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The International Writers Magazine
: American Lifestyles

Michael Barakat

I begin with a simple cause, a cause volant. If the case were that I did not fulfill my fate and fail in passing down the knowledge and wisdom, it just wouldn’t be fair to exclude to the children of the new generation this knowledge.

I must state now, our older citizens simply deserve better. So it is, I must begin.
Fortunately, (and I say this because there have been worse times for our race in previous years) it was the advent of the so called Nostalgic Revolution that brought to our organization of humanity a new cultural ruck. Keeping in mind that as generations appreciate they are inclined to develop alternate sub-cultures forming themselves within the norms of society, Hipsters were, in essence, a foreseeable outcome and it is no complaint of mine that the ‘Hipsters’ as they are called have become so prevalent in everyday life, and indeed present in the quality of life overall.

As this article is long overdue, it may be of some importance to reaffirm the key points from American Culture that have created and unified the hipster subculture which has – as many may account – developed into and fused with many unlikely parts of mainstream American culture. Hipsters are offspring of 1990’s alterna-nostalgic ‘Pulp Fiction’ inspired brit-poppers. They formed out of the music scene borrowing and mixing older American with current European clothing styles, and they died – yes they died – when Old Navy began carrying trucker hats and flared jeans. They died, when mid-thirty year old trophy wives could be found in malls sporting post 60’s Mod and French hairstyles with CBGB T-Shirts and Diesel Jeans. They died when skinny rich kids in New York City mixed random consumer made ringer baseball jerseys with their flared jeans, Gucci Belt, and Burberry hats. They died when children name dropped bands like Joy Division, New Order, Ramones, Pet Shop Boys, Pixies, Mick Jagger, and a multitude of others for social acceptance. In short they died when the commoditization of Hipsterism became readily available from corporate America.

Hipsters, once thought of as Elite and trendy, are now boring and overused. Considered smart, they are now dull. At one time trendy, they are now passé. No one likes a Modest Thomas says the hipster god. Many of you might not even be aware of the Hipsters. You might not be aware they are all around you right now; you might not know what they are. Truthfully, odds are, you are one – and you may have always been one.

That’s it. If I was going to be accused of being one I might as well join them. There was no way I was going to let my honest self and style be labeled by these damn fun loving carefree hipsters. If I couldn’t shake their tag of myself, I would rule them as there one and true god. What is a hipster anyway?

Ask a hipster what a hipster is and they’ll tell you. Hipsters are enlightened choosers of the finest available music, fashion, art, sensible living accommodations, and overall finesse. But, it seemed strange that an entire subculture could simply be built around music, clothes, and a few certain bars in usually poor areas of town. What did the coyboy hipster say about anything? What was wrong with this picture? Hipsters don’t usually appreciate fine and high art. The true definition of a modern hipster is a person who adheres to the latest fashions within the Hipster group that will maintain his submersion in that group. This may entail shoping at specific stores, congregating at specific bars, and usually carrying strong beliefs in regard to fashion, food, and music.

A common hipster in downtown Philadelphia might very well star at his full-length mirror. Dark blue jeans – slightly flared. Red Atari T-Shirt. Vintage Pumas. White Belt with large vintage buckle. Nintendo Zelda Watch. ‘The Ramones’ were probably playing on his radio. What was he missing? In a moment of reluctance he remembered his ‘A Flock of Seagulls’ sweatband. Now the finishing touch… he quickly grabbed his Aquage - just a dab on the fingertips. His faux-hawk was made. At the party or frequented bar where Pabst Blue Ribbon could be found on-tap or Mickey’s malt liquor could be purchased in small grenade styled bottles the hipster met with a few of his friends. Jenine and Lyle talked about ‘Joy Division’ while Murphy and Alex argued about who had a sweeter track jacket. These were not enlightened people – choosers of the finer things available. These were perhaps – yes - brats.

Many still thriving hipsters assure me their groups and circles are unique and hipsters are good, and they cater to a brighter future for the adolescent, they promote art and culture. But, really they are just another viable and approachable group in this expressionless age, just another readily accessible social group. While it’s true that many are true and blue patrons to art and culture, the fact is – many are fake. I can look across my cubicle now at someone who just bought the new ‘Scissor Sisters’ album, a surely key topic at the next gathering. Sweet dreams.

© Michael Barakat May 2005

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