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SATURDAY, MAY 28, 2016
 
After reading a fantastic article in Adbusters about the hispter scene - Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization, a friend of mine and I got to talking about the whole culture trend, and our frustrations with the entire idea. As the article points out, and as the two of us have come to realize - Hipsters hate being called hipsters. Some go so far as to say they are not hipsters but scenesters, a term which makes me feel far older than my age as I cannot even begin to try figuring out what that term means. Someone who lives for the scenes? Whenever I think of that term my mind wanders to a particular episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry replies with hilarious delivery "Oh it's a scene, man..."

Without entering into a rant about hipsters - frankly rants about hipsters are becoming just as common rants abotu emos, I'm more interested in a few aspects that arose out of the discussion I had with my friend. The first being - why are people hipsters? To me, the idea of hipster originated this way:

Two friends meet - Jack and Jill. They're both bored, and tired of the same ol' stuff. They try something new - something people their age rarely do. They head off to an Art show. Afterall, who goes to art shows, right?

They find themselves looking at some art - it's nothing particularly moving, but they're getting a kick out of being two young people who are with it - cultured even. That is until they happen upon some others their age. One of those "some others" is going so far as to even talking about the artwork. They don't know much of what he's saying, but they hear a few key words. Suddenly, this is looking pretty cool. Not to be out done they return home, check out a few articles about Wikipedia (after, of course having written a note about going to an art show on Facebook). They gloss over the articles, only noting the bold worlds, and small similarities between this and that. In short they gather enough knowledge to have a superficial conversation about art.

The next weekend, they're back at the gallery. This time a few friends are there - friends who happened upon the Facebook note which mentioned the art gallery. Jack and Jill get a shot at now looking pretty smart and cultured as they drop the few key words they learned.

The process is then repeated as they begin frequenting more "cultured" events, and then blogging about it in coffee shops.

The short version is simply: It stems from the competitive desire to be seen as more cultured than the average person. When the surrounding people become others with the very same desire, it then grows into wanting to look more cultured to the point of absurdity. The key here is that it's rooted in appearance and not actually being that way.

This then leads me to the next thing I noticed: Competitive activism. Many like to argue that a good deed is better when it goes unmentioned. But tshirts, buttons, bumper stickers, and other forms of call-to-actions are forms of advertising one's own activism. Case and point with Che Gueverra shirts. To not own one is to make a statement - that you are part of the machine, part of the unconscious drones. A sheeple. To not own one, is to advertise that you are not a revolutionist, that you know nothing about it, that you are simply a consumerist.

You could claim that there's nothing wrong with this kind of advertisment of one's own activism - as the ends justify the means. There's a greater good being done. I guess it's the hypocrisy that gets me though, when these very people who are advertising their own activism as a means of promotiong their personal righteousness, get on the case of a large multi-million dollar corporation which also wants to get a little good PR going for it's charitable deeds.

The argument I usually hear against this is usually that those companies can do a lot more than they are. I'm not an accountant for a large company so I can't really say for sure, but these companies are already dealing with sums of money that individuals can't quite match, and companies do have to answer to boards, and investors - investors who do want to see their money come back with a return. And at that, I can only then refer to you what I wrote on Greed a while back: What's So Bad About Greed?.
Comments

Alamir

Alamir

I'd rather have people wear Che Gueverra shirts, Organic clothes, Hemp shoes and keffiyehs than wear something which has no meaning. Because I've learnt that at some point someone will ask "Who's that guy on your shirt?" and people will start getting more informed. Or it can give me a great conversation starter by skipping the small talk by asking something that seems trivial, like "So you like Gueverra?" and leading the conversation to an interesting debate about Banana Republics. Even the store "Banana Republic" gives me an excuse to talk about it when no one wants to hear it.

You tackle the question about hypocrisy, but if you're a socialist then multi-corporations should be giving more. And if someone wants to wear a Lance Armstrong bracelet to say they support cancer victims then great.

I personally don't like to wear any of those new attires that support a cause, but I like seeing others do it. I'd rather write about my opinion on such issues but I guess not everyone wants to be a writer.

The only scary part is when one of these fads will turn out to be anti-society, like say it became cool to wear a "Charles Manson" t-shirt. Hopefully, people will be vocal enough against it and it will never become too popular. You used the term "sheeple," I say if they exist and they're inevitable (everyone's a sheeple at some point) then it's better to make sure those people will keep being hippie and not controversial.



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