In Defense of Hipsters

Pic @ Sandy Kim

By now many of you probably know about the recent New York Times article, “How to Live Without Irony,” by Christy Wampole, since it’s been getting so much attention that it basically exploded the internet. For those of you who don’t, Wampole’s article is a superficial analysis of “hipster” culture in which she scoffs at our generation for its lack of sincerity, and for viewing the world through irony-tinted glasses. Here’s how it begins:

“If irony is the ethos of our age — and it is — then the hipster is our archetype of ironic living. The hipster haunts every city street and university town. Manifesting a nostalgia for times he never lived himself, this contemporary urban harlequin appropriates outmoded fashions (the mustache, the tiny shorts), mechanisms (fixed-gear bicycles, portable record players) and hobbies (home brewing, playing trombone). He harvests awkwardness and self-consciousness. Before he makes any choice, he has proceeded through several stages of self-scrutiny. The hipster is a scholar of social forms, a student of cool. He studies relentlessly, foraging for what has yet to be found by the mainstream. He is a walking citation; his clothes refer to much more than themselves. He tries to negotiate the age-old problem of individuality, not with concepts, but with material things.”

Perhaps someone forgot to inform Christy that it’s 2012, and that most of the urban world has now moved on from this, because people finally accepted that there was no succinct definition of the vague term “hipster.” Not only was her article a word-salad, but it was so DATED that I felt physical pangs of second-hand embarrassment while reading it. I’m not generally one to respond to any of the ubiquitous “anti-hipster” commentary, because I feel that anyone who mocks hipsters is so obviously doing so out of cluelessness and jealousy, that simply being the hipster-mocker is punishment enough. How embarrassing and shameful to be you, hipster mocker, for your lack of self-awareness. Surely people by now understand that if the term “hipster” stands for anything it’s simply someone who is culturally aware, stylish, and who has an obscure knowledge of interesting music, film and art. Do people seriously not realize that mocking someone for being cool, interesting and stylish only highlights the fact that you are none of these things?! Helllooooo!

Christy also invites us to analyze ourselves, and check for symptoms of the dreaded irony disease:

“Here is a start: Look around your living space. Do you surround yourself with things you really like or things you like only because they are absurd? Listen to your own speech. Ask yourself: Do I communicate primarily through inside jokes and pop culture references? What percentage of my speech is meaningful? How much hyperbolic language do I use? Do I feign indifference? Look at your clothes. What parts of your wardrobe could be described as costume-like, derivative or reminiscent of some specific style archetype (the secretary, the hobo, the flapper, yourself as a child)? In other words, do your clothes refer to something else or only to themselves? Do you attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or ugly? In other words, is your style an anti-style? The most important question: How would it feel to change yourself quietly, offline, without public display, from within?”

BARF. As if people who like to dress wacky are automatically invalid as humans.

Irony is a good thing; it’s our way of undressing the world, of viewing people and things and situations on multiple levels. Take away irony and you just become a one-dimensional yoga person who loves astrology and talks to strangers about your aura. Well, no one gives a shit about your fucking aura, and no one gives a shit about you either Christy, which is clearly why you wrote this bullshit, redundant article: out of resentment. In my opinion, your article felt less like an honest analysis and more like a personal vendetta–you’re angry at yourself for for being so uncool, or some hipster didn’t sleep with you, or whatever. Your article went in way deeper than was necessary, a sign of distress. If only you had original ideas, then you wouldn’t be left regurgitating the same Midwestern mom-talk bullshit we’ve been hearing since 2006.

When I emailed Hamilton hoping that he would share in my anger, he replied only: “Did you Google image search the author? I can neo-sincerely say that anyone who has such awkward self portraits online is incapable of saying anything of value.” And then I did Google her, and found the selection of photos you see below, in which she is apparently 100% honestly posing with her face reflected in a broken mirror, which I can only assume is a totally non-ironic representation of her fragmented soul. LOLOLOLOL.

Casually and sincerely reading an ancient book NBD

Also, as a recent VICE article points out, Wampole is in a really shitty band with a SELF-WRITTEN WIKIPEDIA PAGE. I legit can not think of anything more #tragic.

Hipster bashing is essentially cool bashing, and I feel like I need to point out that being cool is not a bad thing, because the opposite of cool is someone who’s boring and uninteresting and normal and looks like shit. And it’s better to be cool than uninteresting. OF COURSE IT IS. And anyone who argues otherwise is quite obviously uncool.

Irony is the backbone of humor, Christy, and you are clearly a humorless, frigid bore. Of course it would be unattractive if an entire generation was just ironic, and nothing else, but that is far from the situation. So, please feel free to continue being sincere, taking humorless photos of your shadow reflected in ponds, and dressing in clothes that reference nothing except the TJ Maxx sale rack. But please do so far, far away from me, because you’re cramping my trendy, irreverent, ironically slutty, Williamsburg blogger-chick style. Or whatever. I don’t actually care. #aloof



100 Replies to “In Defense of Hipsters”

  1. Navigating the Hipster debate is a nightmare. I live in Dublin and basically, there is a large portion of absolute wankers who go out of their way to dress and act like “hipsters” and yet would obviously freak out if they were associated with such a scene. On the other hand, I would consider the style I dress to be hipster, but so far as I know, I don’t live ironically, I’m not pursuing a pointless degree on Daddy’s money and anything I do, I do it because I want to or love it, not because it’ll make me look cool. Basically, I think people that exist only for irony and the praise they get for following trends and being cool are depressing, but not everyone who dresses a certain way or lives in a way deemed “hipster” is a wanker… Rant over…

    1. Wow man, you’re so insightful. I bet you’re the first person on the internet to be this brilliant. Care to share any other startlingly clever formulaic analogies?

  2. Hey Karley,

    I’ve been a fan your writing for a long time and I agree with many of your points. The hipster debate finally came to my country a a few years back with a blogger who sneered at hipsters for being clueless, self-involved walking contradictions and closeted capitalists. There was jealousy in it, no doubt, and I was fucking furious at this guy for hiding behind his blog and calling people names from afar. Everyone who knows me thinks of me as a major hipster – i secretly hope – as I go out my way to be first with the latest shit and I felt like he was taking stabs at my entire existence.

    Here’s the thing: the dude actually had a point. Have you seen what’s happening to the world at the moment? Isn’t it a little unsettling that shit is really starting to hit the fan in a BIG way and young people seem more concerned with posting LOLcats on their iPhones while drugged out of their mind? Don’t get me wrong, that woman looks clinically insane (and not in a good way) and her attempt at earning cultural cred through positioning of an indefinable urban culture, is both off the mark and annoying, but maybe you should ask yourself why you’re getting so wound up about this? Sorry, I’m not buying your #aloof hashtag. I can sense the same seething rage that prompted me to comment on that that anti-hipster website a gajilion times.

    Or maybe things are different in NY and I’m just getting old. Who knows. In any case, big fan of your writing.


    Gavin McEarnest

    1. HOLY cRAP. i’m so tired of being grouped into something anyways. and it’s mostly by 40 year old adults and college kids who don’t know anything outside of their fraternity party live in my dorm world. like shit, because i like fucking awesome music and am COMFORTABLE enough with myself to wear whatever the fuck i want including yes wacky clothing because it’s fun and i’m not worried about coming off as conservative and wearing what i’m allegedly “supposed” to wear then i’m obviously this thing called a hipster. and obviously am NOT myself. shit fuck holy crap i am more myself for exploring the weird and not following what i’m told im supposed to by the mainstream. man, that must mean i’m following some trend, instead of being inspired by when i see someone i think is awesome and i can relate and we can relate because i can’t fucking relate to all the robotic sexist un-fun mainstream bullshit. yo i’m so sorry for this girl that she leads such a boring stuck up life and writes articles based on her jealousy for people having fun and exploring things OTHER than whats put in front of us.

  3. I have interests which are regarded as others as atypical and the term is often applied to me because of this. It’s just become a way of people trying to dismiss what I like as try-hard and not genuine when in reality it’s the people who like anything if it’s shoved into their faces enough that are fake.

    1. Once I wrote an article about a Black Friday murder mob. # CurrentEvents!!! And wait… weirdly, it’s Black Friday today… what does that mean?!!?!?)

  4. I agreed with some of your points but when you started directly started attacking Wampole (e.g. “no one gives a shit about you either Christy, which is clearly why you wrote this bullshit, redundant article: out of resentment”), your article lost credibility. It seemed like you didn’t really have anything valuable to say, so you just took the bullying route, and that made me doubt everything else you argued.

    1. She opened herself up for public bullying when she wrote an article bullying a group of people she doesn’t even understand.

      1. She did, yes. But to take her up on it puts you somewhat on the same level, no?

        There were some hurt undertones in your article. Plus, as you stated, the whole hipster-non-hipster discussion was outdated a few years ago..

        1. I don’t think Karley is “on the same level” at all. That’s like saying you shouldn’t get mad at horrible racists because they were mad first and now you’re no better than them. It’s just bad logic. Someone wrote a stupid article attacking an enormously large group of people she doesn’t understand, and Karley called her out on it. As did many, many people who made fun of that article. There is nothing wrong with attacking people who deserve it, so get over yourself and try it sometime.

    2. I don’t get people criticizing you for having an opinion, and calling out that annoying woman. She obviously is as self absorbed as any of the hipsters she makes fun of. Bullying? This word it is so overused with adults. Bullying happens at school, not amongst adults.
      I think those pictures are a self rebuttal to her article.

    1. Yes, a lot of people have been writing silly articles online trying to attack cool, young, interesting people because their lives are jokes and some young, urban person didn’t like them or their art or shitty writing or something.

  5. I dont think irony is the bad part, indiference for whatever is happening outside of “hackney/williamsburg” it is.
    plus, lots of people that look like interesting are just imbeciles wearing beyong retro/topshop stuff.

    hope you’re gooooood gurl

  6. Those pictures were hilarious & I agree with you 100%. Anti-hipster rants are soo annoying and pointless. The only good thing that came out of this was your defense. #teamkarley

  7. Wampole says that: “Fundamentalists are never ironists; dictators are never ironists; people who move things in the political landscape, regardless of the sides they choose, are never ironists.”

    But I consider you, Karley, an ironist, and you have definitely changed the way I look at a lot of things, and I said that without irony :)

  8. I think you missed the point. Criticizing hipster-dom is not criticizing being “cool”. It is criticizing the objectification of cool. If anything, your response sounds like a vendetta because, as a self-identified hipster, you feel personally stabbed.

  9. i think both articles kind of suck. real “hipsters” are hanging around in the woodwork deciding wether or not to leave the comforts of their own home that is decorated perfectly to their liking (or not). this whole neo-hipster thing has gone viral and b/c of that their really isn’t a true “hipster” anymore; just people trying SO SO hard to be cool. people are either cool or not, and the ones who are cool typically don’t have to try … it’s in their nature — they’re just that way. it’s these people that so-called “hipster” people try to emulate (once they’ve had a glimpse of one of them trying to hide in sunglasses trying to buy toilet paper like everyone else).

    i am going to go paint and eat vapors

  10. As bullshit as that Times article is your pretty much chatting shit yourself Slut.
    It’s the level of pretentiousness that sets Hipsters apart.
    “lots of people that look like interesting are just imbeciles wearing beyong retro/topshop stuff.” There a fuck load of people just wearing topshop that could be into amazing writer or artist or whatever.
    Most people with a brain are into book,music,film. Hipsters are the people that think there interests somehow sets them apart.

  11. I seriously never understand these kinds of articles/rants (hers not yours). Why do people feel the need to put an end to whatever it is they define as “hipster”? It seems like such a waste of energy to care what some random group of young people are doing. If your life is so “sincere” and “meaningful” why does it even bother you at all what someone else wears/watches/listens to? UGHHHHH.

  12. Dear Karley,

    Your blog is my absolute favorite, in part because of your general cleverness and because you address many issues of dire importance that are utterly ignored by the mainstream.
    However, although I share your general annoyance at the outdated and unintelligent hipster bashing, your attacks on the online photos, clothing choices, and general “coolness” of the writer does not do much to advance the intellectual value of this debate.
    Perhaps you are writing with irony, but I sure wish I could read something of value about this issue, and if anyone can speak about this well, it would be you.
    This can be an interesting topic, as “hipsters” are a force in our generation, and many hipster attributes have been spreading into the mainstream on many levels in the last decade, making it even more significant. Making fun of a writer a-la 4th grade style can be okay as a literary technique, as long as it surrounds ideas of value, which were sadly missing from your response. Hope to hear some good stuff soon.


  13. I just find the Vice-hipster trend of being politically incorrect and/or excessively ironic and self-depreciating to be overplayed and often a cheap way to avoid criticism. Obvs by eliminating irony/satire entirely you limit your scope of expression – and that’s dumb because being politically incorrect can work to critique or expose the cultural meanings inherited by those sentiments. But also you have to be good at it and it’s rare that the kind of irony Vice offers up can be considered constructive social critique; nor are they witty enough to be great satire. Your defense? ‘You’re obviously uncool because you’re ripping into ‘cool’ people.’ – umm, like ARE you cool and interesting? “Oh yeah, I like BDSM, vintage clothes, occasionally some reading glasses I don’t need; I like totally love Araki and my friends take film photos of each other in saturated tones/b+w pulling bongs. Isn’t that totally culturally aware? Check out all the ‘art’ you guys!”. LOL

    1. Hi Michelle. How about you come up with your own come-backs? That first bit is completely plagiarized from my article on ‘political correctness’ and taken out of context. High up on the list of things I love are Araki, film photography and pulling bongs. Plus I think Karley has something to offer. I did an interview with her on the same blog you copy-pasted ammunition from. I also think that Wampole’s article is flawed and a little on the bitter side but she does make SOME good points which are completely negated by her lol-worthy self portraits.

  14. People still use the word “hipster”?

    The article should have been called “I totally missed the point of my own article (maybe I should start covering real issues like global warming if I’m getting paid to write for the fucking NY TIMES)”

  15. What a hideous rant Miss Sluetever! May I give you a honest opinion coming from a place (Italy) where the hipster’s phenomenon is not so widespread?
    I read the NYT articles and is obviously criticizing the excessive use of irony as a defensive device used in order to hide one’s real self and opinions (or lack of thereof) rather than just “bashing the hipsters”.
    I think you (consciously or not) know it yourself and (feeling caught ’cause much of your work is submerged in self-defenisve irony) you’re demeaning it to a “bash-the-hipsters-fest” in your response in order to make it an easy target for a back-bash.
    I agree with lots of point effectively delivered in the NYT article, I myself often despise the abuse of irony in human relationships and expressions, I hate when the irony, instead of being the medium of a message, becomes the message itself.
    To be honest, I felt second hand embarrassment in reading the parts of your articles when you compare hipster-bashing to cool-bashing, implying quite obviously that the so-called hipsters (and surely you) are cool, stylish and interesting. Jesus, are you really sure about that? I don’t think you’re you or your boyfriend are stylish, I think your fun, irreverent but quite trashy in your looks and styles. But maybe it is me that it’s not cool enough to understand your coolness.
    I think the so-called hipsters (being mostly un or under employed and/or not or under satisfy with the outcome of their lives) have created a sort of self-referential and self-reassurance microcosm in which people are cool because the other people in the same microcosm tell them they are on Facebook or Instagram.
    Beside that, I honestly hated the cyber-bullying part of your post, and is pretty self explanatory about the distorted criteria of the above mentioned microcosm that you (and Hamilton) feel entitled to bash a couple of bad photos when the internet contains (to name a couple) a video where you (ironically) masturbate on a balcony, a video where you (artistically) give a lousy blow job or (on Hamilton’s part) a picture depicting an apparently maddened man running naked in a field with the head of a dead pig in front of his private parts (parts that are anyway viewable in the aforementioned artsy sex-tape).
    Finally, I don’t think the article is dated, it touches relevant issue of our times, and your raging response is the living proof of that.

    1. ugh THANKYOU lorenzo you’re so right. i just found karley’s response to be quite immature and perhaps symptomatic of deeper insecurities. “Cool” is relative and karley’s binary definitions of cool/uncool as hipster/non-hipster are just as short-sighted as she purports wampole’s article to be.

  16. you mean to tell me obama supporters who voted for obama simply because it was the cool thing to do are turning on their own…say it isn’t so!

  17. I went back and read Wampoles article. She might have used the wrong label (what do I know?) but she certainly does have a point.
    The current indifference of American youth culture – with a nice exception of the Occupy movement plus some – and it’s manifestation in what Wampole describes as “irony” seems to me to be a self-defense mode, a cop-out of the growing complexity of the world surrounding us. Not that the world ever was less complex, but our awareness of it is growing. We’re like our parents/grandparents in referencing everything from times past: wishing to be kids again, to have simple solutions at disposal, to look at the world through nostalgia-tinted glasses.
    It’s a shame to some degree that we chose to do this. We don’t participate in shaping the future, the political battlefields, the cultural ones. We hide behind “irony” to not open ourselves for scrutiny or criticism. We therefore kill a constructive dialog, a meaningful discourse and maybe a learning experience?
    Where is our youth movement that shapes political discourse? South America has it, Europe has it, the Arab Spring certainly is it. Are we just too damn comfortable and afraid of losing some?

    Funnily enough your bashing out on Wampole seems as an act to come out of this comfort zone, since you opened yourself up for criticism (and I’m happy about all these different voices in the comments calling you out on it), yet I have the feeling that there are more pressing issues to bash these days? Also, maybe she was throwing salt in a wound that you hid so far, therefore touching a critical point (which certainly would explain your ferocity within your post)?

    Now feel free to bash me/open the discussion.

    Ps: Irony is important and a viable tool in calling attention to aspects of life. But if most of our actions are in the ironic mode, isn’t honesty the mode to call out on it?

  18. So your ironic hipster pride is more important than at least treating this sorry person you’re writing about with the littlest respect that she deserves as a human being? I dont get why you get so hateful and sexist over this. Seems like you have just as less of a life than she does~ ;*

  19. I loved you Karely. But this article has proved that you are no better than the uninteresting others. I am sorry. But after the many years of following you. I am breaking up with you Karley, you aren’t the awesome Slutever I met long ago, but maybe I never knew you at all.
    You try to defend one group by oppressing another. Why is it so easy for kids, like yourself, to find solace and credibility in demeaning others.

    I cant believe I’m saying this, BUT YOU SUCK SO HARD.

  20. I didn’t see the article as being anti-hipster… it’s focusing on the importance of being authentic in an increasingly capitalistic society… if you read the article carefully, the author can actually relate to being hipster-esque (from her 90s days), but only cautions the reader to avoid following trends and using irony as a way to hide emotions. I think the article is actually pointing out the importance of living an authentic life.

  21. This is the first time I’ve come across the Hipster-bashing debate. While it was good for a brief chuckle, in all honesty I’m surprised to find it in your blog. Wampole’s article was poor and a mess of arguments. Yep. Part of that was demonising a stereotype. Agreed. Her band is not good. Amen. So?

    Why respond to such a piece? The manner of that response was equally poor, focussing on the most superficial of points raised and posing no real counter. Getting personal was a faux pas that again defeats any purpose of what you’ve written, and no, Wampole’s weak action does not justify the same from you. It just seems petty.

    Leave this shit for the birds, your writing has displayed that you are simply more than this.

  22. Karley I think the surprising thing about your passionate response is that to me, and I’d say to most of your readers, you’re not at all a ‘hipster’- you mostly come across as original and funny and candid and flawed and open and sexual – all these things are a refreshing antidote to the somewhat painful and anxious elements of current ‘hipster cool’ or whatever people want to call it.

  23. I loved your article Karley. Fuck this lady. I hate the fact that because I’m white, am near sighted, am a rock and roller, live in Brooklyn, and in my 20s, people think I’m a hipster…wait…dammit, anyway, the point is, just because I am/like those things, doesn’t mean anything other than that’s what I am/like, and this whole debate/war over authenticity is extremely tired and boring.

    People aspire to think creatively, be artistic, and question the world around them, and that’s a good thing. Sure, some people along this path will suck horribly, and some will be douchebags, but who cares? Let the cream rise to the top and push our culture to new heights of inspiration and creativity.

  24. dude..i mean, i do get your point of wanting to protect a culture that memorizes and honors great things like literature, vinyl or the clothing style of the 60s or any of this stuff that is, thanks to the “hipsters” you’re talking about, in style and hip. More people get to know stuff they wouldn’t have gotten interested in if it wasn’t for their “coolness”.
    But really – was any of this EVER out of fashion? didn’t every cool and interesting person yet try to find input to emerge their cultural horizon, read books of high maintenance and watched great movies and simply educated themselves? didn’t every good dressed person try to find their own “thing”, collecting antique stuff and whatever else?
    this ain’t new. what is new is that people use all those great stuff, not to educate themselves or become the best version of themselves possible (=cool), but simply to be cooler, tougher, smarter than everyone else, which i consider more arrogant and childish than cool. but this is youth culture, and there will always be kids who get it wrong, or are just not born with natural interest or abilities to understand a salinger book or a lynch movie, but will still watch and read it if their best friend or vice says it’s cool, just like they will keep on taking drugs they can’t handle if anybody says it’s cool. and also, there will always be a bunch of “grown-ups” that feel the need to critizise the youth of today, for whatever reason that offends them.
    question is – why care? and why insulting them? and why on earth getting so upset about it?

    i just think it’s a sad thing that you used to write such nice stories that offered people access to another world, to your personal world with all insight and all funny anecdotes. not because your world seemed to be so freakish and strange but because you had a view on the things around you that seemed special and one of a kind, because it was YOUR view and not the view of a “culture” or “cool-kids-club”.
    since you started writing more journalistic and professionally, i mostly get the feeling that none of what you write is really coming out of your mind, but is formed into something that a certain social group is going to accept or consider as cool. this makes me sad because i really enjoyed your writing once.
    and regarding the comments i read, i more and more get the feeling there are not many “cool” people left who are still reading this blog. instead it seems to me like a mixture of obsessive and pretty young fans just trying to catch your attention via telling you you’re the best, and haters. whatever, do your thing.. i just felt the need to tell you this, because i really liked your blog and often hoped it could be what it was again for me, which apparently is not the case.

  25. man…i’m never gonna be able to watch slutever again after this. can’t believe you even took your time to write this shit….but what’s even worse is the fact that i just spend valuable minutes of my ironic life on reading it. and yeah, very important issue to focus on. really. what’s next.. you go out with a sign, screaming through the streets of fucking williamsburg, protesting against ppl ironically dressing as 70’s nerds cuz it’s like “so 5 years ago”… being ironically stupid can be smart and interesting, but just being plain stupid is….guess what (!) ——> S T U P I D

    now fuck off

  26. Here’s the thing, this ‘hipster’ that negative articles talk about, they don’t exist in real life. No one sits around pondering whether or not their interests are ‘not mainstream’ enough or contriving the many levels of irony and coolness they want to have, that would be INSANE. Only sociopaths put that much forethought into their choices. The hipster constructed by articles like the one in the NYTimes and other publications doesn’t really exist. Once you get off your computer and meet some ‘hipsters’ out in the real world, you’ll discover that they’re just like you but better dressed.

    1. Exactly. The “hipster” they are referring to is essentially a caricature of what the alt community dressed and acted like in 2004. She’s referring to an imagined group of people. Walk around Williamsburg–there is definitely no one wearing ironic Justin Bieber T-shirts (as pictured in the NYT article). If people wear Bieber Ts, it’s out of a genuine appreciation for his musical talents because HE IS AMAZING, OBVIOUSLY.

      1. I’m too old to be worrying about any of this shit BUT
        yes, the idea of hipsters is sort of solipsistic. We see these people as a group, especially in the high-concentration areas but of course it’s just a bunch of individuals, each of whom have their own reasons for dressing as they do.
        BUT it does seem to me that these people bear way more of a resemblance to one another than a similar demographic used to. I’m not sure what that’s about but my idea of a ‘hipster’–which by the way is not exactly what the other lady described–is a look that has gotten out of control in the last ten years.

        Here’s why I care–I have to get dressed every morning and these people have marked off such a huge piece of territory that I feel like I have to ‘relate’ myself to it. I definitely don’t identify as a hipster (I’m 37, automatically disqualified) but I’m an artist, a former skateboarder who grew up going to shows and doing drugs and while I don’t want to look like a teenager, I also don’t want to look like a preppy or an I.T. guy. It’s hard to find clothes that suit my idea of myself, it’s like I can either look like a hipster or wear pleated khakis.

        BTW you’re selling yourself short identifying with that ‘movement.’ you have a lot to offer (beyond your hotness) and I hope you move on from all that vice magazine crap–they are what makes people sick when they think about hipsters. yes, there are some good shows but overall that scene is nauseating.

  27. sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    boring tbh.

    Why don’t people consider themselves sexy sluts rather than hipsters? The world would be a lot more happier that way.

  28. like many people here have already pointed out i think you’re being a little too harsh on her. i know next to nothing about this person, but after reading her article, instead of being offended (i’m viewed as “hipster” too) i tried to concentrate on the value of her argument. critical thinking and questioning the status quo is something that the world really needs right know, in my opinion, and maybe what she said was a bit over-the-top, but she still has a point. whether this was her aim or not is another issue, but the interesting thing that comes from this article is that she voices a bigger problem – that so many (especially young) people nowadays are too self-conscious and so afraid to have “real” opinions that they hide behind this hipster surface, too scared to acknowledge what lies underneath. in so many cases irony,parody etc has become a self-defense mechanism that might be viewed as an easy way out, an excuse for not taking any responsibilty for your own choices. and maybe such behaviour is something that should be questioned or even criticized.

    (+i’m a fan of your blog too, you go gurl!)

  29. Every time I read articles begrudging hipsters and irony I think back to an old issue of Hermenaut that argued that a large portion of what is considered ironic is really just cheesy. I don’t particularly care about hipsters or being called a hipster (I agree this is a largely outmoded term) myself. What I do have a problem with is this distinction between irony and cheese. In the end I think it all comes back to taste and unfortunately some people have poor taste, which is what leads to cultural signifiers that don’t work. Unfortunately taste is not universal, and of course, this is not merely limited to those that fit under the hipster rubric.

  30. Well I’ll admit it: I’m just not cool.

    No. really. I’m uncool.
    Not in some kind of a “post-hipster” way, I’m just a bit lame.

    And I’m ok with that, because not everyone on the planet is interesting enough to financially support themselves through publishing their opinions/observations.

    Some people, like myself, are here to read.

    Oh, and I totally buy clothes from the sale rack.
    I’m sometimes sincere (now), and my body confidence is proportional to my average body which means I often neuroticise myself into total frigidity.

    Kill myself now? Nah…

    But ease up on the “normal bashing”, it’s just not cool.

  31. I think you are cool and her article is shit but I disagree that hipster bashing is cool bashing. Cool used to be a minority, Iggy pop is cool because he fucked a load of girls, did a load of drugs and was a bad ass in an amazing band. Today with this hipster shit everyone one is cool and whats fun about that? The hole term of what cool was has gone fucked. People ride fix gear bikes because its less dangerous than skating, because there safe people who think safe like all hipsters.
    Hipsters do a lot more bashing than anyone else to be fair, take Vice pretty much everything on that site is about mocking, it wouldn’t hurt if they were more positive sometimes. It is a good site though.

    1. Yeah, I agree, I feel she had the opportunity to explore some really interesting stuff about what it means to be ‘cool’ and fake/for real today but totally missed the mark (but I honestly stopped reading after the first paragraph as I knew only too well where it was heading). Thing is, that brand of irony started in the 90s – I was a yoof then, so was she I presume, how could she not know that?

      only difference now is that alt is the new mainstream and it’s strange to see what was once a confrontational mindset being just a white middle class rite of passage (though quite a fun one it seems)

  32. I am not from your country. and obviously bored out of my mind to leave comments where I shouldn’t. A thing I have done last when I was 14. Anyway, as it happens I have been drawn into this whole beat/beatnick/hipster thing through my academic institution of choice. The debate about hipsters was already going on in the sixties, right? And back then the hipster was described in an excellent essay by Norman Mailer as a “white negro” out on the streets, looking fro raw existencialism. Looking for “it” (this “it” appears everywhere and as far as I understood it means every experience and encounter that is unexpected, exciting, dangerous, deviant etc.)
    Those people were not defined as living a singular ironic mode. And neither did they.
    Neither have the neo-hipsters invented irony or are especially cool in their celebration of society’s downfall. And I can not, whatsoever, understand how hipsters are supposed to be interesting. They are conform and passionless as far as is got to know them. However I think there are huge regional differences for what the term “hispter” is being used nowadays. If one looks on cloth only, there would be around 60% hispter among young people in korea. Me personally annoys the softwashedness of hipster around me. I despise them as much as hippies. Probably because I feel they stole my topics and made them ridicoulus by going mainstream.
    I do apoligize for this non-ironic comment and send you cynical wishes from cold germany.

    1. “Probably because I feel they stole my topics and made them ridicoulus by going mainstream.” What a hipster thing to say!

  33. I was planning on making shirts that said “hipster pride” at one point, but I’m too lazy. This article= my sentiments exactly. Thanks for writing it!!!

  34. I always thought of ‘hipster’ as in the same word category as ‘slut,’ and I seriously applaud you for reclaiming both. They’re not used interchangeably, but often in the same way. They’re both pejoratives with nebulous definitions (for my entire adolescence ‘slut’ really meant ‘someone who has fucked more people than the person calling them a slut;’ ‘hipster’ also seems to be used against anyone anywhere on the hipster spectrum, but of course only going in one direction). The world would be a kinder place if both words became neutral descriptors rather than disses. If you hate someone because you’ve made assumptions based on what they’re wearing, talking to them (i.e. treating them like a vibrant and unique human being rather than a widget off the assembly line) usually softens that up. Hipsters and hipster-bashers should spend more time talking to each other and less time writing New York Times articles about how everyone else sucks.

    That being said, reading this transported me to middle school. Seriously, I think I heard a the most popular girl in school say “No one gives a shit about you, Christy, since you obviously shop at TJ Maxx.” in the locker room after second period. There’s nothing radical or original or kind about mocking a nerd for being a nerd. So Karley, you’re a hipster and a slut, and neither of those things are bad in and of themselves. You also happen to be an asshole.

    1. And why have you assumed I am a slut? I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for 2.5 years. But since we are making assumptions about each other, I’m going to go ahead and assume you are boring and ugly. On the inside! :)

  35. dude this whole thing is kinda just like.. there are always unaware hanger onners trying to fit into any given “scene”, and then there are the people who are trying to break new ground and doing their research and trying to create something new. hipster is a broad term that has been appropriated by people who are just bogus and aren’t really on the cutting edge and still think that thick rimmed glasses are a legitimate signal with hipness.

    1. also fuck: she can’t give gifts without them being ironic… thats… sad… and weird? wow. not enough love in her life.

  36. They’re both pejoratives with nebulous definitions (for my entire adolescence ‘slut’ really meant ‘someone who has fucked more people than the person calling them a slut;’ ‘hipster’ also seems to be used against anyone anywhere on the hipster spectrum, but of course only going in one direction).

  37. What if hipsters criticize and hate other hipsters just like how self-hating Jews hate their own people? Or what if hipsters criticize and hate other hipsters out of irony?

  38. I live in Sydney, Australia, and I know a guy that fits this description perfectly: “Manifesting a nostalgia for times he never lived himself, this contemporary urban harlequin appropriates outmoded fashions (the mustache, the tiny shorts), mechanisms (fixed-gear bicycles, portable record players) and hobbies (home brewing, playing trombone).”
    In fact I know many guys who fit this description perfectly. But the difference is, as tokenistic and obscure as some of these interests or hobbies seem, the majority of people who adopt them are incredibly sincere and passionate about them. The dude who plays trombone studies it religiously at university, the guy home brews his own ginger beer does it amazingly well and sells it to a local cafe, and a majority of people who ride bikes do so for one or more of the following reasons 1) the public transport system here is a joke 2) they can’t afford a car 3) they are environmentalists (god forbid!)
    Ultimately, no matter how aloof or ironic ‘hipster’ folk try to be, there’s always a part of their lives that they genuinely care deeply about, whether it be a person, a hobby, a medium, or an interest.
    I guess for you, it’d be writing?
    However, despite this woman coming across as bitter and spiteful, your reaction to the article was embarrassing. Seriously, I haven’t seen such a hysterical display of bitchiness since high school. The quote “When I emailed Hamilton hoping that he would share in my anger, he replied only: “Did you Google image search the author? I can neo-sincerely say that anyone who has such awkward self portraits online is incapable of saying anything of value.” can basically be rephrased as “I don’t care if someone has something interesting or valid to say, I won’t listen to them unless they look cool like me!” Awesome. I wonder how many insightful, progressive opinions and observations he’s missed out on in life with that attitude?
    “Surely people by now understand that if the term “hipster” stands for anything it’s simply someone who is culturally aware, stylish, and who has an obscure knowledge of interesting music, film and art.” In my experience, as sincere as some ‘hipsters’ can be, there are many who are simply in on it to feel special, like they have something over others, and if that something is a superficial ‘awareness’ of culture, style, art, film, and music, then so be it. It’s like a little kid with their toy – the actual object is interchangeable, what matters is that it’s theirs.
    There’s always going to be variations within a stereotype, and there will always be people who fail to recognise or acknowledge those variations. You had the opportunity to write something informed and insightful on the actual topic itself, but instead you churned out an angry, abusive rant in retaliation to this woman as a writer and as a person.

  39. God, I could not agree with you more (also, I know that this post and the article it’s about are, like, at least two bazillion years-old, so basically this is just me apologizing for not having been to your site for so long…).

    Anyway, when the hipster backlash started happening (I would say it were in the fall of Aught-Six it were) the first thing I noticed was that anyone who even used the word “hipster” in any way that was even remotely correct, was themselves a hipster, and HAD to be a hipster to be able to use the word correctly in the first fucking place! So, the backlash came from a secret (or not so secret) self-loathing, and a crybaby attitude that the uncool kids down the block had gotten into Hot Hot Heat too, or whatever the fuck we were listening to the week before they were in 2006.

    Also, like you said, I always thought that being a hipster meant that you dressed cute and listened to good music? So who is SO pissed off about that??? Oh yeah, the lady looking at herself in the broken mirror, UNironically (for fuck’s sake!)…

    Also, have you ever met folks who really, actually don’t get irony? I mean, like (anecdotal example coming up, sorries) this one time I had to bartend this private party back when I was living in Dallas which I could NOT turn down ’cause the pay was $200 for maybe 4 hours of work, and $200 outside of New York is basically just under a mill (adjusted for inflation). So I was bartending this party for these Dallas yuppies who were all very harmless, at least while in someone’s home, and other than being the most unfunny people I’d ever been around, they were kinda nice and some “Desperate Housewives” hot older lady thought my tattoos were “adorable” and told me to meet her “in the garage for a minute,” where I got to fingerbang her (yes, she was 40 and got “fingerbanged”) and play with fake breasts for the first time while her husband was upstairs talking baseball stats (a COMPLETE dream come true if my meds allowed me to dream!).

    So, all in all a good evening. I made $200 and kindasortamaybe got some, but, (I mean BUT!) the weirdest thing about these people was their complete and CONSUMING lack of irony which was made clear by their music choice for the evening which was the “90’s Hits!” station on the screen that pops up when you press the MUSIC button on the giant remote for a cable TV setup.

    Meaning that as I was making gin & tonics for the yuppie elite of Dallas I was forced to endure a soundtrack of Hooties and Silverchairs and Lives and Sixpence None the Richers and all sorts of other embarrassing things that I did not know that they (the yuppies) did not themselves know was embarrassing. I just thought at this point in time, which was 2006 or 2007, even if you were someone who didn’t keep up with “pop culture” in any way, shape, or form, that you still just knew that to listen to things like this you had to at least acknowledge the silliness of it before proceeding, almost as like a show of manners or something, like, “Guys, I know this is silly but I’m putting on the 90’s Hits station for hahas!” And once the caveat of knowing but continuing anyway had been made then everyone could carry on with getting down to beersness or whatever.

    Had they known to know it would have been sort of funny (I am not an advocate for ironic humor in the least, especially when it comes to things involving listening to bad music or watching bad movies for the “sake of irony”. To me it’s like listening to a joke that takes the length of a movie to tell that’s not that fucking funny in the first place, meaning that there is absolutely NO need for it and it makes the people who do these things pretty fucking stupid because they’ve a) already admitted the object’s not-goodness by listening/watching it “ironically” and b) giving up their own valuable time to listen/watch something that they KNOW is bad therefore negating the good done by showing the knowledge of its being bad (but maybe these people have a lot more time on their hands than I do, I just don’t see the sense in wasting that amount of time on something that one has already admitted is shitty???) But as far as the silly yuppies were concerned I thought it was sort of funny if they were doing something ironically because, honestly, I thought it made them seem a lot smarter than I had given them credit. Alas, they were actually “rocking out” to said bands without any fucking clue that what they were doing was in the middle-to-highly ridiculous range of behavior.

    And this is where I think a lot of the hipster-criticism comes from, the critics think that just because one has a sense of irony it must mean that one lives and dies by being ironic… which is totally fucking absurd.

    To get back to the reason I anecdoted in the first place, the main thing that I gathered from my observation of the un-ironic yuppies was that after spending way too much time analyzing the socio-economic differences between myself and them and trying to come up with some wonderfully precise and biting conclusive statement to really make an astute judgment of them, I was confronted with the sad truth of the matter: they were just plain, simple, old-fashioned stupid.

    And this is where a sense of irony comes in to help, because it is NOT a way of life, as people who don’t get it would like to make other’s think. It’s just one more layer of knowledge. A layer that indicates that not only are you aware of what might or might not be cool, a layer of knowledge that makes you dress better than most people, knowledge that by its own definition makes you have good taste in movies, music—Hell, the Arts in general—and knowledge that has the power to make you an authority on things more exciting than whatever the rest of your graduating class in high school is up to these days (having kids and getting fat), but knowledge that most importantly shows that you have at least tried to give yourself some sort of knowledge of the current times. It doesn’t mean that one can never be serious, it just means that you might be more well-equipped to answer the question of “When is it okay to be serious?” And with this attempt at keeping abreast of the present you can (try to) avoid life-ruining, self-reputation-fucking things like posting pictures of yourself in fractured mirrors to the internet before you attack an entire set of the population… especially the cool ones.

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