Friday, March 27, 2009

Gainsaying the gainsayers:

By defining hipsterdom as " artificial appropriation of different styles from different eras" the writer is essentially saying that a style from the 70's--say the flannel shirt--was more genuine or authentic during its introduction because it was worn in a way that expressed creativity or youthful rebellion; ideas that hipsters now, because they have "stolen" them, somehow lack.

Instead of deriding the current state as a meaningless rehash of "true" meaning from cultures past, why not strive to understand it as the highly mutating, overtly self-conscious meta-culture it really is? It feels cheap to dismiss the hipster's dance party on the basis of its lacking a "dance style" because this view assumes that we can judge the groups that have developed what are considered compelling dances (seen in the krumping below) alongside those that (seemingly) haven't (the goofy hipsters even further below).

To be sure, I enjoy watching the guy krumping more than I enjoy watching the hipsters bounce around, but I also understand that the second video is just that--kids having fun, getting drunk, rebelling for the sake of rebelling
. The writer, in his insistence that hipsterdom is nothing more than a vacuum of originality, misses out on the interesting things they do/create:

It seems to me that more accurately, we have a culture where information--in the form of fashion, music, dancing, blogging or whatever--is in an unprecedented state of availability, making informational melting pots, where, like the writer said, "formerly dominant forms of counterculture (merge) together," the new norm. In other words, internet kids are taking canonization to the new medium. Hipsterdom is what it looks like when a group luxuriates in its significance, when a group
becomes its canon.

A cultural critique is relevant if it finds immoralities in a group's behavior, if it highlights the inhumane, but correctable. Hipsterdom is a minor mash-up of innocuous self-definition. That's it. This guy's critique is not only ugly, but unhelpful: it implies that some cultures are more creative, more original, and essentially, more
important than others (We don't want to be ethnocentric, but we're human and humans, though sometimes inhumane, are still human. The real deal lies in the limits of cooperation--can we teach lions to think like gazelles? It can't hurt to try.)


Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble said...

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Sean Rahe said...

Well said, Dylan. Besides, the person writing the blog doesn't even know what he's talking about

"Ever since the Allies bombed the Axis into submission, Western civilization has had a succession of counter-culture movements that have energetically challenged the status quo."Um. Might I remind you, Mr. Haddow, of the 1950's? I don't necessarily perceive that time period as being particularly "progressive" in any manner. (See also: Red scare)

I'm also fairly certain all of the talk about the "keffiyeh" is a throwback to Trent Reznor anyways... and who really cares? I mean I'm sure the guy who is writing this is not only a hipster, but an annoying egoist as well.

Mostly what I'm trying to convey is that you're right, Dylan and that that guy's article is pretentious/annoying/etc.


thewesternnomad said...

The videos wouldn't show up, but the article was interesting. I think the guy defines hipster-dom too specifically in order to make his point halfway valid. But I agree that non-prescription glasses are ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!