You hear the rumblings in seedy bars and upscale coffee shops. The whispers are peppered throughout liberal blogs and conservative talk shows. They laugh about it on the top floor of Wall Street skyscrapers, celebrate it in almost-gentrified underpasses and refuse to accept it in artisanal pickle shops where the clientele only reads zines, only shops local and only goes to church if the choir has a theremin.
But the people across this great nation all know: The hipster is dead.
We lived through what social scientists and social butterflies call the Great Hipster Boom (September 12, 2001 to, well, now). The GHB was a time of great transition in this country: highs and lows, good times and bad times, Obama and Bush. We experimented with MeltKraft, Vampire Weekend and the War On Terror. Big beards, big farms, big oil, big plaid, big vape, big concerts, Big Pharma, big Portland, big bowties, big hipsters.
Having assessed the situation, here are the parts of the GHB we need to keep (in mason jars), and here’s what we can leave behind (in boxes of old polaroids).
In other words, here are the hipster trends they (we) did right, and trends they (we) did wrong.
1. Keep: wood
There are a million and one things to criticize about hipster culture, but when it comes to furniture of the wood variety, they really hit this one out of the vintage ballpark.
If you told me you built (actually built) your table, or chairs, or shelves, or toothbrush, my instinct would be to hate you. But honestly, that would just be out of pure, undiluted, crystal jealousy. Your apartment probably looks awesome as sh*t. And just on a sexual level, woodworking is so hot that I could just die and go straight to wood-furnished sex heaven (the best heaven).
I wish I could build stuff out of wood. I wish I knew one thing about wood: how to collect it, how to polish it, how to cut it, how to stick it all together. I don’t even know wood vocabulary. F*ck! I need to learn how to “do” wood.
Can you imagine if I built my bed? Out of WOOD. My girlfriend would probably explode from the sexual energy. Jesus, why don’t I know anything about woodworking? Was my dad asleep for 20 years? Hipsters win this round, Pops.
2. Lose: all of the music
There are about three hipster bands that will stand the test of time. Three bands that transcend the galaxy of summery, rock-lite, synth-infused tunes and actually said something about who we were and where we thought we were going. But really, most of the repetitive, hipster-alt music is going to be looked back on as a strange and embarrassing cultural bedfellow, most of it nostaligized and misunderestimated.
Of course, in high school, you like what you like because you’re becoming a person (no harm, no foul). But when you wake up in Bushwick, you’re 33 years old, and you’re earnestly pumping Animal Collective through your Beats, you have to take a good long look in the mirror you picked up off the street and ask yourself, “Am I the problem?”
3. Keep: scruffy little dogs with scruffy little beards
The only antidote to seeing two people made out of $600 worth of denim is if attached to their wrists is a rope ($65) that leads my eyes down to a scruffy little puppy with a cute little beard! Like a little old man! Like a sweet, petite sailor, wizened with old age but boyed by the wisdom of a thousand sea-filled dog days! Like a tiny wizard who, sick of the trappings of human life, morphed himself as to live a life of ease as a grey baby-dog! Like a pile of fur who has a scrappy personality! Aw.
(What would you name your scruffy hipster dog? To my hordes of Internet fans: Reply in the comments, and I will personally give you a letter grade. You are all the best!)
4. Lose: photography
You’re not an artist because you bought a camera. And you’re certainly not a photographer because your picture is A. close to something, B. filtered or C. not of a person. I am an ally of the art of photography, but I am a vehement opponent of “performing photographer.”
It’s good to have hobbies, but to parade your hobby around as a craft at every loft party downtown is as unbecoming as it is toxically obnoxious.
When you were in college and bought a Polaroid, you were forgiven because you were 20. But, my friends, just because you can afford something doesn’t mean you have to buy it.
5. Keep: craft beer
This one should incite the ire of my hordes of Internet fans, to which I say, “Bring it on you lonely jerks.” You’re all the worst.
The fact of the matter is craft beers are amazing, and our lives are better because of them. Every genius who devotes his or her life to designing delicious, inventive and exciting beer is a local hero.
Think of all the times you didn’t have to drink Miller Lite, Budweiser or Stella. You got to choose from a bevy of lovingly-made beverages, of which the idea isn’t just to sell, sell, sell, but to craft something worth buying.
If the craft-beer trend bothers you, you probably don’t drink beer or have a masculinity complex that is suffocating you. Thanks to the good craft beer people, you don’t have to drink crap at bars, picnics or assorted porches this summer. You can drink beers that are described with words like aromatic, autumnal, zippy or coffee-ish.
Do you know how good your f*cking life is?
6. Lose: alternative parenting
Hipster, you are an adult now. How do I know? The kid you’re holding (the one with the little fedora named “Byron”) gives it away.
Stop trying to stick it to the small town you grew up in, and take care of your kid. You are a parent now, not an art project or a political Facebook post. You have responsibilities. So work hard to provide a nice place to raise your child, teach him or her manners, and teach him or her to respect all people.
Despite what the inspirational poster told you in the fifth grade, sometimes being different is annoying as f*ck. (Also, look around your co-op; you’re not different.)
Your children don’t want to live deep in the woods; they don’t want you to be their cool best friend; they don’t want to grow up in a bus that you turned into a farm/school/house; they don’t want to grow up in a one-bedroom in Bushwick while you stare in the mirror muttering to yourself, “I am the problem.”
They just want to be loved.
7. Keep: flannel
Here come the hordes of hater-fans again. Do I care? No. You only make me stronger (and I love you).
Flannel rocks. It makes ugly boys cool and cute girls cuter. You’re lucky to have such a comfortable alternative on those breezy days when a T-shirt won’t cut it and a sweater is overkill.
Do some people take flannel overboard? Sure. Might flannel be a signal designed to warn you of an approaching politics-conversing, mansplaining nightmare? Yeah. If five people in the same room are all wearing flannel, are you taking an improv class? Yes, you probably are.
But come on; hate the flannel player, not the flannel game.
Besides, at this point, flannel is so embedded in our fashion culture that it’s far past its cool-to-hate-this status. If you’re sh*tting on flannel, you’re five years too late. Give in. Your kids will think it’s cool, and it’s not going away. It’s comfy, and everyone looks good in it. Come over to the flannel side.
8. Lose: people who sit on the street and will write you a poem
Stop. Go to work. That doesn’t mean stop writing. Write and create till your hands fall off. But, like, have some self-awareness. Come on. Please. We all have to share society.
9. Keep: gardening
Is gardening hipster? I don’t know. But gardening is great for a thousand reasons. Let’s just say this is hipster so I can put it on this list and remind the frenzied masses that make up my gigantic Internet fan base of the simple joys of planting seeds and watching them grow.
Fresh vegetables? Amazing. Do we thank hipsters? Probably not. Everyone should garden.
10. Lose: pretending to be poor
Look, you’re a hipster, so you are well-read and care about social justice, right? So please, you know that “glorifying” your “poor” upbringing is a major slap in the face to all people who have actually had to struggle, are still struggling or just have less money and are fine.
So next time, before you casually complain about money or go to drop how “tough” you had it, ask yourself, “Why am I saying this? What part of me craves sympathy, empathy, cool-points, talking-points, validation?”
Just be who you are. If you were lucky enough to grow up in a nice town and went to a nice school, lucky you! Own it. Be yourself. Use all that education and clean drinking water you were blessed with to know better.
I mean, come on; you drink juice that costs more than minimum wage pays, and you carry your MacBook around in a basket.