This was spawned by a well-phrased and timed IM comment by a loved one. We’ve often commented on Hipsterism. She finds it funny. I recognize that it’s frequently funny, but do so while freely admitting that yes, I myself am a hipster.
She asked me, “How does it feel to identify strongly with a subculture transitioning to mainstream?”
Here is my answer, lifted from the following conversation, only slightly edited:
That’s complicated….it’s like being in line, how the best place in any line is “next” — you’re almost there, you’ve completed the journey and are drunk on anticipation. Any second, a window will open up, and you get to step up to the teller window or something. But once you do, your journey is over, and you have to start all over again. So as long as you can maintain that position, ride just ahead of that wave of what is mainstream, it’s euphoric. In my view, or how I embrace Hipsterdom, it’s surfing culture — just out in front of that wave, always looking for the next one, doing it because we love it, love finding something to love — a thing, a movement, a sound — that the mass consciousness isn’t really into. So, there’s they long answer.
She followed up with, “… I’m glad I asked that specific question. I had a slightly more smart-ass tinged one as I started typing but it transformed. I was originally going to ask “How does it feel to identify strongly with a subculture?”
This sounds like a hipster thing to say, but Hipsterism is almost an anti-sub-cuture sub-culture. When I think sub-culture, I think of a group that has a strong core, like fandom. The sub-culture of football fans, or gamers, or Trekies, for instance. Their sub-culture is kind of defined by certain behaviors. It’s fandom, but in a group. And I’m not that big of a fan. That kind of attachment to a sub-culture has no interest to me. The strong identification with the Hipster sub-culture is that it’s almost by definition non-exclusive, and a little less non-group oriented. You make your own rules, you change them when you want, you follow your passion — whatever it happens to be at the time. it’s more lead, less follow.
So there you go, gentle readers…my thoughts on my what it is to be a hipster. Play along at home. It’s easy. Follow what you love without apology. It can be as diverse as you want. In my opinion, the more diverse, the better. But don’t lose yourself in it. Let your love define your interest instead of having your interest define your life.
And cool facial hair doesn’t hurt.