Times Hipster-Bashing Perversely Arouses Our Sympathy


In an objective correlative to the Simpsons scene in which Bart loses so much status that Martin is scoring off him, the New York Times runs “Parents Pulling the Plug on Williamsburg Trust-Funders,” in which even the traditional measured Times-speak cannot conceal the schadenfreude. In the recession, a local realtor reveals, many of his heretofore subsidized young tenants “are moving back with parents,” and a Northside cafe owner says she has “seen a steady number of applicants, in their late 20s, who had never held paid jobs: They were interns at a modeling agency, for example, or worked at a college radio station… They say, ‘You want me to work eight hours?'” They even get the guy who wrote The Hipster Handbook to verify that this comeuppance is not obvious in the streets because even when flush trustafarians dress like hobos, and note that “the cutbacks for the more privileged residents are a welcome change for locals who have struggled to support themselves without parental help.”

We might be at the Turkey’s Nest now, or at least once the sun passed the yardarm, sharing a cup of unkindness with the stuggling locals, had we not been chased from the district by escalating rents years ago. As it is, we find ourselves sympathetic to the dispossessed trust-funders, partly due to the healing power of time and distance, partly because the disillusionment of youth is poignant even when they happen to be rich, but also because we have read many Times stories about the transitions of Williamsburg before, such as this corker from 2004 (“Mr. Fatjo’s truly dope duplex loft is not in the gentrified Williamsburg of investment bankers and corporate media types… This is the Williamsburg where a spoonful of party helps the squalor go down”), and feel that no crime, even normally unforgivable crimes of lifestyle, deserve that kind of treatment.