Hipster Hunting

Janet said she wanted to go the Missouri Lounge to make fun of all the hipsters. Everyone agreed that The Missouri Lounge was just crawling with the little buggers.

I was surprised. Not about the Missouri Lounge—though I’d always thought the shack looked like more of a redneck dive—but that Janet wasn’t herself a hipster. She had the chunky, short-cropped hair and the thick black plastic glasses. But no. She was a hipster hater. How could I get them confused?

We ordered drinks and Janet picked out the most egregious violators and made fun of their outfits and drink selections. We did not stay long. Janet made a request from the DJ and there was some misunderstanding, or altercation. So we left.

That incident got me thinking. Did those people deserve to be made fun of? What made them worse people than Janet? What the hell was a hipster, anyway?

Since that day many moons ago, if I hear someone use the word I always ask them what it means. Two things quickly became apparent: 1) no two people seem to have the same definition 2) never have I ever heard the word used in a positive context.

For my money, a hipster is a person with an overly-developed sense of irony. But by that definition, the guy I know who is most likely to be a hipster is a 35-year-old Indian metalhead. He’s also the biggest hipster-hater I know. The “H-word” also seems to be associated with indie rock, though no one seems to know what the fuck that is either.

Here is what some of my research has come up with:

* “Hipsters are trust fund babies that go to expensive private art programs.”
* “Hipsters are people who wear mismatched, ill-fitting clothes and think they are hot.”
* “Hipsters are the shallow types that live in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn.”
* “Hipsters drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and ride fixie-bikes and make fun of normal people.”

Oh well then, that’s clear. If I am in Williamsburg and I meet someone in an art program I can assume they are shallow and living off daddy’s money. Additionally, if I meet a girl on a fixed-gear bike in Goodwill frocks I can assume she is a snotty bitch that can’t wait to talk about me behind my back. It would do the world a good deed to run off with her inexpensive union-made brew, taunting and laughing. tell me more

My State Plans Lawsuit Against My Country

My Republican friend says I should just calm down. People all over the world are working hard to stop global climate change. I wonder if he is looking at the same people I am. Scary thing is, he is. For example, he is probably looking at the new energy bill as a big step forward. The Bush Administration has pledged to a 35-mph fleet-wide fuel economy average by 2020. So in twelve years we are setting a standard for fuel economy that is five miles per gallon higher than the Model A Ford introduced in 1927. Bravo! If you still… tell me more

An Open Letter to Al Gore

Al, I know you’re busy so I’ll keep it short. Now that you’ve won the Nobel Peace Prize (congrats!), more folks are asking you to toss your hat in the presidential ring. I’d like to counter that opinion. First of all — and please don’t take this personally — you’re a white guy. Isn’t it about time we had someone for president that isn’t a WASP (yeah, Kennedy was Catholic: we’re so diverse!). There is no affirmative action policy up in the White House, but I think it’s time for a change from the same ole same old. Second, and… tell me more

The Fire in My Kitchen, My Belly

As a birthday present to myself, I bought a copy of Poet’s Market 2008. I’ve put my novel aside for a bit but a sudden fire under my bum has been lit to get some of my other stuff published. I think Evan set this fire, by mentioning in his blog that he is interning with Sharon Olds, who is my favorite living poet. Or maybe it is this thing stirring in my belly, this turmoil about the state of the world and a desire to express that in writing. A lot of people ask me where the best places… tell me more

Update On the Neighbors

I am classist after all! I was saying hi to my neighbor the other day, he is about my age, Mexican, drives an SUV. I got up the will to confront him about throwing away furniture. I told him about the place up the street where they take furniture donations. He said that that wasn’t their furniture at all. Random people had been dumping it by our trash. That is why they had started locking the gate at night (another thing they were doing that was really annoying because it doesn’t make me any safer and it takes extra time).… tell me more

This Blogger’s White Privilege is Showing

My Mexican neighbors keep throwing away their furniture. I don’t know how they go through it so quickly, but once a month or so I will see sofas and pillows and dining chairs stacked by the trash, like a big-boned house of cards. I wonder how many tissues, crushed soda cans and credit card offers I can fit in the space these will take up in the landfill. If they were white, I would ask them about it. I would ask whether they knew there was a thrift store three blocks up that will sell their furniture for the benefit… tell me more

Life is Beautiful; I do nothing to Stop the Blaze

We go into the city to celebrate my fantastic new job, bar hopping in the Mission with Jeremy and Jenifer. Jeremy and Jenifer are a bit older than my sweetie and I and they have the kind of financial stability we are striving for and the suburbanism we are trying to avoid. The bars close at two and we go up to their hotel. It occurs to me that my visits to hotels have mostly been connected to conferences and road trip stopovers. The very idea that my friends are paying to spend the night in the city is exemplary… tell me more

The Graduate Was Right

This Sunday is Earth Day and I have an idea for something low-key that folks can do to celebrate. Choose one day to be obsessed with plastic. Why plastic? Because you can’t make it without oil. Since we’ve used up half the earths supply and are rapidly increasing the rate at which we use it (as other countries industrialize), it is likely that in our lifetimes it will run out. This will impact our lives in many ways besides the fuel to commute from the suburbs, and plastic is one of them. Take some time to really notice just how… tell me more