantime, the kid has tuned out and gone on to play a vine and do that yeet dance.
posted by cashman at 4:52 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


"which one is the hipster?"

Trick question! They're all hipsters! Any single one of them could be described as a hipster by someone near them. That girl with the cross? She's playing Pedro the Lion on her iPod! That hunter with his kill? He's on the cutting edge of locally-sourced meat and artisanal butchering! The "cholo" is Retna, one of LA's most famous street artists! Those Uggs and designer glasses? Thrifted! The square-jawed football player? Connor Barwin! etc.

"This demonstrates that the word does have real meaning, and isn't just a synonym for "young people" or "people I dislike" or whatever."

No, not really. "Hipster" is relational in usage, without clear boundaries, and isn't really a self-applied identity. There are "hipsters" about everything, just as much as there are "nerds" about everything.

(It's not that I totally disagree about "hipster" having a meaning, just that your stereotypes didn't demonstrate it, and I'd disagree about a "real" meaning.)
posted by klangklangston at 5:01 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


"Hipster" is relational in usage, without clear boundaries, and isn't really a self-applied identity.

Neither do "jock" or the now-forgotten "preppie". That doesn't mean there isn't some meaning that people apply. I mean, your argument boils down to the whole issue of self-selected identify vs a set of defined criteria. By the same logic "Christian" has no meaning, although I think for most people it does (herein I commence the derail as to whether Mormons or Jews for Jesus are "Christians"). Or it's basically No True Scotsman. Whatever way you want to frame it, it does have a meaning for most people to the same extent that any label has meaning, which is to say, not always very much.
posted by GuyZero at 5:08 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


"Jock" and "Preppy" aren't really relational, though. And "preppy" has much more clearly defined boundaries. (And people do self-identify as jocks and preppys more often than as

"I mean, your argument boils down to the whole issue of self-selected identify vs a set of defined criteria."

No. While that's part of it, it's not the whole of it, as I sketched above.

"Whatever way you want to frame it, it does have a meaning for most people to the same extent that any label has meaning, which is to say, not always very much."

What's the inversion of "No True Scotsman"? You're arguing "Everyone's A Scotsman." Some labels have a lot of meaning, e.g. "nurse" or "doctor." Even "hipster" used to have more meaning. But culture has spread like a delta, and "hipster" specifically has less meaning for reasons I already mentioned.
posted by klangklangston at 5:34 PM on April 25


I don't know why everyone is going on about hipsters anyway. That first dude was clearly a backpacker, not a hipster.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:32 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Oh fun, arguments about different connotations of a word!

In both cases in the articles these people are just dialing the easy old thing of using a term for a group in the derogatory, trying to call back to the old idea that hipsters are the holier-than-thou "Oh you're so surface." types and the problematic behaviors of such.

I work with a hipster lady, who has a hipster boyfriend and a hipster-y roommate. They all have big plastic rimmed glasses, own a few pairs of Tom's and the rest that go with my own localized subset of hipster culture and fashion. This doesn't make them bad people, nor would they fully fit the stereotype. So, in that sense, klangklangston I would say is kind of right, but also, there are hipsters. Myself, I wouldn't call them hipsters, they just have their own little style and things they do and enjoy.

In essence, they're trying to call on a constructed stereotype which is kind of bad even if at times that stereotype can be spot on at predicting the negative traits associated with the visual and cultural cues. The whole beef in the articles and the ensuing discussion mostly makes me think about the whole idea of a "poser" and makes me really want to watch SLC PUNK again. I think more than anything that there is such a thing as bad-hipster behavior, but I really think that comes back to bad-enthusiast-about-(thing) behavior, because most of the associated negative traits with hipsters I more see in my local video-gaming community. Sure, one of the perfect examples is a guy with a sad handle-bar moustache and a bowtie, but I think I'll stick with calling him "That asshole."

In closing, consider the term "punk". Like "punk" "hipster" in the derogatory is associated with the negative traits of such, but "hipster" can also just refer to a style, a way of being, attitudes, music taste, preferences in beer, etc etc. just like punk can. In the end, the derogatory use, assumptions derived from and the ensuing expectation of rage all need to stop because it's been ridiculous for a while.
posted by ThrowbackDave at 8:10 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


klangklangston: "Any single one of them could be described as a hipster by someone near them."

Well, I guess any one of those could be a hipster, but I'll bet $50 that the one I identified as the hipster is the one escape from the potato planet intended to be the hipster. I'm feeling really, really confident about that.

So maybe there are no hipsters, but now I'd like a word to express that category which escape from the potato planet somehow conveyed really well to me. How about "people who fit really well into the imaginary category of hipster"?
posted by Bugbread at 2:54 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


But those kinds of hipsters, in the pictures, are those the kinds of hipsters writing about hip hop culture?
posted by josher71 at 5:34 AM on April 26


Or the ones that ruined Paris? Or the Bowery?
posted by josher71 at 5:47 AM on April 26


Hipster, more than anything else, have ruined public discourse by supplanting what should be the actual topics of serious conversation (e.g., race, social class, the vanishing political influence of most people). They're not entirely blameless (striving to demonstrate "authenticity" in all things, while acting superior to those who aren't doing so, is a great way to accomplish very little of substance), but mostly, the rest of us need to stop whining about them.
posted by belarius at 2:29 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


the now-forgotten "preppie"

Forgotten?

(Looks down at blue blazer, striped tie, and Dockers; wanders away mournfully.)
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:29 PM on April 26 [3 favorites]


I read articles 2 and 3, and thought, wow, these guys really don't like hipsters! Then, when I scrolled to the bottom and read the bios, I was like, wait, they are hipsters! I read the Vice article about there being no hipsters, then read the bio at the end, then thought, no, that was deceptive; you are clearly a hipster. After that, I read this thread and got even more confused about what kind of rap we're even talking about or if it even matters and who listens to what now.

When I get this confused about music, my head just goes, "SLAYER!" I can imagine I will only get more and more confused about hipsters and music as time goes on. "Slayer" will become my "Hodor" as I descend into senility.

In conclusion, Slayer.
posted by ignignokt at 4:37 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]


josher71: "But those kinds of hipsters, in the pictures, are those the kinds of hipsters writing about hip hop culture?"

No. That really points more at the word "hipster" being misused, though. Like "commie" or "fascist" in the 1980s. People loved to call those they disagreed with "commies" or "fascists". Very seldom were the people being called that communists or fascists. But that doesn't mean that there are no communists or fascists.

Or, if you think that doesn't apply because those are political ideologies, let's look at "geek". Geeks, in the 1980s, did not self-identify as geeks. Geek was a term of derogation, used by others, much like the word "hipster". Yet, in the 1980s, geeks did exist, and were fairly easy to identify. The star quarterback might also know a lot about insects, but that didn't make him a geek, just like a star quarterback now making artisinal beers doesn't make him a hipster.

The thing about derogatory terms is that people will use them even when they don't apply, because they're derogatory. That's always how it is. If you tried to determine the meaning of the word "gay", used as a derogatory term in the 1980s, you'd discover that probably like 90 percent of gays were heterosexual. That doesn't mean that gays didn't exist or the word gay had no meaning.
posted by Bugbread at 4:51 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]


Ok, I'll grant that hipsters exist.

I do think that granting that is not really helpful for this conversation. Hipster is so misused so consistently that it is basically meaningless in the vast majority of instances. This is why the call to be specific is key.

if you are going to make a statement about hipsters, do yourself a favor: stop, think, and say what you really mean. If you mean "white people" then stand by your racial judgement. Don't hide it behind the vagueries of hipsterdom. If you mean "trust fund kids" then say that too. Don't hide your feelings about the long arm of generational wealth behind a piece of outdated slang.


Because if someone says hipsters can't do x or ruined x, I'll think "That person thinks a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter ruined this place? That's stupid".
posted by josher71 at 5:48 AM on April 27


I love how cross hipsters get when you call them hipsters.
posted by greatbiglizard at 12:31 PM on April 27


Sounds like non-hipsters ruined the word hipster.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:59 PM on April 27


"They're not entirely blameless (striving to demonstrate "authenticity" in all things, while acting superior to those who aren't doing so, is a great way to accomplish very little of substance)"

…unless they're being archly ironic, in which case detachment, synthetics and neon is the order of the day.

"The star quarterback might also know a lot about insects, but that didn't make him a geek, just like a star quarterback now making artisinal beers doesn't make him a hipster."

So only QBs can't be hipsters?
posted by klangklangston at 5:51 PM on April 27


I dunno, I looked at all of those pictures, and none of them made him look hipster to me. Seems more like another example of using "hipster" to describe someone who's not actually a hipster, not an example of "hipster" being super-inclusive.
posted by Bugbread at 4:32 AM on April 28


Did you just discover rap, Tell Me No Lies?

No, I just discovered the lyrics
Mother had a baby at fifteen so
you know I've got the slut gene
Can't blame for me wanting my V-card punched
Don't need love just need a good fuck
Or someone maybe throw some D my way
Don't really care just bring it my way
More precisely I had them performed for me by their 12 year old author. I was interested in what was hers and what came from her idol Eminem. That bit doesn't have much resonance with his lyrics, but there were several other ditties on just how hard her birth mother could fuck herself that borrowed some phrasing and imagery.

Rap itself doesn't interest me any more than yodeling does. It's impressive at times, but it ain't my thing.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:48 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Perhaps you have never yodeled.

Hi de hey di ho luluho lee!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:50 AM on April 29


True, although there are a lot of things in life that are more fun to do than to be subjected to...
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:17 AM on April 29


« Older On November 3, 1950, an Air India flight crashed i...  |  Which countries have visa-free... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments