May 14, 2013

"We asked voters whether they thought hipsters made a positive cultural contribution to society or whether they just 'soullessly appropriate cultural tropes from the past for their own ironic amusement.'"

We = Public Policy Polling.
23% of voters said they made positive cultural contributions while nearly half – 46% – went with soulless cultural appropriation.
Come on. Doesn't everyone know that an amusing and colorful phrase is going to influence the answer? Ridiculous nonsense.

ADDED: The (unlinkable) Oxford English Dictionary traces "hipster" back to 1941.
1941   J. Smiley Hash House Lingo 31   Hipster, a know-it-all.
1946   M. Mezzrow & B. Wolfe Really Blues 374   Hipster, man who's in the know, grasps everything, is alert.
1948   Partisan Rev. XV. 722   Carrying his language and his new philosophy like concealed weapons, the hipster set out to conquer the world.
1956   Observer 23 Sept. 2/5   ‘Hipster’ is modern jazz parlance for ‘hep-cat’.

25 comments:

Methadras said...

Nothing says douchebag like a hipster douchebag.

traditionalguy said...

The "soulless" hippies are the worst kind.

The summer of love cannot be replayed anymore than Les Miserabes can replay the French Revolution of 1848.

But today's digital cartoon characters can become a parallel universe better than the real one of yore.

Jeff Teal said...

Reminds me of a Burkean comment abou nonsense.Winnie was supposed to enjoy a bit of nonsense as well.Refreshes the intellect or something.

gerry said...

Since 2008 we have had an affluence of nonsense.

Jeff Teal said...

gerry-quite so my good man.

dwstaple said...

"Kids these days!" [waves cane in the air].

Rocketeer said...

It helps to picture you writing this post while wearing a trucker hat and drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Methadras said...

Get off my lawn!!!

Methadras said...

1941 J. Smiley Hash House Lingo 31 Hipster, a know-it-all.

2013 Methadras Althouse Lexiconist Extraordinaire 42 Hipster, The new Sperglord.

virgil xenophon said...

I'm always amused at the fact that present-day "hipsters" think they're the only generation EVER to be "hip." Funny, at age 69 all my contemporaries who are now retiring lawyers, Physicians, engineers, businessmen, etc. who are my fraternity brothers all were the "hipsters" of our day. We drove the cool cars, rode the fastest cycles, threw the coolest parties, made the most outrageous road-trips, dated the most beautiful women. listened to the coolest music, knew where all the best dive-bars were, had 60s Ivy-League haircuts ala MadMen, wore Gant shirts, Gold-cup socks and and drank like fish--yet we managed to make pretty damned good contributions to society and most of my generation (Class of '66) still manage to follow the latest indie alt music and even some hip-hop/house/techno music. Look, sportsfans, nothing much ever changes--we're ALL still 19-yrs-old inside..

Nonapod said...

The term "hipster" itself is somewhat derogatory. Maybe not as insulting as calling Tea Party people "tea baggers", but still.

At any rate the thing I dislike about hipsters isn't that they appropriate stuff (god knows that's nothing new), it's that they have disdain for it. I generally disdain people who disdain people.

virgil xenophon said...

PS: Even if slowly fossilizing, lol.

virgil xenophon said...

Good point nonpod. The "hipster" of my day was a far different creature from the disdainful types you outline..

Robert Cook said...

In the earlier sense of the world, "hip" did not mean "popular" as it does today, in fact it was antithetical to the idea. One who was hip was perceived to have esoteric knowledge, by definition unavailable to the many and therefore, not "popular."

A "hipster" is just someone self-consciously aping the mannerisms and appearance of his ironic idea of someone who is hip.

edutcher said...

The word idiot ring a bell?

I remember Mad Magazine and its opinion of hipsters as far back as 1960, and thought they were right then.

Strelnikov said...

As far as positive contributions, they have helped with the sales figures on ironic hats.

phx said...

Norman Mailer wrote about hipsters in The White Negro. Fascinating read IMO. Early Mailer.

Rich B said...

Later, alligator!

Patrick said...

Near as I can tell, hipsters exist mostly for other people to make fun of. Fun of which the hipsters seem largely unaware.

BJK said...

Anyone want to venture a guess as to what fraction of the 23% saying Hipsters make a "positive cultural contribution to society" only gave that answer ironically?

Chip S. said...

I have decided to dedicate myself to reviving the term "hep-cat".

phx said...

Near as I can tell, hipsters exist mostly for other people to make fun of. Fun of which the hipsters seem largely unaware.

They're a little busy making fun of other people - people who take things too seriously - to notice. I think it's a defense mechanism against getting hurt.

Palladian said...

I think it's a defense mechanism against getting hurt.

It's sometimes a defense mechanism against having no taste or talent.

Oso Negro said...

Urban dictionary is one step ahead of you Chip;

hepcat

"A self-applied term used by 21st century people who believe in some form of the 1960's hippie philosophy. Some of these are sons, daughters and grandchildren of the original hippies. Drug use is just as accepted as in the original hippie days, although most hepcats do not consider it necessary to take drugs in order to be part of the lifestyle. Some modern hippies frown upon excessive drug use because of lessons learned from the past. Some of the more conservative hippies deplore most drugs other than cannabis and psychedelics, such as LSD, magic mushrooms and salvia."

Hunter: Man, thats one chilled-ass nigga.
Lance: He's a geniune hepcat, man. A hepcat.
Gueniune, Chilled-Ass, Nigga Hepcat: Fuck yeah, white boy.

Chip S. said...

Oso, I'm proud to be part of the 43-26 landslide voting down that def'n.

"Hep-cat" must be restored to its former glory, not dragged down by the grandspawn of hippies.