Monday, August 18, 2008


Read the closing line of this AdBusters article on "hipsters." While it's very well-written, I think it is being really unfairly critical:
We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

Doesn't it seem like every generation is criticized for some form of "copying"? What generation of young people HASN'T been accused of hypocritically co-opting the past generation's revolution?

I have experienced this phenomenon in two different ways: one, being a part of GenX, we were forever criticized for our "retro" tastes: wearing vintage clothes, swing dancing, etc. And two, as a graphic designer, especially in the late '90s. We were always looking for a retro-hip look and were greatly criticized for not being "innovative" but rather just glomming onto whatever had already been designed and regurgitating it while trying to be ironic.

I would rather see it as we were taking the prescribed uses for things and twisting them. I speak for anyone who's taken a streamlined "Frigidaire" typeface and used it as a magazine headline or skate park logo.

My conclusion? Lay off the current crop of hipsters. Ironic re-appropriation is a legitimate form of art, especially when the resulting look or sound or attitude makes an impression. And, doesn't this author know that the cool kids never overtly called themselves "cool"? Being a hipster is the same thing -- those that are, would never say it.

1 comment: said...

The Scottish artist Momus has written the best rebuttal of the Adbusters article I've seen yet.