Life
by Lance Pauker on November 18, 2012

Published yesterday, this is an article from Princeton University Assistant Professor Christy Wampole lamenting about the oft-egregious hipster life outlook. As her speciality is primarily 20th- and 21st-century French and Italian literature and thought, it's not too surprising that she's just about had it with the hipsters–take a second, and think about the sorts of people who'd take those types of classes. 

The hipster haunts every city street and university town. Manifesting a nostalgia for times he never lived himself, this contemporary urban harlequin appropriates outmoded fashions (the mustache, the tiny shorts), mechanisms (fixed-gear bicycles, portable record players) and hobbies (home brewing, playing trombone). He harvests awkwardness and self-consciousness.

This is quite possibly describing Ron Swanson's evil little brother who got overshadowed by his Ronny-boy's alpha-dog fame, and resolved to take it out on the family by having them sink $250,000 into a University education guaranteed to bring a healthy career of unemployment. 

Irony is the most self-defensive mode, as it allows a person to dodge responsibility for his or her choices, aesthetic and otherwise. To live ironically is to hide in public.

…the nostalgia cycles have become so short that we even try to inject the present moment with sentimentality, for example, by using certain digital filters to “pre-wash” photos with an aura of historicity. Nostalgia needs time. One cannot accelerate meaningful remembrance.

The latter paragraph is obviously instagram 101. Those who prescribe to the species of hipsterism often wish to immortalize the now by immortalizing as the then, giving it some sort of (contrived) cultural resonance. Of course, the only real purpose of doing so is for the hipster to be able to organically use the phrase “cultural resonance” in a sentence. Of course, what I just did brings us back to the first point, that irony is self-defensive. Fuck. 

While we have gained some skill sets (multitasking, technological savvy), other skills have suffered: the art of conversation, the art of looking at people, the art of being seen, the art of being present. Our conduct is no longer governed by subtlety, finesse, grace and attention, all qualities more esteemed in earlier decades. Inwardness and narcissism now hold sway.

Thinking were awesome is far and away our biggest generational flaw–it's no secret that we assume we deserve x without putting in y, and then spend the rest of the time reflexively analyzing why that shit did or did not happen.

This is not specific to the hipster species, but is a glaring shortcoming that's strangely embraced. “The art of being present” is pathetically lacking amongst all of us–the next time something spontaneously incredible is happening, observe the percentage of people experiencing it through a screen. 

Obviously, hipsters (male or female) produce a distinct irritation in me, one that until recently I could not explain.

Nice. 

If life has become merely a clutter of kitsch objects, an endless series of sarcastic jokes and pop references, a competition to see who can care the least (or, at minimum, a performance of such a competition), it seems we’ve made a collective misstep. Could this be the cause of our emptiness and existential malaise? Or a symptom?

Are skinny jeans not the cause? How are skinny jeans not the cause?

do your clothes refer to something else or only to themselves? Do you attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or ugly? In other words, is your style an anti-style? The most important question: How would it feel to change yourself quietly, offline, without public display, from within?

Finally, we have the anti-mantra. Perhaps the most ironic of all of hipsterdome, the forging of collective interests that are supposed to connote individualism. I.e, if you were really your own person, why do you only drink PBR? Or exclusively listen to Bon Iver and The XX? It's a strange form of alternativism, and it's likely gone wrong somewhere. This, of course, is the primary reason why hipsters are so polarizing. The constant mindfuck, a game of back-and-forth ping pong that isn't so much redeeming as it's just plain annoying.

Time for a Budweiser. 

[H/T: Thought Catalog]

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