Inspired by the answer that Ferdy gave my rhetorical post, I’ve decided to do my long, unawaited second part of my series on hipsterdom. But first, a link.

Yes, the hipsters are dead *again*.

Helpfully explained in a nearly unreadable pomo/lit crit hash by someone whose thesaurus clearly has cum stains on it. Adapted from a longer, probably more unreadable article in the journal “n+1”, which is only purchased by grad students in the liberal arts, and confused math majors who wonder what a journal using a mathmatical expression as it’s title contains 30 page essays on Adorno accompanied by bleak unrelated abstract art. A selfsame magazine that has also proclaimed the hipster dead at least once before (more if you count independent articles by the editorial staff).

Seems to me like hipsters, especially the pompous, over-educated, yet still utterly clueless intellectual grandstanders are still very healthy and alive.

Still, read the article, then read the comments, which are as insightful as the article is long-winded and full of facile nothings. Do note that the author completely avoids mentioning the one truly bad thing that hipsterism has wrecked on the world (the rest, despite my own strongly worded opinions, are either matters of taste and politics, or indirectly harmful) namely the gentrification of old ethnic blue collar urban neighborhoods and the marginalizing and pushing out of the older, poorer inhabitants from the neighborhoods they built. The average hipster will rhapsodize endlessly about how tragic it was that the Native Americans lost their land, yet won’t give a shit that the retired Polish-American welder can no longer afford the rent on the apartment he’s lived in for years, or that the bodega down on the corner being turned into a vegan restaurant, means that the Puerto Rican mother has to take the train 30 minutes to shop for dinner now. If anything, fuck those Hasids for being pissed off that we got bike lane in front of where their kid’s school bus zone used to be!

Anyways, I digress. The hipster is still here. Just as there are still punks, neo-hippies, or surfer culture, it seems that the archtype spawned from the flowering of the indie aesthetic will be with us for a good long time, denying it’s own existence and proclaiming itself dead all the while. Here I reproduce in full the comment that best summarizes the article:

This article is a retread of various strands of hipster anthropology, which may be found in other magazines, Urban Dictionary, and even Wikipedia.

Yet, it is near brilliant on the meta-level. The title says it all. Specifically, that:

1) hipsterism will be approached in a faux academic manner–so hipster;
2) you are late to the lifestyle–so contemporary hipster since any movement of elitist early adopters/revivers will eventually run out of oxygen;
3) hipsterism is the all-in-all and definitely worth interrogating–because hipsters are nothing if not self-important; and
4) the greatness of hipsters can only be appreciated in retrospect, which befits a Movement* of conservative liberals. To be clear, while they may be liberal in outlook and politics, they are conservative in ideas, originality, and modus operandi.

The whole thing is nested hipster irony. A hipster-in-denial comments on hipsterdom, in full hipster fashion.
I would venture that Mr. ARGOT007 is himself a hipster as well. As am I. As am I.

Okay, so you’ve undergone the first, most difficult step; namely admitting you’re a hipster. What now? Do you burn your skinny jeans, Grizzly Bear albums, and Jonathon Safran Foer novels on a pyre? As much as I would *like* to recommend that, it’s not really necessary. If you truly enjoy those things, continue to do so. You will perhaps find that with time your tastes will change, particularly on the issue of skinny jeans past the age of 30. Admitting you’re hipster makes that process much easier. Some things will stick with you. I still get slightly misty listening to “An Aeroplane Over the Sea”, despite the hardening of my heart and mind over the years.

What happens now isn’t a rejection of anything previous at all. You’re broadening, because you’re getting out of a ghetto mentality. You don’t have to like what your peers like, and you can like things they’d find horrific and label “mainstream”, “conformist”, or any other epithet of choice. They’re the fucking conformists, so concerned with appearing cool and liking and disliking all the same damn things. So hence number one:

1. Stop giving a fuck about what others think.

Granted, this is dangerous advice to give any random person. Taken directly, it means your should stop caring about the results of your behavior, and to most people, that just leads to being a gigantic asshole at best and sociopathy at worst. But wait! You’re a hipster, which means that despite all your flaws, you’re most likely got some brains and soul in you. It’s just right now it’s so wrapped up in peer approval and fear of outsider perception, that you can’t see the forest for the trees. The world will not end if someone you know patronizingly talks down to you when you mentioned how you actually enjoyed what was perceived to be a “tourist” street fair. Fuck them, you like fresh mini-donuts and root beer! And marching band music is kinda cool once you sit down and listen to it with an open mind!

In the past, I got pissed off when that kind of stuff happened and would carry that weight with me for months after. Now, I don’t give a fuck what they think, anymore than what some douchebag who mocks my seersucker suit thinks. They’re the ones missing out on the wider world.  They got everything so codified in their head that a tourist street fair is uncool and boring, that they don’t see the similarity between that sort of mentality and the guy who calls me a faggot because I’m wearing a powder blue suit and straw hat. You’re free now, my friend! Which brings me to the flipside of that coin.

2. Stop being so damn presumptuous about others.

There’s a reason there’s stereotypes. They tend to work very well in the general aggregate. They, however, are pretty crappy to apply on an individual level. Yet the people who most insist that stereotypes are incorrect are the ones who most zealously apply them at an individual level even if they would deny it up and down. In my younger days I would balk at long social interactions with people who at first it didn’t seem I didn’t share much in common with. Why would I spend time talking to a Mormon Tongan who spends most of his days digging holes for his job? The person I was in the past would never have found out that the smelly chubby guy was also an accomplished amateur classical guitarist after talking to him repeatedly and at length, and would have never gained some valuable tips on avoiding wrist strain from overpracticing. With time, I’ve found that it’s often the people who are most focused on playing up an persona of being a creative unique person usually have the most derivative and unimaginative work, while those who are unschooled and completely unassuming are the ones creating beauty, and they don’t even realize how great it is.

Get out of your social bubble, talk to strangers, respond when they talk to you. Just because someone is old, ugly and an evangelical Christian who dropped out of high school doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything from them, or them from you, for that matter. And just because you share a lot of things in common with someone, doesn’t mean they can’t be an utter turd of a human being as well.

Note, this particular thing really needs to be hammered in double with HBD types who have a Half Sigma mentality about people.

3. Take the path less traveled (for it will make all the difference)

I’m going to be honest here. I’m a bit hesitant because the main readers of this are probably also readers in the Roissy-sphere and the HBD-sphere, both places notorious for finding the smallest personal flaws in a blogger’s biography and eviscerating them publically. Then I realized I don’t comment much anymore, and no one really reads this blog. A few months ago, I had a bit of a mini-personal crisis, in which I had either cut off or alienated all my friends left on the island and realized that I wasn’t going to beg like a dog for years just to get a decent paying job indoctrinating youth at a college. I was depressed and angry, lost whatever desire I had for Game (and there really wasn’t much to begin with). I wanted to repudiate and reject everything about the lifestyle I had had before, but was running into the fact that I couldn’t hate the music and books that I loved. So I thought and thought. What would be the way I could actively reject it and it’s values, rather than passively and quietly on the internet?

One day, rather pissed at work, I started cleaning the bathrooms, because some dipshit had pissed all over the bowl. I couldn’t stop. I just cleaned until the entire place was sparkling. And afterward I felt much better. I slowly and steadily started taking on all the janitorial functions at the company. It was more enjoyable than being an accounting and filing clerk, and moreover our company is too cheap to spring for a custodial service. Here I was with my four years of graduate school, my degree, teaching experience, my languages, my time abroad, hands deep in trash and toilets at a for profit company, doing labor that the average hipster/SWPL/beigeist apparatchik would find disgraceful and distasteful. And I honestly enjoy doing it even if they didn’t feel that way about it. I’ve even started a side job on the weekends doing lawn servicing for retirees. I like that even better, being in the sun and working with plants. I’d do it full time, if I could. It just feels right, like I was meant to be out there rather than in front of a bunch of lazy, unwilling and willfully ignorant college students.

Not just satisfied with that, I started pumping iron and doing calisthenics and resistance exercises at night whenever I would start to feel regretful at my chosen solitude or lonely. Eventually I just got hooked to the feeling of running and lifting weights. Right now I can do more push-ups than I could in high school. While part of the reason I initially started doing these things (though it’s not the only or main reason) was because it offered a personal acceptance of two things not within that hipster culture bubble; namely doing dirty manual labor and getting fit and muscular, I found that by trying these things I began to enjoy them on their own merits, and found a sort of peace and happiness I haven’t had since I left Japan. Now if only I could find a way to turn it into better money. Sigh.

While you don’t have to start mowing lawns or body-building to start down your path to true individual expression, trying completely new and unexpected things constantly keeps life fresh and filled with new passion. It could be skeet shooting, it could be singing in a choir, it could be a career as a plumber, there are millions of things out there! Just because you’re educated and into the arts doesn’t mean you’ll find satisfaction working some “media” or “creative content” job while struggling in the evening to write some novel only other hipsters will read. You can work at anything, and express yourself in myriad ways yet unexplored. You don’t even have to move to some overpriced urban mecca to do it (please don’t move to an urban mecca even after getting over being a hipster, gentrifying sucks no matter who’s doing it.)

To sum it up, I’d like to return to the comment made by Argot007. While I have gone from “liberal in outlook and politics” to “fairly reactionary”, what’s important is changing the “conservative in ideas, originality and modus operandi” to “iconoclastic in ideas, inventive in originality, and open in modus operandi”. The politics and outlook are only the frosting.

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From about 8:30 to 9:30 in the morning and about 10:30-12:00 at night weekdays and from early afternoon to early evening on Sundays, I read exclusively print material. I’m trying to hit a goal of about 150-200 pages a day on days I don’t write.

I’m not really reading anything particularly heavy. No Hegel or Hofstader. Yet. Just trying to get to a state where I read quickly but reflectively from a wide variety of materials.

I just finished the last couple volumes of Gardner Dozois “Year’s Best Science Fiction” anthologies. In general, I enjoy the majority of what he selects, as his tastes walk the fine line between hard and soft without going too much either way. I own about half the anthologies and have read back to the original 1984 one. It’s rather interesting as more and more it seems we are living in the future, narratives of the future are less in demand (outside crappy Hollywood blockbusters).

Right now I’ve been plowing through piles of magazines Asimov’s, 2600, The Believer, Pipes and Tobaccos. There would be more if I had more money, but I’m starting to feel that I need to focus on books more. Still, DIY and SEED would make good additions to the list.

Right now, I’d like to focus on one of them. The Believer.

I’ve got something of a love-hate relationship with the magazine (as opposed to the all-hate relation I have with n+1, it’s ‘rival’ of sorts). I love its inquiries into the incredible minutia of culture. Just the recent issue with its article on the long forgotten musical notation for all sounds made by William Gardiner and it’s inquiry into the otherworldly aesthetics of the Lawrence Welk Show is worth the price alone.

Then there’s the fairly interesting articles on how writing about music is like dancing about architecture complete with various literary examples.

Then there’s the shit that makes me want to throw the damn thing against the wall. A godawful paean to the lyrics of some Indie rock sensitive artist that reads like a Pitchfork review sans the snark and with triple the unearned importance. The almost painful centerpiece article about Beth Ditto, who apparently is a stereotype of all the annoying aspects of the painfully cool, from the “famous for being famous” done hipster style, to the definition of “punk” which includes acting like an ADHD child while amongst the general public, mouthing the political and sexual platitudes that is Puritanism wearing Burroughs’ dirty raincoat as a disguise, to just general pointless self-indulgence and excess that doesn’t even try to be tasteful, witty, or even self-aware.

If a hot chick with barely any musical talent strips down during a show and acts like a vapid fashion show hopping party girl offstage, she’s a trashy Pussycat Doll. If a fat dyke does the same damn thing, she’s the darling of the hipster media.

Often even with the good articles, like last year’s inquiry into Bill Fox has that certain myth-building, “my-aren’t-we-profound” sorta feel to it that grates. It’s no wonder, Bill Fox reputedly said he’d like to punch the writer in the face.

Add to that the PC lip-service that ruins perfectly good articles like the Karl May one, which while factually fascinating, did the great disservice of thematically linking the depictions of the Wild West written for Germans that were actually pretty progressive for its times (with old Shatterfist helping bring the Indians into Christianity and restoring peace on the frontier) to the genocidal visions of May’s most infamous fanboy, a certain Adolf Hitler.

Frankly I’m torn. Where else can I get articles about the obscurities, the artists and writers that fall through the cracks of history, the odd takes on pop cultural things without the whole social and political subtext I find obnoxious?

And no, it’s not the leftward slant of it either. I find traditionalist monologues that refuse to accept anything culturally or aesthetically avant-garde pretty grating as well. It’s the whole interpreting art through a lens of social peer group enforced norms rather than on its own  merits.