There’s been a lot of bad press about hipsters lately. The funny thing is the only people that hipsters hate more then anti-hipsters are hipsters.
As Carl Wilson notes,
But for all its internal conformism it’s still a mode of flamboyant aesthetic display and that still makes a lot of people uncomfortable and resentful in itself. At its best the hipster is the new Dandy, the semi-subversive who overloads the system by over-subscribing to it (conspicuously consuming) and yet undermines it by seeming as if the real source of their cooperation is that they can’t take the system seriously enough to bother to oppose it.
Is it this supposed apathy that is the reason hipsters are facing the backlash that Russell Smith talks about in this Globe & Mail article!? ‘Cause let’s face it, lambasting the “youth of today” for not being sufficiently engaged in mainstream culture and politics is not exactly revolutionary. Wilson in critiquing the argument — though he is unconcerned with defending “hipsters” — points to the blog Boredom is Always Counter-Revolutionary that highlights, “The revelation that young people dress similarly and seem apathetic and politically or morally vacuous is both outmoded and bogus.” According to Sam, the pushback against “hipsters” specifically can be seen to go back to at least 1957 but, c’mon, criticism of youth culture probably goes back as far as youth culture can be said to exist.
Further, as several critics of hipster-critics like to mention, a focus on the overtly hedonistic behaviours or the visual asthetic of the nebulous hipster subculture seems to miss many of the social realities. Sam notes, “despite the supposed political apathy of the hipster, neither article investigates American Apparel’s seemingly successful project of combining ethical manufacturing and mass production.” While Dov Charney’s company might not be in the strongest position currently, people are looking to make choices that better align with their beliefs. Corporate social responsibility cover or hyper-hypocrite company? Is there a difference? Does it even matter?
“The real novelty of the hipster identity is self-referentiality and irony.” Meh…