Aesthetics Culture

On Hipsterism

Adbusters have noticed hipsterism:

We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation

Apparently The The aren’t on Gnutella.

K-punk has a good critique of the article and Hipsterism in general that is well worth reading in full:

the problem with “hipsters” is precisely that they are pathologically well-adjusted, untroubled by sexual anxieties or financial worries. Vulgar Freudianism is not without its point – where is the motivation to produce art in people who can get any satisfaction they want, at any time? The very seamlessness of these unalienated, guilt-free lives leaves no material for sublimation.

I loathe hipsterism, but what else *can* there be in a society where most of the history of mass culture is a mouse click away and where everyone can broadcast their lives (also with a click of the mouse) in a way that only mass media personalities could previously? The cultural smog of the post-Napster Internet works against the scarcity and instant obsolescence that defined previous mass culture.

And besides, the aim of youth culture has always been to upset the eldsters. 😉 Punk parents would need something pretty radical to upset them. The laid-back ambient historicism of hipsterism certainly does the trick if its lack of something new is something new.

I remember watching a 1960s documentary from Swinging London that announced in a voice-over that “The Forties Are Back”. As a kid in the late 80s, 60s psychedelia was big with my cooler friends. The past has always been big. And postmodernism was an 80s thing.

If it’s not the case that hipsterism is just the usual 20-year cycle hitting 80s postmodernism and sample culture then perhaps the hipster generation is just the first with both the economic and technological power to beat the twenty year limit.

(Extended from a comment on Art Fag City.)