Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Communication Breakdown: Being Hip VS Being a Hipster

Earlier today I ended up insulting a friend of mine after a video post he made on that faceypage thing. Lesson number one is to be more careful about what I write on the Internet because tone and intent are hard to judge through a text block. I was just joking around.

I also started to consider that what I call a "hipster" could be extremely different than what my friends think. So I would like to take some time to talk about that and try to clear up any confusion just in case I open my trap and go piss off somebody again.

So what does 'being hip' mean anyways? Well according to Dictionary.com it is the following:


Slang . adjective
1. familiar with or informed about the latest ideas, styles, developments, etc.: My parents aren't exactly hip, you know.
2. considered aware of or attuned to what is expected, especially with a casual or knowing air; cool: The guy was not at all hip—a total nerd.
3. in agreement or willing to cooperate; going along: noun
4. Also, hip·ness. the condition or state of being hip.

Being well informed about latest ideas, developments, etc. Also noted was cool. I know people like this in life. Heck, one of the guys I may have insulted in accident *IS* this very definition. He's hip.
So what about 'being a hipster'?

Go to Urban Dictionary and you will find multiple 'definitions' of varying degrees of love/loathe towards the topic. There is an assortment of definitions from positive ones like:

"The term "hipster" is cross-applied from the 1930s Beatniks. The modern hipster is a composite of individuals with a certain bohemian life situation and lifestyle. He or she rejects "mainstream" culture and embraces and contributes to independent culture, and prides him/herself on this. The modern hipster image has been proliferated through the internet, publications such as Vice Magazine, and sightings in the music, fashion, and art world. The image of the hipster is constantly changing, but several aspects have stayed constant over time. Lives in a young, artsy neighborhood of a major city such as Wicker Park in Chicago, Greenwich Village in Manhattan, or Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Usually has some degree of monetary conformability, although sometimes only because of their parents, due to cost of living in these areas. Works (or wants to work) in music, art, or fashion. Has "elitist" music taste and listens to nu-rave (i.e. The Klaxons, Cut Copy, Hercules and Love Affair), minimalist techno, independent rap (i.e. Spank Rock, Talib Kweli, Aesop Rock), nerdcore (i.e. YT Cracker, MC Lars, MC Chris), Elephant 6 (i.e. of Montreal, Neutral Milk Hotel, Apples in Stereo), garage rock, and punk rock in addition to all manners of independent rock. Favorite band is very likely Bright Eyes, The Arcade Fire, The Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, The Strokes, or something of that nature. Also watches independent and foreign films and reads independent books, magazines, and periodicals. Is a fan of modern art and may also be an amateur artist. Dresses in a progressive but retro fashion that is often changing. Popular items include leggings, mini-skirts, leg warmers, '60s dresses, headbands, chunky jewelry, and large shirts and sweaters for girls and skinny suits and ties, tight jeans and cords, t-shirts with ironic sayings and images, cardigans, plaid and buffalo check shirts, colorful hoodies, and tight windbreakers for guys. Both genders frequently wear dirty Vans and Converses, flamboyant Nikes, large plastic frame glasses, and neon wayfarer sunglasses and are sometimes pierced and tattooed. Shops at Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, and thrift stores. Likes to hang out at fashionable coffee shops, indie rock shows, and hipster dance clubs. Does food shopping at stores like Whole Foods and is often vegan or vegetarian. Eats chic ethnic food and prefers organic and Fair Trade fruits and vegetables. Favorite beer is Pabst Blue Ribbon. Takes up many causes and is often socially minded. Enjoys irony in all facets of life, from fashion (wears mismatching outfits and unpopular vintage clothing often emblazoned with ironic sayings) to sports (plays in dodgeball tournaments at McCarren Park Pool). May ride a fixed-gear bicycle or a hybrid car. Networks through Myspace, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Usually rejects the term "hipster" and argues if called one."

To the least favorable ones such as:
"Aged indie kids, Hipsters still maintain the air of snobbery, still shop at salvation army, and still have a completely astonishing array of knowledge when it comes to obscure music, pop-culture non-sequiturs, and political sneers. Absolutely a blast to be friends with, hell to be enemies of, hipsters are the most bi-polar of all the stereotypes when it comes to how they treat you. Can be recognized by books like "The Clockwork Orange", "Everything is Illuminated", or obscure philosophy books, by authors akin to  Dostoevsky."

Or this:

"Someone who listens to bands you've never heard of, wears ironic tee-shirts, and believes they are better than you."

Its the last one that is the reason I despise the term 'hipster' all together. And while there are the more positive and endearing 'hip' people out there (please PLEASE just call yourselves hip from now on) the ones that revel in the idea of being better than everyone else and using their sense of irony to fuel cruel jokes on unsuspecting people need the boot to the head. And those are the ones that dwell around the area where I live.

What do I mean by using their sense of irony to fuel cruel jokes? Well in the most extreme cases this repugnant form of hipster will inject him/herself into some kind of social situation that is deemed 'uncool' by them but they'll be there because its ironic. However they take the next step in this sick indulgence by fakely immersing themselves in this social structure, making themselves seem part of this, which allow the people who usually do this because they genuinely enjoy it to relax and become comfortable. At that point their defenses are down and the hipsters delight in watching these poor folk make asses out of themselves. Its a joke that nobody else is aware of. Its cruel and twisted. If you want to insult me and what I do have the stones just to say it to my face or in public. Hiding out amongst us as the proverbial 'wolf in sheep's clothing' is just pathetic. Hell even 'Candid Camera' let people in on the joke eventually. And dear god have I dated myself with that reference....

These are the hipsters. Self righteous, pompous, too cool for thou douche bags that are as far removed from being educated and enlightened as humanly possible. These vile creatures do roam in small packs, usually dress like the 80's just threw up on them, claim independence but buy all their clothes at Hot Topic, Urban Outfitters and where ever else the herd grazes at. Also like to play ironic jokes on the unsuspecting.
Now back to the hip. For your reference here is some photos of people I think are hip.

Anthony Bourdain


Hunter S.

Jamie and Adam

The Original Not Ready for Prime Time Players

Warren Ellis

 Fuck You! The Fonz IS cool!!

Chefs, TV personalities, musicians, TV characters, writers and even Warren Ellis are 'hip'. On many degrees they hold that definition.

Now for easier identification here are what the hipsters look like that are the antithesis of being hip. They have gone full on douche.

So if I do tend to rip on Hipsters in the future this is what I have been referring to. The hipster of my disdain isn't the educated, open minded, cool individual that I enjoy associating with. Those people are just hip. Hipsters are the opposite hiding behind a faux sense of 'better than thou' and trying to find irony at any level just so they can come off as cool. Its not cool. It sucks.  

And to my friends reading this that I may have offended I hope you see that our definitions of the word 'hipster' are two very different animals and I wasn't trying to offend. Next time I'll be more careful about what I write on faceyspace. Its a learning experience. And besides learning and self growth are both hip, right?