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.
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.