Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Man Returns... Part IIa (continued, shortened)

I have been operating with my three-part hipster classifying system ever since I wrote the previous post.

It's not perfect...
but it's really good.
Keep in mind that what I'm interested in is how people relate to their cultural inheritance.

The three levels of hipster:

Level 1: Original hippies, beatniks, and other early counter-cultural movements

Level 2: The late nineties hipster we have come to know so well, the obscure band-loving, ironic, "vintage" wearing, postmodern aesthetes of various stripes.

Level 3: Completely sincere youth with no cultural allegiances, but aesthetically sympathetic to old American and European cultures.

Type 1 is fading out. They're in control now, and pulling cultural (and monetary) strings. They intentionally left their culture behind for various reasons that I cannot explain right now. They were, however, completely sincere about what they were doing, and despite some brain damage and some very weird ideas about religion, they tend to be great people to hang around. Their domain is social issues. That is where they are most active.
Type 2 is still going on strong. Sometimes they are sons and daughters of the type 1 hipster, but more often they are the children of the yuppie-hippie fusion (yuppie monetary values, hippie social values) that some have named the Bobo (the Bohemian Bourgeoisie). They, again, are the products of the United States school system. They have only passing, wikipedia-like knowledge of history and culture before their time. I could go on and on about them, but I shan't. You know of whom I speak. Their domain is the arts--mostly notably music. Performing art is their specialty, though--but installment art is another place to watch them gather.
Type 3 is on the rise, mostly in the food and drink industry. If the performing arts is the domain of the type 2 hipster, then crafts is the domain of the type 3 hipster. Now, these hipsters can often still be incredibly obnoxious (think Portlandia... "is it local?") but there are many (Mast Bros. Chocolate, for instance) that although they are really unnecessarily, unhelpfully obsessive about certain things (like whether a food is "organic" or "local", even though those denominations rarely indicate a real difference in quality), most of them really like food. Not because it's 'hip,' like Crystal Castles is hip (because it's bad. Crystal Castles is bad. Type 2 hipsters love it because they can perform having better taste than you), but because good food is actually really good. Drinks are that way, as well, and in the craft beer movement, you find a lot of people that you would immediately categorize as "hipsters," but really they're just interested in making delicious things. Craftsmen and women as well, are making a come back. These hipsters (although they may have iPads), really are reacting against the ironic, detached, performative aesthetic of their type 2 peers.

Questions? Put them in the comments section.

I'd be happy to talk more about this, but I'd like to move on.

More importantly, two of my good friends just started blogs! Check them out at:


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