At a rather fun party last night, I was chatting with one of Dianna's workmates, who is a cool guy. He admits that he wears "hipster" clothing. He is proud to listen to "hipster" music. But he hates the label of "hipster." We had a good chat about labels, and groups, and the all-too human need to put people into categories.
He argued that hipsters have no distinct culture, since he likes both traditional hipster music (heavy on drama, odd-sounding vocals, interesting word choices) but also Delta Blues, jazz and other styles. So you can't easily define me by my tastes, he said.
He said that "hipster" is a word that usually is usually used offensively to demean others, to bemoan other people's false or hyper-aggressive trendiness. He would never call himself a hipster. In fact, we all agreed, no one would.
But isn't that ridiculous? You can hate labels and categories, but certainly you fall into some? Why can't people recognize the sameness of many parts of your aesthetic - music, clothes, language - and use a word that, like it or not, summarizes a part of your culture?
He countered nicely. "What kind of guy are you?" he said shrewdly. "What labels do you fit into?"
He was right. I hated all labels, and any particular one wouldn't really describe me. So maybe, deep down, we are all a little hipster after all.