Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why we are all hipsters deep down

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.

1 comment:

shesthesheriff said...

You fell for classic hipster countermeasures.

They all have one Robert Johnson CD and the Miles Davis records Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew sandwiched in between days upon painful days of tracks by Johanna Newsome and Iron and Wine.

I don't hate hipsters-they are just trying to figure their lives out like everyone else, they are just doing it way, way more annoyingly than they should be. Very obviously, and in plain sight of everyone.

OK I do hate hipsters.