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I’ve recently come to terms with the label “hipster.” It happened one day when I was sitting on the window ledge of my apartment in the Mission district of San Francisco, smoking pot named after a revolutionary and eating a burrito I paid cash for. Across the street, the café I always avoided because it looked too “hipstery” put up a sign that said: “We now have matcha shakes.” When the little voice in my head went, “oooh matcha!” I realized I was lying to myself. I am a hipster, we are hipsters. Many of us are annoying idiots, granted, but quite often we like amazing things.
It seems a little messed up to say hipsters are the reason these things exist but they are in a lot of ways the reason these things have mainstreamed. Look, most of us are children of Baby Boomers. So a huge population explosion several generations later gave birth to another huge explosion. Yeah, well, duh… I’m pretty sure that’s how math works. The other side of it though is that our Baby Boomer parents were raising a generation that grew up amidst a very dark backdrop.
Every generation has its burden to bear, yes, but those of us considered Millennials grew up with a war projected behind us, Columbine, September 11th, a growing national debt and a disproportionally high rate of teen suicide. We are a generation of weirdos. We are the dark, creepy kids in the corner and all of a sudden there are lots of us and that seems to be the problem. Don’t kid yourself; the bizarre friend of yours loves to be bizarre. Being bizarre comes from being different than everyone else. I fought being a hipster for so long because I thought it made me a part of a group. Plus all the things I had used to identify myself with were lost.
“I fought being a hipster for so long because I thought it made me a part of a group. Plus all the things I had used to identify myself with were lost.”
See, that’s the joke with hipsters. They always want to be the first to everything. They knew it before it was big, they heard it before anyone else saw their performance at whatever festival. The first time someone told me that Suspiria had been mentioned in Juno, I died a little inside. Then I got defensive. I immediately told that person I had been watching Italian horror movies since I was fourteen and they could quiz me on any director, I knew them all. Of course this smacked of desperation and I realized we all need to come to grips with being part of a bigger group. Maybe you know a lot about cocktails and have for years. Awesome, bet ya dollars to doughnuts though there’s a lot of other stuff you’re interested in yet haven’t been exposed to. Why should you be any more or less valid than someone who found it when they were ten?
A note of consolation is inside of all this. If we can all just agree that we’re all still weird. Yes, you’re still weird for watching Torso when you were in middle school. Yes, you’re still weird for reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos on your high school trip to Disney World. Yes, you’re weird now and you will be forever. Now you have other people talk to.
It seems backwards to dislike the fact that something you love is getting recognition. We all still live in such little microcosms that we don’t understand just because everyone we know likes something we like doesn’t mean anyone else has ever heard of it. What are the odds that everyone in America really loves Venture Brothers and kombucha?
Take comfort, hipsters. You are among friends and that’s always good. What’s even better is you’re all the weird ones. We’re like the hippies of the social revolution and if we could find a way to connect ourselves instead of hate each other, we could do amazing things. We demand quality, we demand originality. We demand smaller worlds and communities connected on a much larger scale. We could turn this world into something awe inspiring. We just have to get over our own egos.
“It seems backwards to dislike the fact that something you love is getting recognition.”
How about we simply agree that we’re all unique and beautiful snowflakes and then we shut up and move on? Why are we snubbing each other when we have a movement right under our feet that grew so amazing and organically out of our uniqueness, out of our desire to create and learn? Just say: “Hi, my name’s Vern and I’m a hipster. I have been for years. I will be forever.” It’s a movement and a reflecting pool of social change. In a generation the size of ours, the mainstream was going to get bigger but no one saw the subculture creation of this magnitude. We have a dark history, we had some really unsettling entertainment as children. We also heard stories about protests and revolution. We are spawns of both the sick and the beautiful. We might be one of the most powerful presences in a very long time. Let’s start acting like it.