Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hipsters Explained

Was discussing hipsters with my comic friends Ian Ghent and Dan Goodman. The topic: Why are hipsters so useless?
I think part of what explains hipsters is a widespread refusal to grow up. Technological innovations like YouTube have created an incomprehensible archive of EVERYTHING that allows people to instantly and endlessly reminisce about Transformers, old commercials, etc. There was a time not so long ago when hitting a certain age meant completely parting ways with nearly every recreational activity from your youth (apart from sports). I am not referring to the 1950s. My older brother, who is under forty, left college as an adult, or at least he was adultish. He and his friends never sat around talking G.I. Joe.

These days your old memories never have to get old. Within seconds you can access everything the Smurfs ever did. And in just a few more seconds you can share that with all your thumb sucking, underdeveloped friends.

Also, jobs haven't been so readily available these last six years, so a lot of young folks haven't been reigned in by the workplace, nor have they had the capital to consider very adult purchases like houses. This has undoubtedly delayed a lot of growing up that otherwise would have happened. And even before the credit economy madness sputtered, there was already a trend toward starting families later in life, which enables you to extend your Frivolous Years.

What all this leaves us with is a burdensome demographic of Peter Pans (though hipsters would probably call themselves Pietro Pan in an attempt to sound worldly).

I think a refusal to grow up also played a role in the hippie/Summer of Love folks, but for some reason, that trend at least led to some decent songs and movies. The hipster trend has produced absolutely nothing of value. Not even by accident.

And could some of the problem be that a lot of these hipsters are trying to be artists themselves (this pose being part of what makes one "artsy"), so the hipster trend is a self-perpetuating mechanism that continually encourages a brackish sea of bad writing/music? Conversely, the hippies produced far fewer artists; a lot of the counterculture folks were just along for the ride and they ultimately became the fanbase that supported some of the better counterculture artists. Not enough sheep are just along for the hipster ride, so there isn't much support for any decent hipster artists (if such a thing exists). Seems like a division of labor problem.

Plus a lot of hippie-folk really did drop out of society (at least for a while). Dropping out isn't part of the hipster pose. Quite the opposite. Hipsterdom is all about letting the whole world know how you think and feel, and today's technology has made this very easy to do.

It is really too bad that none of the bearded hipster celebrities proclaimed that beards were a way of "hiding part of yourself from the world, man!" If one of them had, perhaps a lot of these hipsters would have taken the queue and quite literally hidden all of their body from the world.

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