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

  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by confucius
    it seems to me what would be useful at this juncture is a working definition of hipsterism that we can all more or less agree on.

    hipster: a catch-all term for a social group which includes but is not limited to all the youth/fringe/(more or less) anti-establishment groups that have come before such as the Dandy, the Beatnik, the Hippie, the Mod, etc, etc. This lump term exists, is a product of, and is only possible, within the context of a post-modern period of culture known as Pluralism.

    what do we think?
    Can we just split it into two groups, HIP (ie Japanese dominatrix / ethno-electroclash* singer Amrita ; "Right to Work" by Chelsea ; DJ Rupture) and BORING (ie - Coldplay ; "Loveless" by MBV ; Wiley)?

    * that's how she puts it, don't have a go at the messenger boy

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by martin
    "Loveless" by MBV
    Nothing boring about this.

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    actually, as a possible revision of my earlier post, maybe the "hipster" has a unique relationship to consumer capitalism compared to the youth groups that have existed before. the brand whore phenonmenon, the consumer fetishism, the lifestyle accessories, the signifiers of rebellion as fashion statement.

    so which do you agree with, this post or the earlier one? (definition of hipster as catch-all phrase or hipster as something unique to our times)

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    if hipness is possessing a kind of knowledge, then it implies membership in or passage through some kind of culture or scene (or at least special access to the scene) = o/w the knowledge of "what's going on" would be purely superficial and therefore not really knowledge

    hipness means knowing the score

    knowing the score about race relations, drugs, the power of music, the poverty of the workaday world

    involvement in some kind of (particular) scene is the path to this kind of (universal) knowledge

    (of course this is an idealized account of what it means to be "hip" -- and slightly at odds with what i said about hipness upthread)

    today people often confuse being "trendy" for being hip
    Last edited by dominic; 28-06-2005 at 04:50 AM.

  5. #20
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    Loveless isn't boring, but writing about Loveless is rather boring. Can we have a ten-year moratorium on this record please, in order to give ourselves the chance to rediscover it?

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    for example, i know this girl who's in her late 30s, very cool and on the level, has all kinds of friends, plays lots of 60s and 70s funk and latin sounds, and has more style in her right pinky finger than other women do in their entire wardrobe

    she's hip

    and were you to see her walking down the street you'd probably call her a hipster

    and yet she's certainly not cutting edge

    and it's no longer the case that she belongs to a scene, though she's of course conversant in the djs and records that interest her (i.e., old sounds)

    and once a person's hip to the extent she is, i don't think it's the kinda thing that can be lost

    it's like a status that once achieved, remains in effect until you die

    that's why certain jazz musicians in their 80s or 90s are still hip

    why keith richards is hip

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    but also why charlie watts is a zillion times hipper than keef

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    i meant it as a "despite everything" example

    i.e., once the threshold of "truly hip" is crossed, you remain blessed no matter the gravity or chronicity of your sins

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    so that's what's wrong with hipsterism, is that what today passes for it is actually just trendy bullshitters, poseurs and biters. conformist packs of self-righteous MTV-babies. Vapid fashion victims who does not acknowledge the big wide world outside their little circle of cliche friends. and this would also explain why the word is almost always used with a negative connotation.

  10. #25
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    Isn't hipster nothing more than a pejorative term, a projection onto someone else of personal judgments?

    I mean, has anyone ever heard anyone say, out loud, that they are a hipster? I've certainly spent a certain amount of time in The Black Cave Of Deepest Darkest Hipsterdom (aka Williamsburg) and I don't think I've ever heard anyone describe themself as a 'hipster'; I've only heard the term used to refer to other people or for whole groups in aggregate. It just seems to be a catch-all term for musicians, artists, designers, and hangers-on that people dislike in some way (even if they are people who themselves would be considered hipsters by others).

    Dominic is right about the cutting-edge thing; the dominant pulse of what is considered NY hipsterdom is indie rock, which is one of the most sonically conservative forces out there.

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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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    oh please let's try and do better than that never more tired old meme about People Only Buy What They're Told we're all held down by The Man maaaaannnnnn. i don't see security guards in hmv frogmarching (hah!) customers to c/frog and c/play cds at bayonet point.

    the last time there was a mandate for politically committed music was 1985. look at the embarrassment of riches that came out of that era - redskins, style council, faith brothers, big sound authority, latin quarter, billy bastard bragg, all yours for a fiver the lot at mve.

    i don't really understand why simon wants to scamper back to that golden age.

  13. #28
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    (nb: this of course discounts all the musical microclimates like improv etc. viz. smallscale models of what society should be - functions normally on its own terms and within its self-restricting circle but otherwise The World pays no mind to them)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Verinder
    oh please let's try and do better than that never more tired old meme about People Only Buy What They're Told we're all held down by The Man
    are you fucking kidding me??? of course most people only buy what they are told by advertising. this fact is not really even contestable. most people work so much they don't have time to develop individual tastes and consume what the media tells them they should want. atleast in the US this is very apparent.

    have you talked to any "normal" people lately? people who think Bjork is WAY too strange and out-there? I bet the micro-community of electro-acoustic improvisors you hang out with has made you a bit out of touch with the Real World™.

    same with fashion, as I pointed out in another thread, every girl on Sunset blvd dresses like Jessica Simpson and every dude tries to look like Brad Pit (whether they actually look good in those outfits or not) and these are the supposed taste "makers" in LA whom the rest of the country copies. so it's like sheep imitating sheep.

    it's difficult to underestimate the degree to which 90 percent of the population is spoon fed and brainwashed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by confucius
    it's difficult to underestimate the degree to which 90 percent of the population is spoon fed and brainwashed.
    It's difficult to underestimate how stupid it is to extrapolate anything from what music people buy, or clothes they wear.

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