Why the fuck do I care about this?
Ararahgghhgegrhgrhghr. I don’t know what to think. These two articles have just been called to my attention. Christian Lorentzen wrote the feature “Why the hipster must die” in Time Out New York / Issue 609, in May of 2007. Douglas Haddow wrote the essay, “Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization” in issue 79 of Adbusters which hit the stands just last week. Both articles beat down the fashionatic tendencies of the supposed “subculture” of the Hipster. In traditional Adbusters style, Haddow declares the end is nigh while typing poetic verses describing the Hipster set dance-shuffling the entire human race into oblivion. Lorentzen is a bit less dramatic and seems legitimately fearful for the death of New York Cool and those that are supposed to be the ones on the front lines of cultural innovation. He even invites the defense of the Hipster from those institutions and publications who cater to the little rascals. The vapid “cultural” blog, Down By the Hipster, in an invited retort, writes,
To us, hipsters are more than just people that dress in odd outfits and like to party. Hipsters are interested in the new, and because they are interested in the new, they help to spur innovation. Mainly in art, music and nightlife. It may not be innovation to most people, but that is why they are not hipsters. By the Pythagorean theorem, this means that they in fact do not ruin everything because if hipsters did not exist, a lot of what the masses come to enjoy would not exist either. It’s kind of like if Marty McFly didn’t get his parents to kiss in Back to the Future.
While I appreciate the reference to one of my all time favorite movies, this defense is nonsense. Lorentzen writes, “The e-mails arrive, and though it is known in advance that the art will be nothing much,the trek is made. The avant-garde illusion ultimately sustains itself on free beer.” I want to scream, YYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! What is this crap that I’m doing? Why do people come see me perform? Why do I go to see other people perform? Why is any of it good? Why do people show up in droves to see The Wooster Group or something put on at The Box?
Haddow goes on to state,
Lovers of apathy and irony, hipsters are connected through a global network of blogs and shops that push forth a global vision of fashion-informed aesthetics. Loosely associated with some form of creative output, they attend art parties, take lo-fi pictures with analog cameras, ride their bikes to night clubs and sweat it up at nouveau disco-coke parties. The hipster tends to religiously blog about their daily exploits, usually while leafing through generation-defining magazines like Vice, Another Magazine and Wallpaper. This cursory and stylized lifestyle has made the hipster almost universally loathed.
See, me: andrewjs.com/metablog.
Is this why I care about this? I no longer know if I am what I parody. I no longer know parody. Irony can no longer exist. I am becoming most of the things that I am hyper-critical of, maybe because I am hyper-critical of them. I try to get in there and understand the stuff of culture. The only way to truly understand is to subscribe and lose yourself in it.
I am also nagged by the thought that this is a very trite thing to worry about. I do however seriously entertain the notion that culture drives culture and that the social undercurrents of the L.E.S. do in some way have ramifications outside of fashion mags. Again, Haddow, with post-apocalyptic sentiment,
We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.
That is what I am afraid of. We are fantastic recyclers of ourselves. But there is no longer any fodder for the mill of ourselves. We are documentation of no content. Focus relentlessly on content rather than what we think is demanding technique.
We are fashion of thought. We live to excessorize.
Everyone can, and should, be ignored. We were warned about this situation we find ourselves in by philosophers, and well before it happened. It’s just too bad we weren’t warned by celebrities, or we would have listened to them.
-Choire Sicha, Editor Gawker Magazine