If You Know What a Hipster Is... You Are One

Do you remember electroclash? I do. I worked at a club doing sound when it was big, and my easiest night was electroclash night. I mostly just had to turn the speakers on and make sure the DJ's CD decks were working. Of course I would get bored sitting at the soundboard, so I would boost the sound to ear-splitting levels while EQ-ing it to perfection. The nerdy DJ would actually get upset with me for making it too loud; that doesn't happen often. I couldn't help it though, the sound system the club had was super nice and hearing the Kylie Minogue/New Order "Blue Monday" mash-up super loud was the high point of my dull electroclash evening.

My point here is: that was a long time ago. And do you remember what everyone called electroclash kids? Hipsters. And the fluorescent wayfarer tote-bag No Age kids? Hipsters. And the freaky-folk beardos of Williamsberg and Echo Park? Hipsters. I don't think there has ever been a more overused label than hipster. So, lets just call a spade tattoo a spade tattoo while putting it all on the table:

If you know what a hipster is, you are one.

And that's just bein' real wit you... (If you recognized that as a Dre reference, +10 hipster points.) I'll go first. My name is Steven, and I'm a hipster. I'd claim that I'm too old, but since we've covered that with labels like old hipsters, grandpa hipsters and dad hipsters, I can't get off that easily. I do ride a track bike on the street. I live in Echo Park and I like records more than mp3s. I don't watch TV, unless it's on my MacBook (hipster...) I could go on. I love La Roux, I love Iron and Wine and I love The Smiths. I was even once -- and I'm scraping the bottom here -- in an American Apparel ad. What can I say, I was broke and they needed a dude on a bike. (I just scored bonus hipster points for self-deprecation with a heavy hint of bragging.) Oh yeah, and I love PBR.

I searched Twitter the other night trying to find out why army helicopters were flying over my house for three hours, and when I typed in Echo Park, I mostly had to wade through hipster-bashing snark. The first I noticed was about a toxic cloud floating from Japan to Echo Park and making a super-race of hipsters. Wah wah. The second was, "I just got my haircut in Silverlake, does that make me 1/4 hipster?" No, dude, it doesn't. It makes you 3/4 hipster that you even know what that means and a final 1/4 for then ragging on yourself while not even realizing it. Yeerrrr a hipster. Come meet the rest of the club members and crack a High Life.

I've thought about this hipster thing a lot and I believe I've figured it all out. In the past we were so easily separable. Rockers and Mods. Punks and Metalheads. Greasers and Socs. But with the rise of the over-informed internet age, the playing field has been leveled. Any Kansas mom can read up on Pitchfork about the new Warpaint record, and they do. Leaving the once "truly cool" feeling a bit lost with their place in this crazy world, because some days it almost appears that there isn't one for them (us). Without labels left to properly label, we've come up with "hipster" as this bizarre buck-passing placeholder. But in practice, it's really more like second generation Italians calling first generation ones Dagos or Wops. The only people who recognize the difference are those who are in too deep in the first place.

Getting us back to this self-deprecating-yet-unaware act by people you'd easily call a hipster bashing others -- for being hipsters. Take the hipster trap for instance. If you know what is supposed to be on the hipster trap, you're a hipster. Plain and simple. If you laughed at the hipster trap, you're definitely a hipster. If you're setting ironic hipster traps in Brooklyn, you are like the poster-person for hipsterdom. I was going to joke that the hipster who set them most likely needed the help of one of their beer-nourished friends to move the thing. Then I read that it's actually two artists setting them as a collaboration -- collaborations are way hipster, by the way -- which made me laugh, because I figure the collaborative motivation was more to carry the trap than to mutually carry the idea. If I lived in Brooklyn, I'd set a bigger trap and place the hipster trap as bait. Meta is way hipster.

All I'm saying is that the joke's over, and it's time we recognize hipster as basically meaning, "anyone who has ever owned an iPod, and a few more people who haven't." Hipster-bashing jokes just make me groan. Yeah, the hipster olympics was kind of funny, but wasn't that, like, three years ago? It's time to get specific, hipsters, and make fun of something a little more tangible. A nope we can hold, and feel, and call our own. Because if you're bashing a hipster, they (we) already got to you -- you effin' hipster.

I'm into the guido trap; now this is what I'm talking about.

If loving this song makes me a hipster, I never want to be square again!
"I Just Can't Get Blue Monday Out of My Head"