19 February 2009

The Hipster Must Die? Adbusters article generates 3000+ comments

I'm not an anarchist but I still like to read Adbusters, the sometimes frothing-at-the-mouth "anti-consumerist" magazine. It's good to keep an eye on the extreme ends of any debate, and Adbusters seems like the extreme left to me. I sympathize with some of the anti-consumer mentality but the occasional "death to the capitalists" rants send shivers up me timbers.

I didn't have the time or inclination to pore through the 3000+ comments on this article about the hipster-as-demise-of-the-counterculture, but I read a page or two. Basically the argument is that the self-absorbed, dance-club-frequenting, thrift-store-apparel-wearing cool kids should be fomenting some kind of social rebellion rather than pissing away their nights trying to get laid (or failing that, trying to get their pictures taken by "social bloggers"). Yawn. The comments were more amusing: one forwarded the economic thesis of the "productive" vs. the "consumer" hipster--the productive hipster buys his clothes from thrift stores, somehow subverting their original symbology. Imagine that! The consumers, of course, buy the same clothes from the consignment shops that the producers sold them to. I'll have to run that one by my micro-economist friend to see if it makes more sense to him than it did to me.

When I first ran across the magazine a couple of years ago on the newstands I was impressed by the graphic design and the thought-provoking and thought-out articles, but pieces like this are something of a letdown. Being so passionate that you are beyond hip or in denial of your desire to be hip seems to me the essence of one-upmans(hip).

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