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

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Verinder
    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.
    what does "a mandate" mean exactly? besides which, almost none of those groups were successful or popular (and they were of course crap)... moreover there's been plenty of political pop and rock bands since then, some of them way more popular (manics, rage against the machine, certain hip hop artists) than the 1985 soulcialist contingent

    i'm talking about Pop-ism's anti-snob posture as a kind of pseudo-populism w/o any political bite or political corrolary, and from that you leap to the notion i want to bring back the Redksins (who i critiqued to within an inch of their lives in my very first Melody maker live review)?

    that's an unusually strained argument, even for you "Rachel"!

  2. #32
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    John Eden,

    do you think I have never associated or talked to or even tried to befriend the kind of people I described above? I am NOT making broad geo-political generalizations based on appearance and choice of music alone. I have worked with, partied with, come across and known countless people whose lives are so shallow and provincial it's scary. these are the ignorant bigots that have no inkling how ignorant and bigoted they are.

    I'm not being a snob. just telling it like it is.

  3. #33
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    in regard to looking for vital energy, i cant help but think of grime - how energy is its main calling card and what bearing that has on how popular it is with hipster types. hipsters seem to get a bad rep though for not liking something because they actually do deep down, but simply because they think they should, or because no one likes it, which makes them theoretically somewhat empty as they dont like anything because they do, its all gauged on the percieved perception/opinion of others. flying in the face of convention for the sake of it.
    Last edited by gumdrops; 29-06-2005 at 05:11 PM.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by confucius
    John Eden,

    do you think I have never associated or talked to or even tried to befriend the kind of people I described above? I am NOT making broad geo-political generalizations based on appearance and choice of music alone. I have worked with, partied with, come across and known countless people whose lives are so shallow and provincial it's scary. these are the ignorant bigots that have no inkling how ignorant and bigoted they are.

    I'm not being a snob. just telling it like it is.
    Well our experiences are very different then. But ok "90%" of people you've met are worthless consumer zombies. That is a pity.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOEBOT
    This might seem like a vapid remark, but would you want to eat rotting vegetables? Who reads yesterdays papers?
    I'd say this is exactly a tendency of the hipster modus vivendi: eating raw vegetables instead of carefully prepared dishes, reading newspapers instead of books. The typical hipster consumes the grapes du jour instead of enjoying a vintage wine. This is my first problem with hipsterism: blinded by the newness of things, refined taste and historical perspective are diminished. "It doesn't have to be a timeless masterpiece as long as it is fresh or new."

    The second problem follows from the first. In a sense and to a certain degree, the hipster sacrifices not only a historical perspective but also her individual taste on the altar of the Now. Considering only the fresh and new, the choices are greatly reduced, disqualifying things that might in reality be much closer to her taste.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearsall
    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'
    Isn't the actual reason that, while 'knowing you are so wonderfully hip' it is completely uncool to proclaim that you are a hipster, even in America? That it is uncool to stress your coolness?

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonseq
    Isn't the actual reason that, while 'knowing you are so wonderfully hip' it is completely uncool to proclaim that you are a hipster, even in America? That it is uncool to stress your coolness?
    Well, yes.

    Now I feel stupid.

  8. #38
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    sorry
    great plasticman interview btw!

  9. #39
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    Confucius said:
    “It’s difficult to underestimate the degree to which 90% of the population is spoon fed and brainwashed.”

    John Eden replied:
    "It’s difficult to underestimate how stupid it is to extrapolate anything from what music people buy, or clothes they wear.”

    Black and white, night and day. Is it that simple either way? I think not. People generally like to feel they are part of a larger movement and thus to feel ‘validated’. Safety in numbers. Once you leave the mainstream you’re out on your own and it’s scary… what if you’re wrong? Much safer to adorn your clothes with safety pins and belong to Punk, or grow your hair long and belong to Hippy. Or constantly seek the New and belong to Hipster.

    Before this thread started I had no idea that Hipster was a term used these days. I thought it was something Sammy Davis Junior or Lord Buckley might say. For me music is a joy, a marvelous decoration of time and although I find some genres rather opaque (Thrash, Heavy Metal and the stuff I used to hear emanating from the Methodist chapel in my village) I can usually find ‘something’ I can feel, for want of a better way of putting it, in every genre I’ve come across, from Mongolian throat singing, Japanese brothel music, Gregorian chant, Flamenco, Chanson, Alan Lomax field recordings, Baku accoustic, the Mills Brothers to Punk, Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock… and on to you name it. There is so much fabulous music out there that I’ve yet to hear. I don’t care if it’s rooted in the mists of time or comes out of a computer as I listen – if it hits the spot.

    I do wonder about people who wed themselves to a particular type of music but if it works for them… I worked in a paint warehouse in France years ago with a guy who lived for Elvis Presley. He invited me to his house for dinner and there was nothing anywhere that wasn’t Elvis. I have a student here in Tokyo who only listens to The Clash – she says she loves Joe Strummer. So what? Are they hip? They are nice enough people and are likely unaware who the prime minister of their country is.

    All this second-guessing of people’s motives for liking any particular kind of music strikes me as strange. It might give you a nice, fuzzy, warm feeling inside to think you’ve got other people pegged and that by knowing them and what makes them tick you might even feel you are somehow superior, but as Edward Said in Orientalism, that is the mechanism by which one people feels justified in subjugating another. And that’s worth being wary of.
    It's never been explained

  10. #40
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    take for instance this girl I used to be friends with (she was a friend of a friend but we ended up hanging out sometimes), nice person, sweet girl. but she worked at HBO and all she would talk about is HBO constantly and celebrities and HBO parties and dated HBO guys. I think I was the only person who didn't belong to that circle that she was friends with. she was not interested in ANYTHING else outside of HBO and hollywood. she takes FOX news to be the truth and does not question GWB when he makes a speech. we finally got into an argument over politics and I stopped being friends with her.

    all my real friends are super independent thinkers who know more about free jazz than the Wire editors, amazing artists and film makers... but none the less I think most people in this city, if not the world, are sheep. especially the "alternative" kids who are just sheep in wolve's clothing.

  11. #41
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    Hmm... so hipsters have no inner will and enjoy music not because it fulfills them, but because it's a status symbol, cultural signal, mating signal, etc. It clearly isn't the overall popularity of the music that defines what they like, but some inexplicable lust for novelty and newness.

    I'm not sure I buy it. I mean, I'd buy that most people who are picked out as hipsters or scenesters are playing an image game with how they dress and behave, and that some people in the world use fresh music as the currency of cool. Still... to me, this sounds like the criticism of the popular kids in high school by those who weren't popular: that the popular students are such by virtue of their fakeness. This unfortunately ignores the fact that there's a level of fakeness involved in most smooth social interaction. Do you act like yourself in front of cops? Or your mom?

    Some people are more comfortable changing the way they behave as a consequence of the context they find themselves in. People who aren't, in my humble observation, tend to find a single group of friends they feel comfortable with and stick closely to them. That works out fine until they start dating each other.

  12. #42
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    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.
    oh go back to your first year sociology class and grow up, sonny boy.

    still i suppose it's asking too much for americans to display any evidence of intelligence.

  13. #43
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    There's an element of truth in saying "people only buy what they are told to buy", even if it sounds ridiculous when you consider a single person thinking this way.

    Without publicity of some kind, nothing becomes popular. The word publicity just describes the process of information about a particular brand/meme/rapper/etc spreading through the population. The spread can be organic (word of mouth, especially in the age of the cellphone, IM, and blog) or it can result from purchasing adspace and publicity campaigns in the various largely one-way media available in increasing quantity to the American public since 1945. Dumping money into the publicity machine does, unfortunately, result in people buying albums.

    Having power and money gives you an advantage in the eternal quest to acquire more power and money. This isn't news. Hell, if you resent people for liking commercial pop you ignore the fact that the purpose of commercial pop is to be liked by the maximum number of persons with disposable income.

  14. #44
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    really? well, welcome to the world of capitalism.

    the real power, as i have said a zillion times before in a zillion different places, is with the consumer - not to throw away throwaway pop, to be moved (to tears/laughter/sex/suicide) by it despite its inbuilt disposability factors.

    and who's to argue that, say, cathy dennis doesn't put as much Honest Joy and Passion and Life into what she does as ariel pink does? it's a very jejeune argument.

    but none of this changes the fact that nobody has ever been TOLD to go and buy a record. asked, persuaded...but never told.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundslike1981
    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.
    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 maaaaannnnnn. i don't see security guards in hmv frogmarching (hah!) customers to c/frog and c/play cds at bayonet point.
    Way to be intellectually condescending whilst oversimplifying an argument to sub-mental levels in order to avoid having to argue a counterpoint.

    Unless you were trying to concisely exemplify the exact sort of reactionary-relativist, anti-anti-corporate intellectual disingenuousness I was pointing to. In which case, well done.

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