What Was The Hipster?

Not hipsters, but they live in Williamsburg (cc photo by myshi)

Sometimes it’s worth linking to something just because it’s a piece of flat-out good writing, and I’ll put Mark Grief’s essay “What Was The Hipster?” in that file any day of the week.

My favorite graf:

The most confounding element of the hipster is that, because of the geography of the gentrified city and the demography of youth, this “rebel consumer” hipster culture shares space and frequently steals motifs from truly anti-authoritarian youth countercultures. Thus, baby-boomers and preteens tend to look at everyone between them and say: Isn’t this hipsterism just youth culture? To which folks age 19 to 29 protest, No, these people are worse. But there is something in this confusion that suggests a window into the hipster’s possible mortality.

I don’t really have anything to say about this, though I will note in a boring way that what I think is most interesting about the term “hipster” is that it seems to function in a purely relational sense. For any city-dwelling member of my generation, there’s always some other set of people who are the “hipsters” and some other set of people who think you’re one of the hipsters.