Tuesday, January 22, 2008

concerning hipsters

as the subject of hipsters has been of interest lately, i'd like to discuss it briefly. maybe we can even clear up a few standing questions like who they are, what they do, and why the term is considered derogatory.

first of all, let's start with the types of people who we can safely say are not hipsters. note figure 1a at right. not a hipster. a few key pointers here: notice the balding head, weird apron, and the fact that he's been cooking. no hipsters are balding. that's just not how it works. most have long, tangled or otherwise purposely mismanaged hair. unless messy hair has become too popular, in which case the hipster will convert to neat hair to preserve his or her individuality. if you can't tell, that apron reads: "have you hugged a presbyterian lately?" of the four aprons like that in the world, all were purchased by persons over the age of 65. no one over 30 can safely be considered a hipster. over 30 hipsters are called 'hobos.' in regards to the cooking comment earlier, hipsters don't like to put much effort into anything, unless they are trying to show you that they don't put effort into anything. so cooking's pretty much out. but then so is fast food, which leaves them the narrow choice of pre-cooked, preservative-free, non-massed produced food. this is why many hipsters have a waistline of 26 or below.

on to our second example: the half-hipster. you should notice immediately (exhibit 4c, at left) the fuller head of hair, the slight sense of style, and the unwillingness to pander to the camera. caught mid-tirade, he is most likely going off on a tangent regarding the evils of corporate greed, the fragility of our environment,or the necessity for a government mandate ensuring that one member of every house rides a bicycle. while he doesn't posses the feigned carelessness of style of a true hipster, you'll notice the clear attention to dress. unlike most hipsters, he will probably not claim to hate your favorite band, but he mot likely listens to some music labeled as sonically dissonant or 'edgy.' however, we should remember he is the half hipster. this means he ostensibly cares about the world around him (like hipsters) but is also willing to change it (unlike hipsters).

finally, the hipster (figure 12c). the first thing you notice is that wry smirk. it brings something out doesn't, what is it? --the desire to punch him in the face. beyond the smile there are the ridiculous aviator glasses, the half-shaven disgruntled look, and of course the missing shirt. this one apparently care so little for the superficial that clothes have become meaningless. it sets him apart as an 'individual.' normally, you'll find him wearing jeans too tight and sailor striped shirts. he is usually loafing around, back hunched, talking loudly about an obscure band (probably also discussing the lack of originality in your music taste), a political situation that he barely understands, or generally complaining about the shallowness of popular culture. though he will often bring up others mistakes, he rarely puts his own neck on the line. the eternal critic.

typical conversation:
you: hi. how are you?
hipster: miserable. i ate my cat this morning.
you (noticeably startled, which was his intention): what? are you serious?
hipster: i just woke up this morning and felt depressed. you know war in iraq, the economy, people are just idiots. so i put him out of his misery.
you: ummmm. ok. yeah, that sucks.
hipster: i just read "johnny got his gun." written after WWI. pacifist literature. it changed my life.
you(understandably confused by the topic change): oh. ok. who wrote it?
[but the hipster can't hear you. he has his ipod earbuds in and is listening to something that sounds like cardboard being shredded]

and that's all i know concerning hipsters.


Mickey said...

Shit. I had no idea I was a hipster; I just thought cats were tasty.

ck said...

man, half way there! pretty soon i'll quit my job and start hanging out at java all day.

Anonymous said...

stan, i love you so much. this post was so hodgman-esq (so, so hipster; just dont tell any pc owners). and you know how i feel about hodgman! and hobos! love it love it. but then again, i dont own any kids or a home, so i dont really know anything (so hipster of me). now where are my heelies? i'm off to sassy ann's...

stan, you are a smarter than you look, even with a shirt on.

The Pol said...

wow, you forgot that no hipster would be caught dead cooking for a football game which is what I was undoubtedly doing.

And I love that apron.

And I hate hipsters.

will cote said...

i guess what you dont realize is that any denial of hipstership is only more proof that you are indeed a hipster. no self respecting hipster would ever say he was a hipster. remember though that if you claim to be a hipster you are also a hipster, but not as much as the hipster that denies it.

samuel said...

Way to ruin my life by telling me and proving how absolutely not hip I am. Thanks for nothing!

Courtney said...

Do hipsters blog? I think not -- too mainstream.

Anonymous said...

I think Will is probably the epitome of the unwitting hipster. He's so hip that he doesn't even know it. I mean, those trendy white tee-shirts with fish stains and sharpie musings? living in korea? HIP to the MAXX (double X for effect).

shelleycoughlin said...

Uhh, this was the most hilarious thing I've read all week. I do feel, though, that the hipster in figure 12c should have more hair falling in his eyes and should be more on the skinny side.

Things for him to work on, clearly.

benjamin said...

thanks for telling me to read this, chris. very enlightening. its also funny because I've been concerning myself with these very thoughts lately (see: http://eatingtheearth.blogspot.com/2008/01/i-threw-out-my-bruce-willis-lps-forever.html)