Friday, February 25, 2011

On Being a (Gulp) Hipster

I just realized that this:

makes me sound somewhat like a middle-aged housewife, trying to keep up with her hip offspring. What's that thing the kids call it? Graphitics...graf...graffiti?

Which is funny, and timely, considering I've recently had to accept the fact that I apparently fit the description of a....hipster.

A friend recently sent this link to me. On the page you see this image:

I'm ashamed to admit how many of them apply to me. Why ashamed? Well, who wants to be classified as any one thing? So I wear decade-old Converse and Vans - it's only 'cause I've OWNED them that long! (Hey, I take care of my things...and my shoe size hasn't changed since the 7th grade.) I'm obsessed with documentaries, LOVE Apple products, lomographic photography, go to "shows", the list goes on and on. The only thing that really saves me is that I've yet to own a pair of skinny jeans. And the fact that I refuse to use acronyms. LOL, my ass. I LAUGH OUT LOUD.

Here's the thing: I HATE that label. It makes me think of kids with funky hair cuts, poorly fitting/matching clothing, and pretentious ideas without actual knowledge. People I refer to as "kids". There's nothing innately wrong with them but I just can't identify with them. Nor do I have to! I haven't been a "kid" for longer than I care to admit to. I'm no geriatric and I still get the occasional carding when buying booze but I've been out of high school now for almost as long as it takes to get in.

Like most people, I like what I like. Can I help that some are considered items du jour? So I love grammar, noir movies, indie music, and Charles Bukowski. Ditto for pulp art, Varga girls, surf music, and chick-lit from the 60s. I've loved these things for YEARS. It's taken me a lifetime to acquire the knowledge and obsessions I have and I proudly cling to them, even while they fade in and out of the popular conscience. I'm not saying that every "hipster" is a poseur, but is it my fault that that's a stereotype I carry around in my head? And, therefore, don't want to be associated with? I can't be the only one. I suppose the true "hipstery" thing is fiercely imaging/insisting that you don't fit ANY mold. That you're an original. Even though you realize you look/sound an awful lot like that other "original" guy standing next to you. The truth is there are very few things that can still be called original. Everyone and everything is a melding of all its influences and surroundings. So it is with a long sigh that I admit...I suppose...I might, indeed, be a "hipster" myself.

The good news? Exit Through the Gift Shop really was quite a good documentary.


  1. I'm surprised you were so taken with this whole discussion. I mean, we used to joke that we WERE hipsters before the label got totally branded as it has now. Made me think of a Gen-X article, and how the label didn't irritate until the group became consumers, or were thought of as a group to constantly market.

    I don't know--I realized with the whole punk thing that I will never truly fit a "label" nor will I ever be truly "original". I'm somewhere in between, and that in between equals ME. Whether I understand the roots of all my obsessions or not!

    Sorry for the ramble!

  2. Au contraire, mon frère. I NEVER identified as a "hipster." Joked about hipsters in general? - hoo, yeah - but never considered myself one. At first, way back over 10 years ago, because they seemed far smarter/cooler/etc. than I could ever hope to be. I was just a bright-eyed 20-something finally nailing down my identity but secretly hoping that it added up to sounding/looking as wordly as they. Now, well now I'm a jaded 30-something who couldn't care less what's popular, if my clothes are trendy, or of I talk about the right sorts of things. I guess that's where I inadvertently fit the actual definition of a hipster and not so much the branded version of one that I currently have in my head.