The cycling enthusiasts who repainted a bike lane in Williamsburg and were arrested for it early this week have, we think, achieved a journalistic watershed in mainstreaming the use of the word “hipster.”
Sure, there was the Hipster Grifter story, itself a kind of watershed, but hers was a fringe phenomenon — a bright young thing preying on other, not-so-bright young things. Her hipster-on-hipster crime was strictly intramural, like something out of an old paperback about beatniks ripping off each other’s girls and weed. No one would long remember Charlie Manson if he had just wasted Gary Hinman.
But the rogue biker story shows the hipster to be a force within the greater community, moving against both The Man and his Hasidic neighbors.
Many Hasidim had opposed the bike lane, in part because it brings underdressed women through their district (though not at this time of year) thereby challenging their religious sensibilities. When the city scrubbed it, presumably in deference to their feelings, some activists painted part of it back. These cowboys insist they have some orthodox Jews in their number (“We’re self-hating Jewish hipsters”), but the Post finds one resident who claims the crime is being “overlooked because it’s committed against the terrible Hasidim.”
Gawker laughs at this battle of “Brooklyn’s hottest stereotypes,” and confesses that “hearing every ‘square’ news outlet saying ‘hipster’ as they report this story really hammers home the point of how annoying it probably is when we say ‘hipster,’ all the time.” Get used to it. Soon the media will be tracking down hipsters who commit crimes outside of their Williamsburg warrens, and talking about a scourge of them menacing decent, non-hipster citizens. Maybe they’ll find a Spoon Ranch. Then they’ll have truly come of age. Image via Streetsblog.