So, it seems like we’ve made a couple hundred of these already, but if the problem hasn’t gone away yet, why should we? But let’s see if I can add anything that hasn’t been said a million times on the subject (probably not).
Besides the superficial criticisms of hipsterism (the shallowness, the pretension, the focus on fashion, the ideological void), there is the very real and very deleterious effect that hipsters have on culture, both locally and globally. Hipsters, in my eyes at least, are primarily passive consumers. They are attracted to arts and culture like moths to a flame, but instead of moths, they’re more like a kudzu, growing over, drowning and pushing out the objects of their attraction. It’s great to have an audience (and I’m sure we have a hipster fan or two), but what’s even better is to have a broad and rich ecosystem of artists all creating, collaborating and enjoying each others efforts. It’s easier to passively consume, enjoy, ironically commentate or criticize… It’s much harder to put a lot of thought and effort into the act of creation, to take a hard ideological stand and put yourself out there for criticism, but at the end of the day, without those who do, those who criticize would have nothing but there own sad and empty lives to reflect on.
But I digress, the real danger of hipsterism to culture is that as they swoop in like locusts to consume the “latest thing”, the hippest art, the newest underground band, they end up overpopulating an area until the makers that made the area great are priced out. Speaking as native San Franciscans, we’ve seen the best and the brightest of this town move to the East Bay, Southbay, Portland etc as the prices in this city has continued to rise. Eventually, when all the artists have been driven to cheaper pastures, the last vestiges of creativity and innovation in culture will be erased and the whole town will start to resemble the upper haight… a disney-fied tourist attraction acting as a pale imitation of what was, with none of the activity or energy that made it attractive in the first place.
Passive consumption and ironic smug self-satisfaction is worse than the hardest drug. It’s a slow spiritual death of comfortable mediocrity, never improving, ever watching, ever modeling themselves off of others, like photocopies of photocopies… Because the consumption is not just passive, but inspired by trends and not passion. Although “geek” might be “hip” now, at least geeks are genuinely passionate about the things they consume. Hipsters are just into things that others have deemed hip, have crowd sourced for them. That’s why they’re all continually obsessed with being into something earlier than anyone else. When everyone is just a bandwagon hopper and no one is creating anything worthwhile of their own, the sole object of competition is who was the first. Like those weird people who comment on blogs or articles just to say “First”, the emptiness of their lives is displayed by this weird ritual of striving to be the first to have consumed something.
But hey hipsters (any of you that have gotten this far), it’s still not too late for your sorry asses! Start a project, make a book, learn an instrument and start a band… Stop passively consuming and start actively making! Stop ironically enjoying things and start really enjoying them! Realize you don’t have to pursue art and culture, you can BE art and culture!
And stop wearing flannel. That’s my thing.
This one was conceived by Jen, drawn by her, Mikey, Justin and me.