Saturday, November 19, 2011

In which I put in my two cents on "The Great Hipster Debate"

Hipsters, the twenty-first century enigma.

Everyone has seen them.

Everyone can recognize them.

But when asked what exactly a hipster is, we all find it problematic to describe them without incriminating ourselves.

We mock them. We revile them. We make blogs about them. And we protest vehemently if anybody accuses us of being them (except for those of us who wish we were cool enough to be hipsters...but that's an issue for another post)

The main beef people seem to have with hipsters is that they are disingenuous. They listen to obscure music to sound sophisticated (but not music so obscure that nobody will be impressed by the band names). They eat organic food, wear TOMS shoes and recycle in order to appear socially aware.

They dress in thrift store clothes to look original and unique, but really just end up looking like everyone else who shops at thrift stores.

They liked Arcade Fire before they won a Grammy.

(As a brief side note, will everyone please take some time to search "Hipster Disney" in Google Images? I promise you, you will laugh.)

Interestingly enough, I've noticed a similar insincerity in the anti-hipster movement. People complain about all these hipsters trying to be so cool, but just looking like posers. They complain about all these kids running around in skinny jeans and listening to vinyl. You know what that sounds like to me? That sounds like someone having an issue with the mainstream culture!  That sounds dangerously like...hipsterism! Judging someone for listening to Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes is really only one step away from judging someone for listening to Nickelback. That's right, friends. By hating on the hipsters, you have unconsciously become what you most hate. Good work.

Here's what I ask: can we just...stop?

If you like Belle and Sebastian, listen to Belle and Sebastian.

If you care about recycling, recycle.

If you'd rather ride your bike than drive, by all means, hop on that ten-speed.

And if you genuinely love vintage clothing, hit up that thrift store and shop to your heart's content.

And if someone calls you a hipster, don't worry about. It should only sting if you only listen to indie music to sound edgy, or if you shop at the organic store simply because that's where your friends shop.

And you know what else?

If Nickelback is your cup of tea, blast it.

If you can't get behind the vegan movement, eat you a juicy steak.

If you think skinny jeans look idiotic, good news, you don't have to wear them!

It's okay to like mainstream things. It's okay to like obscure things. what you like. Do what makes you happy. Don't stress about labels. And...please try not to label other people. It hurts, and doesn't do much good for you either.

Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go listen to Iron and Wine while wearing a sweater and chunky-framed glasses.

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