I don’t get it.

Distressed hipsters: from hackneyhipsterhate.tumblr.com

What is the media’s fascination with hipsters? I nearly choked on my cup of organic green tea as I read a piece in the LA Times about a panel discussion at UCLA called “Look at This F*ing Panel: A Sociological Investigation of the Hipster.” Of course, they imported most of their panelists from New York City (which makes me wonder if anyone in Westwood ever visits Echo Park or Silverlake). Are  academics trying to figure out what it all means? I’ll tell you what it all means. Hipsters are kids who grow up in clean suburbs, move to the city, practice questionable hygiene, wear scruffy clothes, drink a lot of beer, and congregate with and/or  shag other people who look like them. Same as it’s ever been. Before hipsters, there was grunge. Before grunge, there was punk rock. Before punk rock, there were hippies. It’s the same thing.

So why all the fuss? After I read about this panel discussion at UCLA, then I stumble across an article in the Guardian (“Why Do People Hate Hipsters?“) about all the blogs that focus on hipster hating. And then…then there’s n+1 and their book entitled “What Was the Hipster?: A Sociological Investigation.” Here is their description of the text:

Who was the turn-of-the-century hipster? Who is free enough of the hipster taint to write its history without contempt or nostalgia? Why do we want to declare the neo-hipster moment over, when the hipster’s “global brand” has just reached apotheosis?

A panel of writers invited the public to join an investigation into the rise and fall of the contemporary hipster. Their debate took place at the New School University in New York City.

In addition to the panel transcript, the book includes responses from critics Jennifer Baumgardner, Patrice Evans aka The Assimilated Negro, and Margo Jefferson, as well as essays on douchebags, Hasidism versus hipsters, the Hipster Feminine, and the sneaker shop Alife Rivington.

I guess all the hipsters will run out to their local independent bookstore…oh, wait there are only 3 left…they’ll buy this book on the Internet tomorrow when it’s officially released.

In all these articles and books and panels devoted to the topic, all of these experts agree on one thing: the hipster subscribes to progressive politics. Can you imagine the momentum that could pick up if all those skinny jeans mobilized? We might have a chance.

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~ by Valerie Palmer on October 15, 2010.

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