Friday, May 8, 2009

Novelty Treats: Photo Journalism

Tumblr blog Look at this fucking hipster collects and captions images of the 'youth' of the world participating in various acts of herd individualism. It's the online equivalent of being in the crowd at Coachella or standing near a line of people waiting to get into an MGMT show, only here, when you point and laugh, there's little chance of being challenged to some variety of drinking contest or being verbally assaulted on your own wardrobe choices.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that there's a huge difference between subculture street style and ironic hipster non-style. I'm also going to say the scope of what is incorporated into 'hipster' has become too wide, and calls for a narrowing down. With this logic, I'm then going to tell you that there's a difference between "fashion" hipsters and "curbside" hipsters. From there I'm going to go stereotypical and say that like the goths, the truly hip likely don't self identify as hipsters. The definition of hipster, i think, has been twisted to mean something more along the lines of poser, which is really, quite frankly, not what it should be. So really, we're talking about posers, because (let's face it) most of these kids are not cool. They're vapid and have taken up shallow interests in otherwise deeply engaging topics while working really hard to dress in a manner they would have been laughed out of my teenage years for.

Yesterday i drove past my old high school and girls were wearing thigh high grey socks with neon mini-skirts and greasy hair. I don't know what that is, but it's not a hipster. I bet it thinks it is, though.

What i think we're dealing with right now is the merging of all of our subcultures into one overarching category looked on in disdain and referred to as 'hipsters'. There's this pressing need, it would seem, for everyone to belong everywhere all at once. I'm opposed to this, i think. To a certain extent because it makes things confusing. I enjoy the sociology of subcultures, they are part of our contemporary tribal system. We can map them, if we choose, and track their roots and the ways in which they've altered over different cultural climates. Punk is one of the best examples of this. It rises from genres and becomes a scene, it spawns other scenes and other genres, it is still spawning them. It has a dense infrastructure of teen angst and political opposition (etc.) the ebbs and flows. We can have all sorts of punk breeds. Hardcore and skate and straight edge. And within the context, it makes a certain amount of sense, generally. Which leads to the obvious question: what the fuck is this new breed of "hipster"? What is that? What the hell does it say about a person?

How is this...

The same as this...

The same as this?

They're not. They're just not. We cannot all be 'hipsters'. Which, by the way, we are all becoming. Because everything and everyone is being incorporated into this style. Geek chic. Club kid. Punk. Glam rock. Hip hop. Fashionistas. Academics. Preps. Goth. Old people. Small children. Mom jeans. 1800's. 1900's. 20th century. Future. Steampunk. Disco. Hippie. Metalheads. Grunge. Burnouts. Thrifters. Everyone. It's like an epidemic. It is an epidemic. You are probably inadvertently dressing hipster right now, or wearing something a hipster might covet, and you don't even realize it.

What does it mean?

I have no idea.

And this is totally not what this blog post was supposed to turn into.

Also, side note: is there a reason why we can't seem to pull off Tokyo street style here? You know, bright colors, GothLoli's, Harajuku kids who look like carefully styled cartoons instead of crack den rent boys and disease addled junkies? Just wondering.

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