Beat slang - someone who knows the score. Someone who knows the talk. If you don't know what it means to be hip, no one can ever tell you.

"Hipster" in its original sense referred to the middle class white person seemingly fluent in the ways of urban blacks. These people were usually Jazz fanatics or "Beatniks". It retains its original sense today in that the "Hipster" or "Urban Hipster" affects sophistication acquired by living in "the City". Usually the sophistication is only by comparison, ie to the suburbs or small town the person in question originated from. Also, the modern equivalent of the White Jazz Fan of the 40s and 50s is probably the DJ or audiophile or those annoying, affectless hipster kids in record stores who are usually into obscure music for the sake of the music's obscurity or underground credibility.

A reference to opium use. Users often smoke opium while laying on their side or hip.

It is surprising that there is nothing written here since late 2001, almost as if e2 missed the entire 2000s, a forgivable offense being that the decade itself seemed to have missed itself, and that even 2007, its passing seems to have escaped many people's notice.

Hipster, in its general sense, seems to be the prevailing youth culture, although the people who could be grouped under youth culture now include those well into their 30s. To describe the genesis of hipster culture would take more research than I am able to easily do, and would probably still be open for debate at that point. I think it is safe to say that hipster arose out, and was at one point synonymous, with indie rock, which itself was descended from alternative rock, which was all ushered in (although some may debate this) with Nirvana and grunge in the very early 1990s.

The link to grunge shouldn't be overlooked, although I don't know how many hipsters would embrace Nirvana or Pearl Jam today. Although it might seem ridiculous now, and perhaps would even at the time (I am looking at the early 1990s with the eyes of a twelve year old), grunge rock was actually briefly threatening and controversial. The link between hipsters and what was once a confrontational subculture should be noted, since at the same time as hipsters became more prevalent, there was also a rise in other subcultures that took a more directly counter-cultural stance, in large part because the internet, and other avenues, provided more information than was previously available about such subjects as government, corporate, and media dominance.

As a culture, hipsters are against the predominant culture, but not confrontationally so. Hipsters, like those who are in direct opposition and confrontation to the mainstream establishment, collect information and in general try to distance themselves, and deconstruct, the power and information structure of the dominant society.

But the hipster, whether in literature, fashion, music or politics, do not align themselves with any single idea. The point is to deconstruct, to criticize, and to judge, merely for the sake of doing so. Much has been written about the hipster habit of irony and sarcasm, but the why of it is often left unexplained.

For me, the irony, or rather the combination of detachment and judgement behind it, is the core of the hipster attitude. A cursory glance at European cultural history will show that for 2500 years, the idea of the removed, abstracted thinker who acts as a managerial elite by removing themselves from their bodily life has been a social ideal. And this is merely what hipster culture is, a continuing quest to gain social status by appearing to be without any concrete existence or attachments, to be an outside observer, but more importantly, an outside judge. The only difference with the modern day hipster and the managerial elite of yesteryear is that the managerial elite had some idea of a final goal that they had positive belief in; while the hipster merely judges and critiques for the sake of doing so, for the sake of being more and more removed. The ideal that hipsters aspire to is to be separate from everything, to judge everything, including hipster culture itself.

There are many who would debate that this is the core of hipster culture; and even for those who agree, there are many issues about why hipster culture surfaced now, and for how long it will remain as one of the dominant paradigms for young people. I throw those questions upon my audience.

I am by no means a cowboy (ma'am)
standing as I might be

in my tall fine boots
and legs all up to Christmas

for despite these pearl buttons
with three on each cuff

my washed work jeans
were faded at the factory for me

and for all of us now arrived
here in the Brooklyn of Texas.

We brand
but not cows.

Hipster, in the 2010s sense, refers to an insufferable 20something culture that took some of the ethos of the slacker culture of the 1990s and ran with the ball, hard.

Physically, it's characterized by 1950s style / Marine birth control glasses (even for people who don't need them), long and waxed moustaches, and long, funky beards, the longer and more sculpted the better. Topping off the ensemble, grooming-wise, is a 1940s undercut or classic hairstyle, leading to a resurgence in barbering and people seeing classic cuts. Only it's not the Hitler Youth/Hugo Boss Nazi slickback undercut, it's typically textured and featured up with some new-school pomade. With a physique that suggests the most manual labor you've ever done is manicuring your nails. Nothing like seeing someone with the Brawny man haircut, Brawny man beard, and lumberjack outfit, with a pair of arms reminiscent of Olive Oyl.

The women are harder to spot. They're pretentious of course, and their hipster glasses and hair color gives them away, but it seems that this is the first narcissistic non-youth culture that made its women invisible.

Whereas the slacker/90s culture simply repurposed things and had a field day dressing out of Salvation Army/Value Village thrift shop clothing, the trip here, clothing-wise, is to go blue-collar retro. That trucker mesh cap, the lumberjack plaid shirt that only looks good on a lesbian, that guy on the Pringles can moustache has to be set off by a penny farthing bicycle, an artisanal, handcrafted bicycle messenger bag to hold every Apple computer iGadget that came out last week, etc.

They can't seem to figure out if they're going highbrow or lowbrow, especially when eating and drinking (get that Whole Foods credit card out, we're going to do Mac and Cheese with hand-sifted wheat and kale based noodles, etc.) so they try to blow and suck at the same time, leading to some high comedy. This is the kind of person who will drink, in the same order from the bar, a Pabst Blue Ribbon out of a can, and a triple-filtered hand-crafted artisanal gin-based gimlet along with organic, handcrafted, artisanal exotic lime syrup (localvore, home sourced, gluten free, etc.) and chilled with hand-cut, artisanal, hand-crafted whiskey rocks from a environmentally friendly, local quarry run by some guy with a beard that looks right out of ZZ Top. And holy fuck, do they love kale. They love the ever loving shit out of kale. They put kale on their handcrafted artisanal localvore macrobiotic gluten free granola in the morning. They smoke joints made out of kale rolling papers. They drink a handcrafted, artisanal kale smoothie made from kale grown in a local co-op that urban farms it right off the side of a historic brownstone in Brooklyn. Their condoms are made of kale.

And not a single one of them wants to work in any capacity that is actually productive. Artist, preferably performance artist is the metier of choice, the most famous of which is a guy who holds a cardboard sign saying "Love Portal" and dances around in his underwear busking with a collection of toy instruments, screaming at passersby. Failing a trust fund, and most of them are heavily subsidized by helicopter parents - or some kind of government grant, they oh wait no, being a computer programmer is so passe, they want to handcraft artisanal bees-wax made beard oil, or urban farm mushrooms in that vacant lot with all the syringes in it, or have some kind of weird-non job where they sit with a vintage handcrafted artisanal yard-sale-find but marked up to $500 Underwood typewriter on a streetcorner and do "I will personally type a sentence of your choice on a small strip of paper for $10" gigs. One started a restaurant that serves nothing but breakfast cereal of your choice with milk. Another sells $10 grilled cheese sandwiches (artisanal, handcrafted bread and locally sourced, renewable macrobiotic artisanal, handcrafted cheese), which have been dropped off the side of a building with a parachute. (Thanks but no thanks, I don't want a sandwich that's scraped itself down a New York City wall). In short, if it was done in 1890, they can make it by hand, and sell it for at least $30 (for $5 items) or several hundred (for other mundane items) off their not-artisanal but handcrafted web site, they're all for it. In the San Francisco area, selling overpriced coffee for $5 is so passe. Try $7 a slice for artisanal, handcrafted bread sliced with a copper bread knife hand-forged in some quaint old-world forge, and then toasted with an antique Italian toasting fork over a collection of artisanal, handcrafted woods burning in a reclaimed Civil War era fireplace. Straight razor? Try the Portland Razor Company, which handcrafts etc etc etc

In fact, it's so bizarro that the comedy series Portlandia, in satirizing the whole trope, hits Poe's Law so beautifully you can't tell what's parody and what's straight up reporting of what actually fucking happens. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Jeff Goldblum selling hand-crafted, artisanal KNOTS tied in an artisan's studio loft and sold for $150 and up is based on a company that actually exists.

And they're so fucking the quintessence of manchildren it almost hurts. The women have businesses where they get paid $70 an hour.... to CUDDLE. They have slumber parties and kickball games and artisanal, handcrafted competitive hide and seek tournaments. When they're not adjusting the handcrafted cables on their artisanal fixie bicycle of course. Some of these idiots actually get together to have parties where all they do is sit around and read books. If it's ironic, they're all for it. Any semblance of being grown up or conventional is off the boards.

And they've gentrified certain parts of the world in the worst way. Brooklyn, which was once a gritty, edgy part of the Five Boroughs of New York City is now a kale and craft beer smoothie collective with tons of newcomers, daddy and mommy's retirement fund or trust fund in hand. England has seen Shoreditch's rents go through the roof for similar reasons. And none of the money has gone to anything of practical or lasting value, and a large part of a generation of kids born in the 1990s will have not had any relevant experience in the workforce to take over from the Baby Boomers who want to leapfrog Generation X and give those little darlings the plum jobs and cushiness of their generation.

They're digging their own graves in another respect. Part of the hipster "thing" is not to do anything mainstream, but of course with the increased mainstreaming of everything they do, they run the very real risk of extincting themselves by disappearing up their own collective asshole. You can shave off that dick-length beard, but that "moustache" tattoo on your index finger (you hold it up to your nose, get it?) won't disappear as readily, nor will your ironic "stick and poke" tattoos you got at $1000 a pop from some artisanal, handcrafted tattoo studio.

In short, I cannot wait for this decade to be over so all you sanctimonious and pretentious waste of oxygen cuntscabrous fucks FUCK RIGHT OFF and get too old and fat to hold that facade. Of course, these beardo weirdo bastards are starting to breed, but before I go postal and kick their women in the birth canal to render that impossible, I take a few deep breaths and realize the kids turn out to be diametrically opposed to their parents. Can't wait for them to grow up and be interested in sensible jobs and whatever's practical and mainstream. 

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