Hipsterism is dead, at least as a counterculture

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Javier Secaira, Contributing Writer

 

Hipsterism is dead. Why? A few weeks ago, I saw a new ad for the Republican Party depicting a “hipster” pumping gas while talking about why he voted Republican. This societal movement, predicated on a “cooler than thou” mentality that shuns the mainstream by listening to obscure indie music on vinyl, dressing in clothing reminiscent of my neighbors in their late 70s and shunning big corporations, has grown to the point that it is no longer unique. The Republicans are now going after the votes of those they once derided as jobless, progressive millennials, and it is the final straw.

There was a time when sporting wide-framed glasses and facial hair wasn’t cool. Now, Instagram accounts are flooded with pictures of preteen girls with nonprescription glasses and buttoned-up shirts labeled #suchahipster. It is now almost a law of Hollywood that big-budget movies include at least one self-proclaimed indie band in their soundtracks, usually used in the end credits. Rap songs about shopping at thrift stores top the charts, and moustaches are plastered on everything from folders to bumper stickers to shirts. The distrust of large corporations has largely vanished in the face of convenience as people have realized that they are willing to overlook a few abused Chinese children if it means that they can have their spandex so they can ride bikes to work and be “eco-friendly.”

While counterculturalism will always exist, hipsterism can no longer consider itself a part of that movement. –Photo courtesy of Business Insider
While counterculturalism will always exist, hipsterism can no longer consider itself a part of that movement.
–Photo courtesy of Business Insider

What has happened is that something that was once countercultural has been absorbed and even embraced by the mainstream culture. So while the musical taste, clothing style and preference for the organic still exist, the distinction is gone.

Some people will argue that there will always be hipsters who defy culture and perceive themselves as above the masses. Third-century gnostic cults, 17th century French atheists and 1950s Beatniks did the same thing, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who finds them original anymore. So while counterculturalism will still be a thing, this particular brand has ended, subsumed by what it once defied. We are essentially in a “post-hipster” phase with its roots in hipsterism but no longer countercultural.

So what do I want to accomplish with this? I’ll admit it, nothing. No one is actually going to go around saying, “OMG, I am such a post-hipster.” It sounds ridiculous, and even I won’t use it. Even if this is just an exercise in minutiae, at least you can tell your friends that you were cool enough to know before everyone else did that hipsterism is over.

 

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