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Late to the Game: Geeks and Hipsters

Posted by on July 19, 2012

I can’t articulate why, exactly, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what frustrates me so much about a cultural subgroup that has been dubbed “the Hipsters”. I finally came to the conclusion that I am mad because Hipsters are co-opting Geek things for themselves in an “ironic” (read: insincere) way. And for Geeks, that’s making a mockery of all one holds dear, which explains why Geeks would hate Hipsters, if they were capable of hate.

But let’s back up. Some of you might not know much about these “Hipsters” of which I speak. This is how I would describe Hipsters: people who dress weird (eternal stocking caps and skinny jeans) and try to look casually cool, like they don’t really care if you think they’re cool but smugly  know that they are. I envision Hipsters having been in that nebulous middle-area in high school, not quite popular but not getting antagonized daily for their nerdiness; the quiet ones who just kind of flew under the radar. The ones who maybe played on the B squad of some not-so-popular sport (tennis, or ironic golf). Now in the full bloom of their mature adult life, they have taken on the mantle of vinyl-collecting, shutter-shade and tank-top wearing, my-tastes-are-so-discerning guys who try to make geeky things popular. And yes, tank tops on guys. Meet the Hipsters.

Meanwhile, Geeks are just over here, sincerely doing their thing: marching to the beat of another drummer. They have never cared much about popularity, because it was clear from an early age that they were not going to be attaining that. They focused on being nice, perhaps to a fault; they grew a vast garden of tech-related knowledge and filled their closets with a) colored jeans BEFORE they were ironically popular and b) kick-ass costumes to wear to Cons (or Halloween).

As someone who has long self-identified as a Geek (though, more accurately, I am probably a Nerd), the Hipsters coming along and trying to popularize the marginalized was just…annoying. And thus my tirade began. But Joe (definitely a Geek, my friends) has pointedly looked at me on many an occasion when I begin my verbal assault on Hipsters. You see, it’s very un-Geek-like of me to get so mad about it. And, in fact, the insinuation seemed to be that *I* was, myself, perhaps a Hipster.



I have played D&D. I know more about comic book superheros than I care to admit. Okay, I will admit… I know a lot, and I like it. I wear glasses because I need to wear glasses. I do not wear over-large 1980’s vintage glasses frames, either, but nerdish square frames. But it seems I am not the first to explore the overlaps and conflicts between the Geek and Hipster subcultures. And when I took a good, long look at this brilliant graphic, I came to a horrifying conclusion:

According to this, I am part-Hipster.

Geeks vs Hipsters

Case in point: MY INTERESTS.

Also, two of my favorite movies:

The ones on the Geek side of the graph don’t make my top-20. I haven’t even seen 2/3 of them.

So, in conclusion: I have a lot of Hipster “traits”. But I do not self-identify as a Hipster, and not because the chart says I won’t, but because I just don’t *feel* like one. I’ve always been on the edges, and I’ve grown into feeling really, really good about that. You know, not in the “I’m going to make this look cool” sense, but in the “I appreciate the perspective out here” sense.

Plus, it’s where my family lives. And if it weren’t already so late on a weekday night, I might suggest a quick mini-campaign just to feel the 20-sider popping around in my palms.

6 Responses to Late to the Game: Geeks and Hipsters

  1. Jodi Kuehn

    Too funny!! It’s like one of those Cosmo quizzes…Are You A Geek or Hipster? Answer our 10 questions to find out!!

    So, of course, I had to take “the quiz.” And…
    Despite the graphic design and photography, and that I’ve seen (and enjoyed) both Once and Sunshine, I definitely fall into the Geek category. My iPod contains both Techno and Dragonforce (aside from Johnny Cash and the Clash, I’ve never even *heard* of the other bands on the Hipster side) and I’ve seen all the Geek movies (newest Star Trek only, however). LOVED Shaun of the Dead. Hilarious. Oh, and obessive? Um, yeah. That’s me! =D

  2. Charlie

    Labels, man. Labels.

  3. Shawna

    Why does no one care about us “Spaz” types and what we’re wearing and into these days? (Since I know you reflexively answered in your mind, “You’re right, what are you over-reactive, concerned-about-random-shit type people into these days?” I would say that fashion mostly consists of the two preggo pants and one pair of shorts I have not worn the crotch out of yet, and then typically I wading through the cheap (i.e., “free”) reading material available on free-fridays Nook and what ever obscure and angsty adolescent drama series I can find on Instant Netflix (my current fab choice: Hidden Palms. . . and I’m a good several episodes in so my guess is there is probably only one season). My suspicion is that, at this point, I have answered my own question about why no one cares. :)

    • administrator

      Joe and I were both rolling reading this. You, milady, are a golden treasure of humanness. Love you!!!

  4. Crazy Aunt Linda

    I pride myself on never knowing what anyone is talking about, paging through People Magazine going, “who ARE these People?” and being afraid to turn on the TV for fear there will be a Special Report on the Tragedy in Aurora” by the Kardashians.
    Whichever of these 2 groups is the most lovable and politically savvy I say that’s the one you are in.
    My Brit friend, Big Wave Dave is always talking about 2 groups that were Fab when he was growing up: The Mods and The Rockers. I wanna be a Rocker
    p.s. It probably makes me a Geek but I just re watched the YouTube video of Kurt singing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” for the umpteenth time. Did you know I did not get a spell check for Umpteenth!?

  5. Manda

    I loved this post so much. I, also, am forced to identify (at least by the standards of your wonderful graphic) as somewhat of a Hipster. I also went on a date recently with a self-identified (and, now, a by-Courtney’s-blog-identified) Geek. And I adore him.

    Did I mention I loved this post so much? 😀

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