Hipster Autophobia

Hipster Tilley by Johnny Zito
Hipster Tilley by Johnny Zito

I’m tired of hipsters saying they hate hipsters. Every time I read some rant on how hipsters suck I realize I’m reading it in a journal or website written by and for hipsters. Self-hating narcissistic hipsters somehow think they are immune to the vague and broad fallacies of hipsterdom. What deepens this ingrown pathology and paranoia is that self-denying hipsters often subconsciously enjoy being called hipsters, because in some weird way it’s a compliment. This is not a defense of hipsterdom, but an afriendly suggestion that maybe we’re all in the same goddamn pond.

Hipsterdom’s got something do to with an impenetrable irony which results in shallowness, affectedness, smugness, etc. — but aren’t those just judgment calls, like things people have been calling other people forever? Jane Austen and Evelyn Waugh’s been calling out people like that for ages. Hipsterdom may be a new word, but pettiness is timeless.

Case in point with the now infamous¬†article from Adbusters, the quasi-subversive academic yet highly stylized magazine which I can’t help but flip through for the shocking photos. Douglas Haddow,¬†author of said article’s personal flickr is littered with hipster¬†paraphernalia: Pabst beer, Japanese culture, messy studio flats, chicks with weird hair cuts, cheap sunglasses, chronic loitering, etc. He also writes for Vice and a bunch of design blogs. Totally cool, really — seems like a nice life, good for you Doug, seriously, but hey, I don’t quite understand the angst towards your own peoples.

Christian Lorentzen’s article in Time Out New York rings of a sort of exclusionary “jock mentality,” wherein he calls out “fake” hipsters for not being an artist or musician, but some broker or lawyer (here he is [right] in a tux with a scotch rocks at a New York Times award ceremony). I love it when the incumbent gentry cry about gentrification. The Class issue gets all murky, as the nobility of being broke — whether it be artist/writer [sans] salary incurred, or hipster ‘ironic’ blue-collar — is posited by both sides; all the while one’s class is assessed by materialism, inextricably tying this discourse to capitalism, which both parties somehow consider themselves immune to.

n+1‘s “What Was the Hipster” panel symposium earlier this year claimed in their press memo they were “[…] free enough of the hipster taint to write the hipster’s history without contempt or nostalgia […]” They qualify hipster with ‘taint,’ then immediately say ‘without contempt.’ I couldn’t make it, but I have a good feeling they ripped hipsters apart, with legs crossed, pensive and dour, on a stage somewhere while iPhones vibrated perkier news. Again, nothing against being solemn n’ awesome, but dang bros you guys are hipsters (maybe not the “kitschy 80’s” hipster, but mos def the Brooklyn smarty-pants type).

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Best Foreign Film

Google “self hating” and the suggested appendages are ‘jew,’ ‘black,’ ‘asian,’ and ‘white.’ Autophobia is nothing new. Pigs bite the tails of pigs in front of them; vicinity is the greatest recipe for derision. Sorry for the Orwellian allusion, I’m just having such a swine time. I guess the implicit question here is what about HTMLGIANT? Is it not hypocritical to call others hypocritical about calling others hipsters when we in fact may be accused of either said hypocrisy or hipsterdom? I’ve spent way too much time perusing the blogs of our commenters and yah, many of you lovely people are hipsters. That’s okay, really. Nice tattoo. Nice subscription to that obscure journal nobody reads. Nice fucked up mattress not parallel to any walls. It’s a nice life, and “nice life” is the key phrase here — because the other name for hipster is bourgeois. Forget about your music taste, or how much your t-shirts costs, we are bourgeois through and through. The middle-class work, the lower-class die, and the upper-class scrutinize other people’s culture, like we are doing here. Just to clarify, I’m not above any of my indictments.

I hate Pabst Blue Ribbon’s simplistic and indulgent economic symbolism. Political, generational, and cultural disfranchisement is a nice PR campaign, but just get a job and you can afford the nice beer. Stop talking about class. The self-hating hipster is still in the making, though I suspect a wiki entry very soon (this is what happens when friends edit friends). And say hi to everyone at the next party you go to, before that awful band starts screaming.