8.08.2008

 

Why we hate us (and by us I mean hipsters)

In the barrage of 1968-themed stories that several media outlets have been doing this year (Question #1: Since when is the fortieth anniversary an important anniversary?), the tone has generally gone from adulatory to messianic. Which is why it was refreshing to see/hear a story about how the 60's also messed things up royally - they are Why We Hate Us. I'm sure these stories are out there - for one thing, it's the go-to stance for conservatives that run out of ideas. But I don't read them, because they are usually completely hackneyed. This story, however seemed to make a more substantial claim. Reading between the lines, Dick Meyer says "Yes, the 60's happened for a reason. The racism, and homophobia, and puritanism, and sexism, and arbitrary restrictions of all types - they all were sitting ducks for a cultural movement that extolled freedom and that's for the better. But when "existential freedom" meets the real world in transforms into "consumer choices" and every aspect of our lives, including the most intimate and the most profound becomes banalized and commodified. The personality this atmosphere creates isn't pretty." Just listen to the story, I'm butchering it a bit!

Also - Hipsters, the end of Western Civilization? Discuss. Thesis appears to be: From the Bohemians through the Beats, the Hippies and the Punks, countercultures sought to subvert a repressive mainstream. But in the last decade(s), as the mainstream has become utterly permissive, those wanting to keep a facade of rebellion are stuck reenacting a pastiche of formally-relevant subcultural styles in a kind of pathetic grotesque. Probably the closest we have to a real subversive subculture these days isn't the vaguely lefty, stuck in the past hipster but the massive culture that surrounds evangelical youth. But that culture is just too lame to count.

[Addendum: A good parlor game might be looking through the Hipster article and checking who's the most hipster in the room without being a hipster at all. I would actually be hard to beat.

Thought two: Hipsters in this definition seem like a more explicitly cultural Bobo. Perhaps hipsters grow up to be Bobos?]

Comments:
This geek is thoroughly confused and doesn't care.
 
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