In Defense of Hipsters?
Last night, I was dragged by my far thinner, more stylish, more trend-conscious sister into Urban Outfitters. These Outfitters, cleverly named as a depot at which you'd gear yourself up for an expedition through uncharted territory (except it's a city), comprise a habitat for the much maligned Hipster: a young person for whom anachronistic bad taste is akin to those two stone tablets we've all heard so much about.
As we entered, with two kids in tow, we were hailed briefly, dutifully, by a vision of Today's Nonconformist Youth: of medium height, relatively slouchy as he carefully folded some t-shirts at a table, cropped hair encircling his head except for a wildly curly blond crown, round glasses reminicent of Rick Moranis, or maybe even Mary Gross, gray v-neck t-shirt dipping low over his sternum, exposing his somewhat abundant chest hair, turquoise cardigan hugging him from behind, loosely flapping at both sides like deboned wings, skinny denim of cornflower blue smothering both legs, as he ambled on slightly scuffed white Kaepas, attending to the myriad, eternal loose ends of retail.
Meanwhile, perusing the proffered material delicacies, my ever-burgeoning middle-aged cynicism, the dim view of anything done by younger folk that is de rigeur among my peers, reared up again and again, spewing its sarcasm and disgust at the USB turntable, the rack of unorganized LPs, with Miles Davis mixed in with The National mingling with Florence and the Machine touching the Grateful Dead next to Bon Iver, the mannequin bedecked with an angora vest in camel with a fluorescent orange skinny belt, the sunglasses seemingly framed by white plastic truck tires, the overuse of seed beads, the t-shirts flaunting terrible beer.
Incomprehensible at first, I thought on it later: what are these weird bird kids getting at, really? They're pushing away the past's definition of what looks good, while simultaneously embracing the most gauche parts of it. If we find it proper or decent, they spurn it, trying to carve their own niche, trying to do something different, goddamnit, despite our scorn. And that is the province and right of the young, and will remain so. This now-maturing crop of humans, having accepted that there is nothing new under the sun, painstakingly curates tiny, horrible remembrances of our past failures to produce the sublime.
So just because these "hipsters" are better at it, more pretentious, more repugnant in their style, doesn't mean we should despise them. They attempt, as we all do, to retread the same old shit, and they're not afraid to be boldly tacky. That, I believe, is worth respect.
"People try to put us down." - Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle, Moon