On Hipsters

Posted by Ruth Brown on September 25th, 2011

If there’s one word I never need to see or hear again, it’s hipster.

It’s a word I’ve used before, it’s a word I’ll probably use again and a word that’s written in the right-hand column of this blog, but 90% of the time I hear it, it raises bile.

I don’t even know what it means any more. I’m not sure I ever knew. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean anything, and if it does, it’s just a vague word for “those who subscribe to the predominant fashions and trends of youth culture.”

It’s a word used constantly in and about Portland, increasingly angrily. It is a word that is spat with hatred, and frequently prefaced by “dirty” or “filthy”. Every day I see comments on Willamette Week and the Oregonian and Reddit Portland blaming or railing against hipsters. It’s always their fault. And whatever the article is about, it’s a stupid hipster trend that isn’t worth writing about and proof that all journalists are stupid hipsters themselves. Here is a recent sampling from WW:

“the whole article makes them come off as hipster dilettantes who are trying to do something “cool”" (about taxidermists)

“Just another sorry hipster, “look at me, look at me, I DON’T CARE!”" (about an author and assistant professor)

“oh boy, another hipster figured out his laptop can make thin, weak music for him with the right cut copy paste program.” (about an electronic music artist)

“You sound like a cross between a socialist and a dirty hipster.” (about a coffee shop owner)

“I’ve been making software for 25 years, and only hipster dipshits and marketing wanks would say something like “I’m a member of the tech community”" (about someone who is, apparently, not a real member of the tech community)

“Charging outragous prices for product you can buy through local farmers market and stores such as Sheridon’s and Barbur’s market just because it is cool and shiek and the hipster thing to do” (about the owner of a local supermarket chain)

The more this word loses any meaning it may have once had, the more the people using it sound like old men waving their fists and shouting “cut your hair, hippie!”

And that’s pretty much what it is. You think “hipsters”—whoever the fuck they are—look stupid? So did these guys:

And these guys:

The truth is, young people dress like idiots. They’re just trying to express themselves or fit in. That’s what young people do. That’s what just about everyone in the first world does. If the way other people dress actually makes you angry, perhaps it’s because you, on some level, feel alienated and out of touch.

I think the reason it irks so much is because it all just feels like an extension of Gen-Y bashing to me. Oh young people, they’re all so lazy and selfish and none of them have real jobs and they’re too busy with their cellular phones and X-wiggies to contribute to society.

But older generations always hate on their juniors. Boomers hate Xers, Xers hate Ys, and I can’t stand those God damn toddlers with their talking books and their drooling. Filthy toddlers. What’s disturbing is it has become a slur amongst Gen Ys: “You represent all the stereotypes about our generation!” “No you represent all the stereotypes about our generation!” Were other generations so self-loathing?

I get mocking young people. Mock me all you like: I have half my head shaved off and about 50 ironic t-shirts and the attention span of a lobotomised newt. But why the rage? There are bigger problems in our society than three wolf moon tshirts and lomographic cameras.

Young people are dickheads. Always have been, always will be. Get over it.

  • jo

    What’s an X-wiggie? You can tell I am not a hipster or Gen Y!!

    • http://www.stumpdinpdx.com Ruth

      It was my impersonation of, say, Dad, trying to talk about an X-Box. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=516240225 Stephen Robinson

    Young people really are dickheads.

  • guest

    Did it hurt shaving half of your head off?