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Thread: What the blinkers is wrong with being a hipster?

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  1. #1
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    Question What the blinkers is wrong with being a hipster?

    (absolutely no apologies whatsoever for posting this in the thought forum)

    Lots obviously. If being a hipster actually means copying what other people do, making decisions based not on what is meritorious and splendid but what is a generational consensus. If it means not actually thinking for yourself and not thinking. If, I suppose, it means valuing something on the basis of its radiosity above anything else.

    The thing is, almost everyone I know who would be pejoratively described as a "hipster" is almost by definition ahead of the curve. They're searchers (scarves fluttering in wind). They're actually the last people in the world to follow anyone's lead.

    That last point though is maybe problematic. Radiosity. The thing about "hipsters" is that real quotient on the hipster-icity is their ability to sense what sounds "fresh". This could be genuinely problematic. (stepping back slightly) As someone who might be construed a "hipster" I often worry that always valuing something on the basis of its vital energy means that my listening (and this could equally apply to Art, Film whatevs) tends to be consumed in a heat of white light. Its quite often difficult to hear anything other than energy. Also seeking energy can obviously make one feel quite superficial, like a moth.

    On the other hand, what is there but energy? This might seem like a vapid remark, but would you want to eat rotting vegetables? Who reads yesterdays papers? And although Bergson gets quite short shrift in these parts (you have to read the books themselves people, not trade in assumptions) isn't the vital force that which is most divine?

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    "energy is eternal delight" blake

    http://www.physics.hku.hk/~tboyce/ss.../marriage.html

    not sure if this helps your point or not but we've been blakeless for a while

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    You know Bergson is widely taught in Japan, epicentre of neomania?

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    i plough my particular furrow. sometimes people follow it. more often they make their excuses and depart. i plough in a slow, calm and patient manner because i don't feel i'm in a competition. the reserves of energy you haven't used up when you've finished your day's labouring mean you end up more "energetic" than those who use it all up in a flash of light which blinds for about the first two seconds, and then what have you left?

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    {I often worry that always valuing something on the basis of its vital energy means that my listening (and this could equally apply to Art, Film whatevs) tends to be consumed in a heat of white light. Its quite often difficult to hear anything other than energy. Also seeking energy can obviously make one feel quite superficial, like a moth.}

    A neat summation of the issue. "Hipster" is often used as a pejorative term (frequently by me ) because there's a negative aspect to it -- particularly its neophilia-as-neurosis and, worse, the "hipper-than-thou" self righteousness. It leads to a certain sniffiness about the popular or anything which isn't ground-breaking -- as is sometimes expressed about banging techno or big room house or classic seventies funk. Or, I dunno, Richard Curtice films maybe.

    That aspect of hipsterism is unattractive and annoying. But critics of hipsterism (and hipsters) should afford it (and them) the courtesy of recognising that scenes don't happen without hipsters: they're an essential cog in the innovation machine.

    Long live hipsters, and long may they be around for we of a puckish nature to take the piss out of!
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    it's long interested me, this sort of self-flagellating thing, where people who are patently hipsters use "hipster" as an insult c.f. rock critics who use "rock critic" as a pejorative adjective, e.g. "that's such a rock critic mentality"...

    there's a new book on Hip by John Leland that's quite interesting, a history of the idea -- the intro is a bit cringy (too 'hep' in tone) but it gets interesting when he gets into the archaeology of the idea, and how it comes from this African word that means 'to know' or 'to see clearly', and how the core of it is white bohemians cultivating a relationship with black culture, hipness measured in your knowledge of blackness. obviously that's where it started, with jazz, with the Beats etc, but i think it's still got a lot of applicablity --indeed you could applicate to a lot of the discussions at Dissensus

    you could mount a defence of the hipster project without too much difficulty, but would anyone step to a defence of snobbery? "Snob" is the one thing nobody wants to be, it's the strawman that much of the pro-pop argument is fighting...

    To suggest that a whole swathe of people are benighted and bamboozled on account of their bad taste or from swallowing what the mass media offers---that's like the UNSAYABLE thing now

    yet this cultural populism is utterly divorced from political populism (ie. commitment to eradicating the inequalities that create class-determined taste distinctions)

    it's like an inside-out version of how the Left used to be (pro-social justice and wealth distribution, Reithian/Penguin Modern Classics pro-high culture benificence, anti-Americanisation and sniffy re. pop culture; or the Soviets with their subsidised, incredibly cheap tickets to opera and ballet so proles can be ennobled by Art etc)

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    isnt that because cultural populism actually makes money, whereas political populism is costly - eg spreading birtney to the masses = revenue of $$$, ensuring good standard of education to the masses = bill of $$$ to gov.?

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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    you could mount a defence of the hipster project without too much difficulty, but would anyone step to a defence of snobbery? "Snob" is the one thing nobody wants to be, it's the strawman that much of the pro-pop argument is fighting...
    ha! yes thats a tricky one. especially (speaking poisonally) cos essentially one is a bit of toff, and the very idea of being a snob, well its extremely problematic. i suppose being a critic defending (lets face it) marginal music, is some kind of weird detente screwed up ex-public school boys come to

    actually there is one other negative thing that could be levelled at hipsters, and this may be the commonsense/commongarden problem people who arent obsessed with various strands of culture to a monomaniacal degree have with hipsters, that they invest too much faith in the fripperies and vagaries of culture.

    watched The Pianist with my wife this evening, the first serious film we've taken in in years (anyone with two children and no childcare will understand our predicament!) and confronting things like the holocaust (or more accurately representations of them) its incredibly levelling. one just wonders how important culture is. obv that film is making some points about the validity of culture, but "the pianist" himself, he who floats above the wreckage all around him by merit of his finesse, well he's an ambivalent figure i suppose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    it's long interested me, this sort of self-flagellating thing, where people who are patently hipsters use "hipster" as an insult c.f. rock critics who use "rock critic" as a pejorative adjective, e.g. "that's such a rock critic mentality"
    otm. only a hipster would use the word 'hipster.' and even though it may describe a very real social/cultural group, the word itself is always used negatively, which leads me to believe that there is a self-loathing inherent in hipsterness, or at least un-ease in one's own skin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger

    To suggest that a whole swathe of people are benighted and bamboozled on account of their bad taste or from swallowing what the mass media offers---that's like the UNSAYABLE thing now

    yet this cultural populism is utterly divorced from political populism (ie. commitment to eradicating the inequalities that create class-determined taste distinctions)

    Exactly. That's what I wasn't getting in the "Definition of Rockism" thread--the pseudo populism I detect in the antirock-ist/anti-rockist "camp"---though maybe I'm seeing "pop-ists"--seems to relativise (not a word, is it?) political action or criticism out of possibility: conflating popular with of the people, refusing to believe that the mega-corporate structure as it's related to music may have a vested interest in telling people what they should want, not asking what people want and providing it. And yet all the bitching about the hegemony of mediocre rock--Coldplay and other bands I haven't heard--is the one exception.

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