Unsurprisingly, the unwashed masses responded to my semi-satirical paean to high-end denim and flannel with much invective and gnashing of teeth. Equally unsurprising, the butthurt legions of the Internet lashed out with the most boring crutch insult of the 21st Century: “hipster.”
Oh no. I got called a “hipster.” Whatever shall I do? Yawn widely and get on with my day, I suppose.
I’m honestly not even sure what “hipster” means. So far as I can tell it means “someone who does not unironically watch NASCAR and listen to Florida Georgia Line.” I used to think it had something to do with being into indie rock, which I hate, but “hipster” is the go-to insult for anyone whose jimmies have been rustled by something I’ve written, so I guess I’m a hipster.
I’d venture a guess that roughly half to two-thirds of what people point and sputter “hipster!” at these days is just stuff guys were into 50 years ago.
Oh well. There are way worse things to be. Truth told, I think most of what “hipsters” get derided for is pretty cool. Welding your own bike frame? Bet you haven’t done anything that manly all day. Obsessing over quality beer? Yes, we’d all be much better off in a world where Sam Adams was the most top-shelf suds available. Repurposing old, obsolete objects into new and useful products? Beats the heck out of throwing things into the garbage and shows some creativity to boot. Collecting records? Hell, I have a semi-impressive record collection, because I like music and it just sounds better that way. I’m not trying to be a pretentious dick, I’m trying to enjoy Houses of the Holy the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Sure, it’s not mudding in a Jeep or wild boar hunting, but so what? Good on you if you’re into that. I’m not.
I’d venture a guess that roughly half to two-thirds of what people point and sputter “hipster!” at these days is just stuff guys were into 50 years ago. I go to the barber every Friday. So did my grandfather, the only man my father, a 6’2” retired ironworker, was scared of. Pop also collected country records in the ’70s and boy howdy, was that a nice little bit of musical history to commandeer once I was old enough to appreciate such things.
In fact, if you look at history, a lot of great men, men you probably admire, have interests or passions that could get them labeled as “hipsters” today. Teddy Roosevelt? The regular army was too mainstream, so he started his own. It’s kind of obscure and you’ve probably never heard of it. Abraham Lincoln? We can start with the beard and continue with the fact that he was a member of a fringe political movement. Thomas Jefferson didn’t like the Bible, so he made his own. Christopher Columbus is the original gentrifier. Mozart? Just go watch the movie Amadeus for confirmation. Tom Selleck? That mustache, bro.
Our 26th president and some of his hipster friends.
My point isn’t that these guys are Great Hipsters of History. My point is that “hipster” is a goofy term Gavin McInnes revived in the nineties to sell ad space in VICE. Like all other cultural phenomenon on the fringes, it eventually trickled down to Wal-Mart (OK, Target). Now you don’t have to live anywhere near a city to think you know what a hipster is, and the definition of the word just so happens to coincide with things you don’t like.
None of this should be read as a defense of man buns, guys in girl jeans, “clever” tattoos, billowy scarves or dickheads who lecture you about how your taste in everything is awful. I hate all of that stuff too. So much so that every time I walk through Silver Lake I’m so filled with rage that I can’t stop shaking for days. But I—probably like you— don’t hate it because it’s “hipster.” I hate it because it’s unmanly and for the most part, due to a series of complex evolutionary and sociological reasons not worth going into here, guys don’t like it when other guys don’t act manly. And really, what’s unmanly about having a closet full of flannel shirts, curing your own meat and making bacon-infused vodka? Not a damn thing, actually.
So what’s really the complaint? That someone like this guy quite possibly made fun of you in high school for not being as “with it” as he is? Who cares? I bet he’s embarrassed about doing it and over the constant jokes about his haircut he got from guys who you remind him of. I cringe when he calls you a “brodude” just as hard as I cringe when you call him a “hipster.” High school is over and I’m way more concerned with whether or not people are doing cool shit with their lives and are fun to drink with. If they have a nice haircut, all the better, but it’s not the price of admission.