Here’s someone I thought was a “hipster” at the American Apparel protest with a sign, “no more hipster scum.”
I would like to reclaim the term and adopt all the angry young hipsters in my neighborhood. A hipster is not someone who lives in mid-town, the Marina, or the Miracle Mile (depending on your city). Hipsters don’t listen to Britney Spears. They certainly don’t wear Daisy Dukes AND snort crack. If hipsters are snorting crack, they’re doing it in their pajamas before heading out to a Flaming Lips concert. They’re on their way to a Meth problem, not business school. And they don’t want their neighborhood to resemble a shopping mall.
I’ve often been referred to as a hipster, or an aging hipster, because I haven’t done much in the way of growing up, i.e. , holding down a job, getting married (or carrying on a successful relationship), And because 60's style Laural Canyon clothing. But I like hipsters. Recently the word hipster is starting to take on new meaning, and I want to take it back.
If, like me, you were born between 1961 and 1977, and you still think Teenage Riot by Sonic Youth is THE perfect album, then you are a member of Generation X. You probably remember the kids in college wearing tie-dyes, sitting cross-legged on top of the table in the cafe reading Baba Ram Dass, and listening to “classic rock.” Those kids wanted to be part of an earlier generation, the boomer generation, but they were too late. Their generation came and went right about the time they were born. They rejected the sullen individuality of Gen X.
Well, those twenty-somethings that we call hipsters, they are that version of us, our version of the twenty-year-old wearing a tie-dye in 1990. Hipsters are Generation X, but they were born too late. Hipsters reject being called hipsters because they don’t like to be grouped. To assign a collective consciousness is an assault on individuality. But hipsters don’t want to be millennials or “Generation Y.” And who can blame them? Who would want to be part of a generation that likes being told what music to listen to? Who would choose Britney Spears over Paul Weller?
Here are some traits of Generation X, shared by hipsters:
More than anything we hate to be marketed to, that’s why our hero appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone wearing a t-shirt that said Corporate Magazines Still Suck. We’re suspicious of corporate America (with good reason). We don’t like to join groups. We usually don’t like anything once it’s become popular (which is a dumb and lame way of looking at the world, but no cohort is perfect). We don’t like to spend a lot of money on clothes that make us look like everybody else. We shop in thrift stores or, if we’re rich, we buy expensive clothes that look like they were bought in thrift stores. We listen to music that was created by an artist, as opposed to music that is created by a marketing team and assigned to the next hot young vacuum. We take huge pleasure in finding great art no one’s heard of before.
The girl in this video singing about the Hipster Bitch, is herself the hipster. The boy protesting the chain-store moving onto Valencia Street is a hipster. We shouldn’t let “hipster” (or “aging hipster”) become a bad word the way “liberal” became a bad word. It’s time we embrace the term, though perhaps doing so would be too much like joining a group, or starting a movement.