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Hip to the Hipster

September 28, 2009

Much digital ink has been spilled analyzing one of the most intriguing philosophical problems of contemporary culture: what is that is so irksome about Hipsters.  Scoff if you like, but this sub-culture is simply the latest synthesis  of the dialectic that modernism began at the turn of the 20th century.

Namely, Hipsterdom seems to be the result of recursively applying irony to irony.  Hipsters intend to be so ironic and meaningful in their deliberateness that the very meaning of irony is lost entirely.  The problem is that the hipster sensibility of personal superiority is relatively universal amongst young people, but nobody really believes themselves to be a dirty, reprehensible hipster, since there is always a stereotype or two that one can disclaim, thereby further fitting into the definition of hipster.  It’s like a mental puzzle box, but I think that Adam Clair, though he may just be a hipster apologist in disguise, hits the nail on the head in describing and analyzing the phenomenon:

But those who decry this hipster are guilty of the same thing: identifying problems without suggesting solutions. It’s iconoclasm at its worst. Tearing down elements of culture can be valuable, but the zeitgeist is not a zero-sum game; that is, countering the hipster critiques doesn’t cancel them out and in fact only intensifies the acrimony on both sides.

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