Hipster Culture

By Leroy James King · April 28, 2010

I’m personally a big fan of films that are social commentaries, especially when they relate to specific demographics. Some examples:

Fight Club – Down and Out Generation Xers

Easy Rider – Moto Hippies

The Wild One – Beatniks

American Psycho – 80s Yuppies

Nashville – Country Music Dwellers

And so on and so forth. With the exception of American Psycho, these movies connected with viewers so well because of their timeliness and relevance to current societal goings-on. They captured a snapshot of a generation in their given moments, offering them up for people to critique, and/or to identify with them. And that’s what makes these films great. Most of them had incredibly mixed reception when they were theatrically released, but they sparked a widespread discussion about what was acceptable behavior; where our country was going; and most of all, it got people to recognize these particular social groups, most of which were “misfits” in their own given time.

My favorite thing about these films (again, with the exception of AP) is that the filmmakers told stories without skewing viewers’ perception one way or the other. Yeah, there’s definitely glamorization of each of these lifestyles within each film – but viewed in their entirety, the writers and directors of these movies end on an ambiguous, objective note. They didn’t pick “sides.” They didn’t say, “There’s a right way and a wrong way of doing things, and my movie says this is the right way/wrong way.” They leave it open.

So I was thinking about these films, which led to the thought, “Right now, which social group has a dichotomous reception within our society? Which demographic is widespread, but not really culturally recognized?” It didn’t take long to figure it out. As I was enjoying my Simpler Times (Trader Joe’s) beer on my apartment balcony, thinking about all of this, I suddenly heard the din of metal clinking against metal; the sniveling whine of an androgynous male; the mumblings of a female referring to everything as “indie this” and “indie that”; the discernable, almost marijuana scent of Parliament Light cigarettes…

I looked down, and there they were. The fucking Hipsters.

I saw the girl – wearing about 20 cheap, fake gold bracelets on each wrist; the guy wearing a Pabst Blue Ribbon T-Shirt and girls jeans; both of them wearing 1980s Bill Gates glasses; both of them inhaling P-Funks; both of them talking way too loudly, obviously attempting to direct attention to themselves; both of them tweeting on their iPhones as they squawked at one another.

Now… you can obviously see my disposition toward hipsters. Fuck ’em. No, I don’t just fundamentally hate them without reason.

Yes, I used to be a hipster – totally and utterly. Loud, obnoxious, nonsensical clothing decisions, the P-Funks, the PBR (okay, still the PBR), blahblahblah. I was the epitome of a hipster. I shudder with embarrassment so fervently that I’m more ready to admit that I was in marching band in high school and that I can still quote all 3 original Star Wars films accurately from beginning to end and that I haven’t been laid in like… waaaay too long. That’s how much I’m embarrassed about my hipster past.

The main reason for my embarrassment: When I was rubbing elbows with my hipster brethren, there was an insidious cultural apathy that permeated hipsterhood; a total neglect and disregard for different cultures; a willful snootiness towards music and films; a total lack of education of anything outside our hipster dome; and the fixed gear bikes…

It only really lasted through college. When college was over, I moved and quickly saw (that without any friends in L.A.) that hipsters pit against one another – they’re not like punks or hippies, who see one of their own from afar and sweep them up into the club. No fucking way. Hipsters hate each other. It’s a style war; a taste war; an opinion war; a battle royale of preference. Every discussion is closed before it’s started.

Yes, I could go on and on, refuting Hipsterhood with the same fervency Ed Norton refutes Nazism in American History X (okay, that’s a little rash and over exaggerated… but whatever). But you get the point, and likely share the same sentiment with me. And if you’re a hipster reading this and don’tagree with me… try going to a new place where you don’t know anyone. Try engaging in conversation with fellow hipsters and see how well it goes.

Anyway, back to social commentaries and film. Why hasn’t there been a film that specifically addresses the Hipster culture? For better or worse? Obviously I’m not really the guy to write this film; bias would be imminent. But yeah. Hipster culture isn’t just confined to college towns and Brooklyn anymore. They’re everywhere. During a trip to the South this past Holiday I even encountered Hick Hipters (Hicksters). It’s a style phenomenon that dictates a lifestyle, much akin to hair band culture in the 80s (I can just hear you Hipsters seething right now). Again, with punks or hippies, it was a lifestyle that dictated fashion. Hipsterhood is the total opposite.

Yes, I know I went off on a lambasting tangent again – don’t really care.

I’m just kind of confused that there hasn’t been a film that expressly addresses the concept of Hipsterdom. Am I the only person that sees it everywhere? Is it only because I was a Hipster that I notice it? I can’t be the only one. I guess it bothers me so much because I think it’s a hilarious world to look at. The totally unoriginal culture; the vintage culture; the obscure culture; the culture without any real, personal culture. It’s the brethren of those who don’t have a voice, or are so indecisive to choose any disposition that they opt out altogether. It’s a culture of disengagement.

I simply think it’s about time for a movie that looks at this culture closely. And fuck it. Maybe I will write it. Somebody has to. And on second thought, if I don’t write it, that’s just being a Hipster – willfully not engaging.

Hm. Shit.

I’ll leave you with a few hipster haikus:

Your haircut sucks balls
And your tight jeans smell like dung
Take a shower, douche

I wrecked your dumb bike
Your baby tears make me laugh
You have no culture

Do you like Daft Punk?
Of course I do you dumbass
And I liked them first