Monday, July 20, 2009

The Definition of Hipster

The Pitchfork Music Festival (which I very sadly did not attend) was this weekend. Since I missed it, I really wanted to see one band, Blitzen Trapper, play an encore at Empty Bottle Sunday night. I was in hipster central (i.e. weirdville). For those who don't live in New York, Chicago or on the West Coast, you may not be as familiar with hipsters as I am. In that case, just check out this great website and you'll start to get it. While in hipster town, I saw these two places within a block of each other. I really have no explanation for what the second place might be.

As of last night, I am convinced that I have now seen every kind of hipster there is in my young life. So, I thought I would share my take on this unique, non-conformist breed of people. In my mind, for the most part hipsters fall into a few distinct categories:

1. Arty Hipster

Arty Hipster is in the know about all the latest gallery openings and probably creates art in some form himself. He fluctuates between happiness (10%) and extreme melancholy (90%). He smokes parliaments and frequently ponficates on the meaning of our drab, pointless lives.

2. Nerdy Hipster

Nerdy Hipster is, was, and always will be the biggest dork around. He could never really fit in until he found other similarly dorky people once he made the move from semi-rural Indiana to the big city. For this reason, Nerdy Hipsters, male and female, tend to travel in packs with their brethren. They have intellectual conversations chalk full of geeky jokes that are so high level they're not funny at all. Their relationships are purely platonic as they are not blessed with sexual instincts of any kind.

3. Elitist Pretentious Hipster

This is the saddest, and worst kind of hipster. Elitist hipster condescends on everyone and thinks everything sucks. He describes how much everything and everyone sucks by using words like "bourgeois" and phrases like "they would have been better suited to..." or "it's a blatant contradiction to the fundamental premise..." so that no matter how good something is, they can always try to pose as the most educated person among the group by being the only naysayer. They secretly hope in debates or discussions (usually post-party, post-concert or regarding an album) that the other parties to the conversation will question their own views and wonder what Elitist Pretentious Hipster knows that they don't. Truly nothing makes the Elitist Pretentious Hipster happy except raining on everyone else's parade.

4. Biker Hipster

While biker hipster can exhibit traits of other hipsters, the most distinguishing trait of biker hipster is riding his (or her) crappy looking beat up bike. The biker hipster bikes with no regard for traffic or their own life, doesn't wear a helmet, rides with their bike lock in the back pocket of their super tight jeans for some reason, and most importantly has a completely unexplained ability to be extremely unathletic yet ride his or her bike way faster than you can. A rare instance where you can pass a biker hipster on the road then see the look of shock on their face is truly special....until they run a red light at a busy intersection, passing you again as you sit at the light and watch them weave through crossing cars. This picture is what it looked like for blocks around Pitchfork.

5. Fashion Hipster

Spends lots of money on fashion in order to look as unfashionable as possible. Extra points are given for looking impoverished (ripped shirts, jeans).

6. Homeless, Drugged Out Hipster

These hipsters aren't really homeless but exhibit a few distinguishing characteristics. First, they wear dreadlocks despite being white. Second, they are usually extremely smelly and have otherwise poor hygiene because they forgot to shower due to being on a lifelong acid trip. They have a general indifference towards the world that is passing them by as they smoke pot and listen to Pink Floyd's The Wall over and over and over.

7. Foodie Hipster

Foodie Hipsters fulfill their counter-culture urges by going to dive bars with extensive draft beer options (a la Quenchers or Map Room) and finding the latest BYOB or late night food stop. They don't go to the big name restaurants downtown where you have to dress up. Rather, they go to the trendiest restaurants in hipster neighborhoods with equal or better food, but with a less white collar atmosphere. They exhibit a disdain for standard bar food and bar atmosphere and instead talk about their last experience with tripe or sweetbreads.

8. Yuppie Hipster Wannabe

The Yuppie Hipster Wannabe has elements in common with hipsters and exploits these commonalities as part of an attempt to escape, if only for short periods of time, the dregs of his day to day life in the cubicle. Don't be fooled though. A few things disqualify the Yuppie Hipster from being a real hipster. The Yuppie hipster wants to be in a band but has no discernible musical talent. The Yuppie hipster is probably athletic, and was probably popular in high school and college as a result. The Yuppie hipster still practices normal habits of hygiene. Lastly, because they have generally had it pretty good in life, the Yuppie hipster harbors no real resentment towards society as a whole. Any resentment towards society is only generated by the fact that we Americans are stupid and fat. The Yuppie hipster is a walking contradiction who makes fun of hipsters despite admiring their non-conformist ways and wanting to be seen by them as credible.

9. Music Hipster

Music Hipster has a genuine love for music and may be in a band. Music hipster pretty much boycotts the radio and looks down upon or feels sorry for people who have their musical tastes force fed to them by the record company corporate machine that churns out meaningless mass marketed crap in droves. Instead, music hipster does his own research and stays up to date on all the upcoming concerts, constantly on the look out for the "next big thing" in the indie music world. Music hipsters are in constant competition with one another to be able to say "I heard or saw them first." Warning, music hipster can go too far and become closely related to Elitist Pretentious Hipster if he's not careful.

10. Other

These freaks fall into no real category other than "weird" or "scary." Their parents are forever shamed.

That about sums it up. I'd say I'm a combination of 7, 8 and 9 with a high dose of all three. Here's a picture from the Blitzen Trapper concert. They were fantastic and the guy on keyboards below was a superb example of #2 with a little #6 and obviously #9.

Song of the Day:

Blitzen Trapper - Sleepytime in the Western World

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