Entry #11

Punx is Hipsters

    The word “hipster” means exactly nothing. Tired as I might be of explaining this, I am more tired of hearing the word. Here is the evolution of safe hate speech as I see it. Throughout the nineties, when a person saw someone else who looked or dressed differently, they would call that person a “faggot”. In the early 2000’s, the word became “Emo”. And for the past ten years we have the most loosely defined derogatory term of them all: “hipster”.

    There are two school’s of hipster haters. The normaloid and the self loathing hipster. The normaloid has no understanding of and is therefore threatened by anything outside of the mainstream, while the self loathing hipster is made up of all of the subcultures of the world.

    The normaloid hater of hipsters is evidence of how meaningless the word has become. For a reference to the underground to reach the lips of the mainstream it must first be diluted through a long journey of misinterpretation. Normaloids hate hipsters in much the same way they hate anything that they don’t understand. There is an episode of The Office in which Dwight refers to Jim as a “hipster jock.” To me, this was the funniest moment of the entire series. A perfect depiction of how over- and misused the word hipster has become.

    The self loathing hipster is any member of a subculture or underground scene, who claims to hate hipsters. This breed plays ignorant to the fact that hipsterdom defines all underground culture. This is why people get away with using the word. If need be, it can always be followed up by a re-qualification- “Oh, I don’t hate you. I just hate those kind of hipsters...” Whatever happened to the days of being direct? What happened to the days of stepping up and making real enemies? People used to say things like, “I hate skinheads.” “I hate mods.” “I hate greasers.” “I hate goths.” “I hate crusties.” This kind of speech is now less common because non committal cowards have been rescued by the word hipster.

    At a certain point, a thinking person realizes that there is social consequence to making blanket statements about a specific group of people. Eventually they will realize that their hate-claim might implicate people that they know or like. It becomes uncomfortable to claim hatred for a group of people when you realize that you will likely find yourself in the company of people who fit that description. In more drastic scenarios, one might actually have to raise their fists. But because the word hipster is so loosely defined, it affords people the luxury of claiming hate without the risk of confrontation.

    Unfortunately, I defy most of my friends by saying so, but come on, get over this stupid meaningless word. Are we really going to stay trapped in this mindset of judging strangers by their appearances? Why are punks of all people, wasting their breath bashing hipsters? Whatever happened to hating cops and politicians?

    If you research the word hipster the most common descriptions you will find are, tight pants and a tendency towards the underground and obscure. After four years of high school and many years beyond, I can tell you that I could go the rest of my life without ever again hearing the phrase: “Nice pants, faggot!” Personally, I can do without the word “faggot”, it’s not in my vocabulary. But at least there was the slightest bit of confrontation and conviction in it. It was a very direct assault of ignorance. The word hipster is totally safe. Everyone and no one is a hipster. If you use the word, you will rarely be met with any resistance. Why? Because everyone uses the word and all of the people who use it have convinced themselves that the word doesn’t apply to themselves or their friends. Sorry, it does.

    I have been hatefully called a hipster before. Whether you know it or not, so have all of you. I was called a hipster while walking into a bar. Why? Because I don’t look like a total normaloid but my appearance cannot be easily associated with any specific subculture or tribal division. After I was called a hipster, I followed the name caller out of the bar and confronted him. I didn’t name call back. I didn’t throw any punches. I simply posed the question: “What is a hipster?”. I repeated the question over and over again as my accuser fumbled around unable to produce a definition.

    Hipster is expired. I’m not saying we have to go back to the days of “faggot” but hey, let’s move on. Actually, I have a better idea. If we cannot resist the urge to judge and name call strangers, let’s judge them on behavior that actually impacts the world around us. Hows about hating thieves, liars, bullies, sociopaths, racists, sexists, rapists, and murderers. Or... just carry on basing your hatred for strangers on important things, like the frames of their glasses.

    For more of my rantings about the word hipster, check out this letter I wrote in response to an article in The Phoenix a while back:http://thephoenix.com/boston/life/121181-look-at-this-fucking-hipster-wedding/