Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Boys Read An Important Article on Hipsterism

Readers, we realize that our investigation of Larryville hipster culture often consists primarily of easy jokes about PBR and the Replay (Chip: "Because that's primarily what local hipster culture consists of."), but occasionally we like to turn our attention to more trenchant critiques of such culture, written by people who actually get paid for their work.

One such piece is Mark Grief's "What Was The Hipster?," published in this week's New York Magazine. Notice the past tense in the title. The piece, among many other things, questions whether hipsterism is dying out (Chip: "Obviously, this guy hasn't been to the Tap Room lately"), whether we need a new term for hipsters ("fauxhemians," perhaps?), and also offers a brief history of hipsters and attempts to establish a definition for this elusive term.

Consider this excerpt:

"We do know what hipster means—or at least we should. The term has always possessed adequately lucid definitions; they just happen to be multiple. If we refuse to enunciate them, it may be because everyone affiliated with the term has a stake in keeping it murky. Hipster accusation has been, for a decade, the outflanking maneuver par excellence for competitors within a common field of cool. “Two Hipsters Angrily Call Each Other ‘Hipster,’ ” a headline in The Onion put it most succinctly.

The longer we go without an attempt to explain the term simply and clearly, the longer we are at the mercy of its underlying magic. In the interest of disenchantment, let me trace a history and offer some definitions. If we see the hipsters plain, maybe we’ll also see where they might come undone."

Richard: "Yes, this is EXACTLY why my definition of the term has always been so frustratingly wide-ranging: because I want to keep it magical!"

Chip: "There's nothing magical about drinking shitty beer."

So what IS Grief's definition of the hipster? Here it is:

"The hipster is that person, overlapping with the intentional dropout or the unintentionally declassed individual—the neo-bohemian, the vegan or bicyclist or skatepunk, the would-be blue-collar or postracial twentysomething, the starving artist or graduate student—who in fact aligns himself both with rebel subculture and with the dominant class, and thus opens up a poisonous conduit between the two."

Personally, we never knew that skatepunks could be hip, because they listen to such shitty music, but we love the idea of a "poisonous conduit" between classes (Chip: "Because, ensconced as I am in my dominant class, I certainly do feel poisoned by those fuckers.").

The article is full of important statements such as this:

"The most exemplary hipster artists are probably the early Dave Eggers, of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000) and his journal McSweeney’s (1998), and Wes Anderson, director of Rushmore (1998) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). These and other artists who were referred to as hipster produced a body of work that was otherwise classed more precisely as “precious” or “twee.”

Richard: "I believe one day the Transmittens will be added to this list."

Anyway, our point is: go read this piece if you want pseudo-academic hipster analysis. And continue to visit us if you want potshots at local "hipsterism," supplemented with boner jokes and pictures of Minka Kelly in various states of undress.

Read the full article here:

And here's a picture from the piece. Is that a ferret? Are ferrets hip?


I'll stick with the boner jokes said...

I would say there is nothing more hipster than writing a pseudo-intellectual New York Magazine piece analyzing hipsters but I see that he already outflanked my outflanking maneuver.

chip! said...

I stick with Minka. More like sticky.