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.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.