MiamiNights
08/04/2008

Srsly... I mean... FOR REAL? nowai!

I'm unable to stop myself from posting this insightful article I found this morning over my meandering at artfagcity.com's wonderfully useful sidepanel of links galore. Adbuster's 79th cover issue article "Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civiization" has all the printed hoodies in america up in arms. The comments section towards the bottom is at a staggering 650+ comments since its publishing only about a week ago. I recommend everyone that claims to be even at least remotely aware of THE OUTSIDE WORLD to read this article.

I don't even like the ADbuster's publication. It's usually hypocritical rhetoric on the evil of corporations and the brainwashing of the media, and the way they get the point across is through subliminal ADS, clever MARKETING tricks and not to mention all the PRODUCTS they manufacture and pander to suggestable activist wannabes..... but thats another story.

Like I said, if you consider yourself an engaging member of contemporary society, including but not limited to acts such as Poping SpiderPussies off your Backdoor Bambies then  READ THIS ARTICLE!

 

FINE, DON'T READ IT, I'll do the hard part for you (clicking a link) and force feed you the major points of the article: in extended


The author argues that today's "counterculture" (vs the Punk and HipHop movements of the late 70's) is a shallow attempt of re-appropriating aesthetic elements of prior styles from the history of 20th century American popular culture. He sums it up nicely with:  

An artificial appropriation of different styles from different eras, the hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture lost in the superficiality of its past and unable to create any new meaning. Not only is it unsustainable, it is suicidal. While previous youth movements have challenged the dysfunction and decadence of their elders, today we have the “hipster” – a youth subculture that mirrors the doomed shallowness of mainstream society. 

 Picking, choosing, recycling and regurgitating all that vintage and "old school" threadery, going on and on making silly attempts at being an "Individual" while failing (by thinking you are the only person who shops at urban outfitters) to miss the Idea that you maybe aren't achieving a unique new look.

With nothing to defend, uphold or even embrace, the idea of “hipsterdom” is left wide open for attack. And yet, it is this ironic lack of authenticity that has allowed hipsterdom to grow into a global phenomenon that is set to consume the very core of Western counterculture. Most critics make a point of attacking the hipster’s lack of individuality, but it is this stubborn obfuscation that distinguishes them from their predecessors, while allowing hipsterdom to easily blend in and mutate other social movements, sub-cultures and lifestyles.


Buddy goes on this tid-bit suggesting this "hipsterdom" is closer to a global epidemic with an agenda to infect and destroy the western hemisphere, which is kind of a stretch, but for the sake of his argument works pretty well along the lines of implying all hipsters are brainless zombies. I'm not so sure if this is actually his fear, or just an attack.

HAH! I almost forgot to mention my absolute favorite part, His interpretation of the dance culture evident at these "hipster parties". This one hit one home for me, as I am all too well sick as all hell at the patterns of crap people pass off as dancing and get away with.

The dance floor at a hipster party looks like it should be surrounded by quotation marks. While punk, disco and hip hop all had immersive, intimate and energetic dance styles that liberated the dancer from his/her mental states – be it the head-spinning b-boy or violent thrashings of a live punk show – the hipster has more of a joke dance. A faux shrug shuffle that mocks the very idea of dancing or, at its best, illustrates a non-committal fear of expression typified in a weird twitch/ironic twist. The dancers are too self-aware to let themselves feel any form of liberation; they shuffle along, shrugging themselves into oblivion. 

Without delving into 40-some pages of comments, a major point against the article was made one seriously long response by this guy Rob s. excerpts for clarity are as follows:

1.I will openly acknowledge that I probably qualify as a hipster.

2.he irony in this article is that the author doesn't realize that every counterculture movement to date was either a gimmick invented by advertising or an idea that turned out to be a spectacular failure because of the inherent shallowness of its creators.

Punk, as mentioned, was a marketing ploy. The Sex Pistols were a boy band. A good portion of those "starving punks" were really middle-to-upper-middle-class children of privilege. That doesn't change what The Clash or Black Flag did. But it was still an idea conceived to make money. And if the author seriously believes people in the punk community openly accepted the label of punk during its formative years, then he needs to do some actual research. Even a cursory search through Google could find any number of quotes from "punk" forefathers decrying the label as a slogan created by the media to sell the scene.

3.What did the counterculture honestly create in the '60s, besides new ways to get stoned? It created the Me generation psychobabble of the '70s. The hippies grew up, traded in their ideals for coke, and became Republicans. Any worthwhile cultural contributions were for naught, although those contributions were dubious at best. Why?...To pretend a flower child wasn't being selfish by running out to Woodstock to get fucked out of his or her mind on acid is ridiculous and sugar-coating history. It's also ignorant of the fact that most of America only took to the hippie movement after it started getting co-opted by Madison Avenue (or rather, because of that).

4.We're regurgitating cool because really, why not? The fact that the someone deems a need to create something new is pompous in itself. Nothing is new. Those fashions and that music -- it was coming from someone else. Elvis didn't invent rock music. He stole it from black musicians who stole it from someone before them who stole it from someone before them. We've been stealing from ourselves since the dawn of time. It's about time we finally acknowledge it.

The rest of the commentary is predominantly attacks at the writer, not the content (omg! who would have guessed), along the lines of "that guy just needs to get laid, by a hot hipster girl". or that He is just jealous that he isn't as cool, unique and as modern as everyone else who's always on that list to get in VIP estilo!

Back to the article, one point (probably the one that made me post it here) makes a move on the nightlife photo-blogger:

In many ways, the lifestyle promoted by hipsterdom is highly ritualized. Many of the party-goers who are subject to the photoblogger’s snapshots no doubt crawl out of bed the next afternoon and immediately re-experience the previous night’s debauchery. Red-eyed and bleary, they sit hunched over their laptops, wading through a sea of similarity to find their own (momentarily) thrilling instant of perfected hipster-ness.

A big chunk of truth, or at least, what I agree with the most from the read:

Hipsterdom is the first “counterculture” to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests and affiliations. Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion. But the moment a trend, band, sound, style or feeling gains too much exposure, it is suddenly looked upon with disdain. Hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance.

It becomes formulaic for lets say, any garment manufacturer, able to afford a marketing dept. to be able to calculate and experiment with microscopic precision the conception of a "trend", hell people get paid loads of money to do this. I don't find much wrong with taking advantage of america's desire (crack-addiction) to consumption. I'm a graphic designer. I can read marketing campaigns like the back of a milk carton. It's hypnotic and ingenius. But also sad how many horde's of people play victim to its seductive gaze. $150 for a pair of HI-LITER NIKE HI-TOPS, GTFO! I don't care if they go great with your "clubbin Shades" you are a toy.

I sure as hell don't want this post to be perceived as a preaching to the author of the writing, So hate on something else if you have to. My concern with sharing this belongs to the curiosity of what kind of response this will get out of the MIAMI scene, and maybe open an eye or two.

Oh, and if someone brings up VICE+LICE I'm going to get Lackner to track for me your IP adress so I can find you and break my heavy-ass laptop over your $50 haircut.

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