What is a Hipster?

July 2, 2013

hipster 2_web

I have been accused of being one. I have been asked what they are. And at the end of the day I have no fucking clue how to respond.

 A Hipster, as defined by Urban Dictionary is as follows:

Referring to young people of around 18-30 years of age, who drink cheap beer, listen to on-the-cusp famous musicians, and sport thrifted clothing; someone who is smart enough to regurgitate facts they Googled about philosophy, music, politics, art, etc. with you all day long, but not smart enough to see how big of a tool he or she is

They typically flock to any gentrified neighborhood, which explains why there is such a big population of them in neighborhoods like Woodbridge, Midtown— and the occasional downtown stray.

You can recognize an approaching Hipster if they are wearing a beanie, glasses that contain no prescription lenses and look like the bastard offspring of a hobo and a rocker.

After intense investigative research, by which I mean conducting observational research through sitting at local cafes and wandering around Midtown, I have concluded that defining a Hipster is akin to the Stewart maxim.

What is the Stewart maxim, you ask? U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Steward, in his concurring opinion from Jacobellis v Ohio, a 1964 case about obscenity and free speech, said of pornography:   

“… under the First and Fourteenth Amendments criminal laws in this area are constitutionally limited to hard-core pornography. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it …” 

Also, Hipsters are a pain in the ass. Ask someone if they are afflicted with this malaise and they will most likely deny it. However, if following this denial they putting an LP on a record player while wearing boots with shorts, then your suspicions will indeed be correct.

“You can’t really define a Hipster,” claimed Nietzsche, “For this in itself would be classifying them into a certain category, which goes against their inherent dislike for being categorized.”

So I am faced with an existential dilemma that none of the great philosophers can help me overcome: Am I a Hipster?

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  • kayak1

    Love this editorial. The writer has combined humor with brilliance!

  • Cerena

    I read it all the way through – I’m a hipster!!!

  • some hipster

    Hipsters are people who give a shit about the music they listen to, the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the work they do, and the places they live. There are far too many people in the world who don’t give a shit about these things; why don’t you focus your wit and perceptual ability upon outing these assholes, and leave the harmless assholes alone?

  • Deliboy

    Good blog! I finished it too, but I am too old by definition to be one.

  • dipster

    Seems like a lot of flimsy excuses for hating on people you don’t know. Maybe your next article should be “What is Insight?”.

  • ugh!!!”

    they are the unholy spawn of hippies and art school losers.

  • Xavier

    They’re a bunch of trust fund babies who live in areas where they maintain a false sense of security. They also are classist and pretty much racist….although they never will admit it.

  • brass

    A previous perspective; Kerouacs Hipsters Walking

    The “crystallizing” word, of course, was “beat,” and it originated, as Holmes recalls in a later essay “The Name of the Game” in “the middle of a long, intense, only half-serious conversation” between Jack Kerouac and Holmes in November l948. Holmes had been goading Kerouac to describe “the peculiar quality of mind” projected by “the young hipsters of Times Square” as they walked down the street—“watchful, catlike, inquisitive, close to the buildings, in the street but not of it”—and Kerouac responded

    “It’s a sort of furtiveness. . . . Like we were a generation of furtives. You know, with an inner knowledge there’s no use flaunting on that level, the level of the‘public,’ a kind of beatness—I mean, being right down to it, to ourselves, because we all really know where we are—and a weariness with all the forms, all the conventions of the world. . . . It’s something like that. So I guess you might say we’re a beat generation.”

    Holmes himself elaborates, though no less elusively than Kerouac, on “beatness” or “being beat”:

    John Clellon Holmes – “Philosophy of the Beat generation”
    Essay – “The Name of the Game “ 1965

  • Eric

    Why is it an issue if they are gay or straight?

  • Randy Burbach

    We just used to call them poseurs

  • buzzy

    They’re the most fun group to beat up outside of bars.

  • Anon

    Somerville, MA is the Hipster Capital of the World. A Hipster is someone who’s never owned an umbrella or a raincoat their entire life. In other words, a genius in their own shower…

  • Mr. Anybody

    Anon you couldn’t be more right about Somerville. Just head on down to PA’s Lounge or really anywhere in Union Sq. and there they will be standing across the sidewalk like a labyrinth of obliviousness, having some inane conversation about something they “believe in” while you attempt to get through their ocean on caring deeply because you actually have someplace to be. Seriously listening to a “hipsters” conversation is much like if the writers of a Frontline article decided to created your conversation about that time that guy with the Rainbow Brite shirt whipped out his dick at the pub and it was gross….all the conviction with none of the substance. Rrrarg RRarg I’m old so cast your judgements on me freely…they’re probably true.

    Or is that me just not giving a shit because “There are far too many people in the world who don’t give a shit about these things”? IM sure the people fighting in the streets of Egypt ( for example but we could also say anywhere really ) care little about the music they listen too, the food they eat and the clothes they wear….LAMEST WAR CRY OF YOUTH TO DATE!!! It’s no wonder there is so much derision toward that life choice ( yeah..Life choice…said it)…..your harmlessness…it…it sickens me. What the hell happened to “die when you can do no more damage”!!?…but what’s worse is the self absorption to actually think that no one else cares as much. We do…we just dont need a gold star on our fridge for it

  • Mark Giza Sr.

    That’s what I thought

  • Mark Giza Sr.

    Its someone who hangs with masons but isn’t really one. But tries to fit in anyways

  • RoStudios

    Acually Hipsters, true Hipsters, are more for the Neo-Classic Dapper. The old school vest, ties, newsboy/car caps, some have turned-up mustaches, full beards.

  • br0

    I could say the same about you

  • sam

    fuck you

  • sixguinness

    A hipster reminds me of today’s 2D contemporary art. Both are nothing more than recycled and regurgitated versions of what’s already been done. The irony is that though each [hipster] thinks of him or herself as unique they all pretty much look the same, kind of like Hasidic clones.

  • leslie hawboldt

    Hi can I suck your cock

  • leslie hawboldt

    Can I suck on your cock yes talk to me some one

  • SheriBomb

    But do they have a sense of humor?