Monday, February 25, 2013

Could I Be a Hipster?

The first time I heard the term "hipster" was when reading the article that inspired this 2010 post — I had already been living overseas a decade-and-a-half, and hadn't bothered keeping up with American pop-cultural trends since the turn of the millennium. I had read about them from time to time after my 2011 repatriation, but hadn't really given them much until reading this Steve Sailer post a few weeks back — Why L.A. lags in hipster fashions. He wrote:
    The basic idea is to look like President McKinley wasn't assassinated and the whole 20th Century thing never happened. Back in the old days, people wore a lot of layers of wool because everybody lived in England or Cleveland or someplace and the coal for your stove wasn't free. To the eye of a Californian with central heating, everybody in sepia-toned photos looks awfully sweaty under all those clothes.
He then writes about when his "nonagenarian grandfather drove himself to Urban Outfitters and bought one of his grandsons a present of a wool cap, the kind of tweed thingie that Bobbie Jones' caddie at St. Andrews probably wore." I wear one of those things (although the missus tells me they are one of the top men's "fashions" that Korean women hate), and have been off-and-on since before the term "hipster" acquired its current currency. I also have been known to wish that "the whole 20th Century thing never happened," but clothes-wise I am not so extreme, and pretty much draw the line at 1962. The hair-style I've had for the past two decades, I've recently discovered, makes me look like a Southern segregationist, although the hipster "thick rimmed glasses" I've been wearing for the same time once inspired my mother to suggest I bore a resemblance to Malcolm X, when I wore a goatee.

But it is my musical taste that really inspired the question posed in this post's title. This screed, upon which I stumbled when searching for the above musical post (and which could apply to the one below it), really got me thinking — Not More Fucking Banjos! The author is against his local radio station "turning major blocks of programming to 'Americana' or 'Roots' – generally, folk, blues, country and country rock." He continues:
    Ok, I’m all for banjos and bluegrass and “Wagon Wheel,” and ironic tattoos and Pabst Blue Ribbon, but enough already! This Americana thing is not the end-all-be-all. (Whatever happened to rock and roll?) It’s already been an excruciating decade of weekend-redneck toothless hipsters forming Hank Sr. tribute bands. I’M OVER IT. Moving to Brooklyn, taking up banjo and heroin and getting a tattoo of bacon does not make you an artist. ENOUGH!

    Let me say this as clearly as I can: WHITE TRASH IS NOT COOL. Occasionally amusing, but that’s it. Racist misogynists in slave-trade wife-beater tank tops make for distracting cable television, but they are not an ideal to be actively sought after.

    Anybody who knows me has heard this rant already. I love Jim Waive – I love the Hogwaller Ramblers. More power to people who work in this genre from a position of authenticity. I think Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings are two of the most gifted songwriters/performers of our time. But that doesn’t mean everybody should be all dust bowl fabulous. ENOUGH ALREADY!
I, too, am "all for banjos and bluegrass and 'Wagon Wheel,'" and while I have no interest in "ironic tattoos," I understand those who drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, although I prefer my cheap beer to be local, and even wear "slave-trade wife-beater tank tops" when its hot, though not in public. Maybe I'm a folkster.

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May 1, 2013 at 8:32 PM  

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