19 October 2010

Why Do People Hate Hipsters?

"Hipster-hate blogs are multiplying online. But who are these much-maligned trendies – and why do people find them so irritating? Perhaps we should learn to love our skinny-jeaned friends instead."

An excellent article from last week's Guardian that asks the question we all want to know, and also point you in the direction of a number of blogs answering that very question.


  1. And here's my two cents on why people hate hipsters - this touches on a couple of points raised in the comments section of the original article, but not fully (as far as I have read).

    On a surface level it is easy to see why the type of person who would start a blog to simply hate on hipsters would dislike them. If you see yourself as a "true" artist it's only natural that you should dislike someone who appropriates the trappings of being an artist without suffering the hardships of the creative life (like being poor, feeling ostracized from mainstream society and perhaps un-appreciated in your chosen field). Why should a faker get all the cool and kudos without having to go through the birth-pains of creativity like a real artist? Nathan Barley sums this up quite nicely.

    But apart from that, hipsters are often from rich/privleged backgrounds, and are usually white, male and straight. This makes them fair game for a pop from practically everyone, a guilt-free source of scorn that will not upset many people's morals. I think this is a large part as to why they are such popular figures of derision.

  2. Vice magazine(I KNOW) had an article on this phenomenon back in the day(summer of 2008), all about "Hipster: The Dead End Of Western Civilization". I googled "Hipster: The Dead End Of Western Civilization". I linked "Hipster: The Dead End Of Western Civilization".

    They sum up the problem thus:

    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. Each successive decade of the post-war era has seen it smash social standards, riot and fight to revolutionize every aspect of music, art, government and civil society.

    But after punk was plasticized and hip hop lost its impetus for social change, all of the formerly dominant streams of "counter-culture" have merged together. Now, one mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior has come to define the generally indefinable idea of the "Hipster."

    Not sure how solid the guy's opinions are as a whole, but he does stir the pot in a direction that may have merit.

    Alternatively; self-loathing hipster fuck creating DAN DAN PREACHER MAN fan-art...
    "Rise of The Idiots" was an article by a man who wishes he wasn't a hipster, written for a hipster magazine, about the hipsters he knows best among whom he lives, largely as a hipster.

    The difference between the author(s) seems to be that he sneers at his fellows, so he thinks he gets a bye.

    Perhaps the lesson here is we are ALL hipsters, more or less; the difference is that some of us are more or less annoying, more or less useful, more or less interesting, etc, to more or less people.

    Besides, now that everyone knows what hipsters are, the next generation of 15 year olds will be decidedly AGAINST it. If you can read about a youth movement in the guardian, it's pretty much over.

  3. On the solidity his opinions...

    "But after punk was plasticized and hip hop lost its impetus for social change..."

    While there may be some mileage in talking about the impact of both of those youth movements, there might also be some mileage in examining just what music the writer got into and when...

    Golden ages are always over, and people often seem to think any music made after they hit 25 is to blame for all the world's ills.

    Punk was never the force for real change it os often described as having been, and neither was hip-hop. They both had a massive effect, but I think this idea that they used to be able to change the world significantly is pernicious and lazy.

    Did Reagan care what Reagan Youth said? Did anybody grant any civil rights on the basis of what KRS1 said? Fuck no, but it does feel good to listen to someone who shares your anger and frustration.

    The biggest crime of the hipster is to be happier ignoring the insurmountable than screaming in fruitless anger at it.

    More perhaps when I'm not about to leave the house.

  4. The first ever mention of the "hipster" phenomenon that I am aware of (this generation's hipster, not hip jazz cats etc), was used to totally bash people the author saw as "hip". I think this might be that article form Vice, I can't be sure til I re-read it. So, like "political correctness" the term seems to have been pejorative since its very inception.

  5. You know you talk so hip man, you’re twistin’ my melon, man!
    Call The Cops! x

  6. I think the term IS pejorative in the current context, yeah; it's someone who cares for hip and nothing else. Hip is trend based, and so is transitory and lacks substance beyond a popularity contest.

    It's always been a bad thing in any youth movement to prioritise appearance of hip over substance of hip, but it's also always been common as hell.

    I don't think we can attribute the term to VICE, though...

    Wikipedia says...

    "The term hipster was coined by Harry Gibson in 1940, and was used during the 1940s and 1950s to describe jazz performers."

    Sounds like a good thing. Dressing like a jazz musician or buying an app for your gramophone that makes you sound like one... well, that'd be a bad thing.

    That's what I think of as hipters today; folk desperate for substance turning to outward signs thereof to attain it.

    It reminds me of the idea of sympathetic magic; imitating to attract.