Intellectualizing Hipsters is the New Hipster Intellectualism


Does the idea of hipsters as a sociological group or hipsterism as a sociological trend really merit the studying of hipsters as if they were an anthropological goldmine waiting to be excavated for crucial insights into the contemporary human psyche?

Apparently so. Not that this is the first time anybody’s ever had a panel discussion on what hipsters are in New York, but at least this lineup is moderately interesting:

  • The “Stuff Hipsters Hate” bloggers.
  • Hipster Lit-Boy Tao Lin.
  • Hipster Photog Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter.
  • Vice co-founder and Street Carnage founder Gavin McInnes
  • A UCLA history professor.
  • Other people.

The flyer:

So, in Los Angeles tonight, some hipsters and hipster-haters (who are inherently hipsters, anyway) will duke it over over a terse, quasi-academic discussion. For New York, that’s like, so 2009. Just ask Brooklyn-based literary journal n+1, who are set to release a book entitled What Was The Hipster? later this week, also subtitled “A SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION.” The cover:

In it, you will find:

  • An essay by n+1 editor Mark Greif.
  • An essay by Christian Lorentzen — who wrote Time Out: New York‘s infamous “The Hipster Must Die” piece — entitled “I Was Wrong.”
  • A transcript of the n+1 panel about hipsters. Yes, a full transcript.
  • An essay entitled “The Death of the Hipster.”
  • The New York Observer piece on the n+1 panel by Reid Pillifant (available for free right here).
  • An essay by blogger The Assimilated Negro (aka Patrice Evans) entitled “Hip-hop and Hipsterism.”
  • An essay entitled “Williamsburg Year Zero.”
  • Another essay by Mark Greif entitled “Epitaph for the White Hipster.”

If there is anything more painfully pretension-laden than printing a full transcript of the panel you were on, and then the New York Observer piece covering it, I truly do not now nor ever want to know what it is. Or as n+1 editor Mark Grief writes (insert German word for “with mind-blowingly ostentatious self-regard“) in the introduction:

Those of you who have encountered hipsters in real life, in other words, may surely complain of the characterizations in this book. But to those of you who are reading this in 2050, I can only say: Everything in this book is true, and its impressions are perfect.

In 2050, we can only hope humans have better shit to do than read about hipsters in 2010. Otherwise, we should probably give up on caring about the threat of nuclear proliferation: whatever there is left to save likely has just become not-very-worth-it.

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