"'Tell me your company, and I'll tell you your opinions,' might be said to many a man who piques himself on a select and superior view of things, distinct from the vulgar."
— William Hazlitt, "On Consistency of Opinion," in Winterslow, making certain aspects of hipsterdom Older Than Radio
*sigh* I was editing this page before it was cool...
In the 1940s, hipsters were middle-class white people who emulated the lifestyles of black jazz musicians. This was, for them, an existentialist rejection of society. These hipsters were an unorganized movement that eventually morphed into the beatniks of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s.
Sometime in the late 1990s - early 2000s, the term hipster was dusted off and applied to a new generation that expressed the old hipster ideals in new ways. They were now predominantly middle-class, urban, white 20-something-year-olds interested in alternative culture: left-of-center politics, alternative music, independent films, thrift-store or vintage fashion, and a diet of locally-grown, organic or vegetarian/vegan food.
In The New Tens, self-identified hipsters (if such a thing can even be found as no one seems willing to call themselves by this name) view themselves as intellectuals who reject the mainstream and carefully define their own identities, taking a buffet-style approach to elements of other cultures and subcultures. Your typical hipster outfit will appropriate and/or cannibalize elements from the punk, hippie, rave, and LGBT scenes, plus '90sgeek-chic, and some token from a non-Western culture; lacking the raison d'etre of any of these subcultures, the hipster will instead use an air of sarcasm to tie the ensemble together. Hipsters' musical tastes are generally centered around indie rock, Baroque Pop, Alternative Hip Hop, Heavy Metal, Garage Rock, Post Rock, and Punk Rock, and minimalist Techno. Particular bands hipsters tend to enjoy include Arcade Fire, Beach House, Belle And Sebastian, Jens Lekman, Animal Collective, Joanna Newsom, Grizzly Bear, Dr. Dog, Best Coast, and all Elephant 6 Collective bands (especially Neutral Milk Hotel), although only knowing those bands is only half the battle as an obscure and eclectic taste in music is preferred. Pitchfork Media, a music blog, is probably the most important hipster taste-maker. Arcade Fire has been betrayed by many hipsters after they became more popular from Grammy nominations and uses in movies like Where The Wild Things Are and The Hunger Games.
It should be noted that while these bands may be popular among hipsters, this doesn't make the bands themselves 'hipster bands'- a good portion of bands loved by hipsters actively reject the sarcasm, snobbery, and trendiness that often go along with hipster culture. Arcade Fire have been known to throw in jabs at them in their songs ("they will eat right out of your hand/using great big words that they don't understand!") and indie folk group Bon Iver outright defied the label by recording an ultra-sincere, proudly cheesy autotunedPower Ballad for their second album.
A critical mind might see Hipsters as yet another subculture dedicated to individuality ended up manifesting just as much herd mentality as the mainstream it rejected, along with a tendency to act as though popularity and quality are inversely proportional, and to be aggressively smug (read: shamelessly arrogant) about it.
From this was derived the strawman hipster of numerous parodies: A person who spends $60 on a new, designer-brand t-shirt which was faux-aged to look like something you could buy for $2 at Goodwill. A person whose taste in music is calculated to win "Whose iPod playlist is most obscure?" contests, and who disowns their favorite band for being played on the mainstream radio. A person who, upon admitting that she partakes in any form of mainstream entertainment — especially anything with a "redneck" stigma (like NASCAR, Nickelback or Mixed Martial Arts) — claims that she's only "enjoying it sarcastically". A person who mocks every other hipster he sees but vehemently denies being a hipster himself. In short: that jerk who thinks he's better than you because he's so aggressively different.
Due to this strawman, the term "hipster" is frequently used as an insult, lobbed in the direction of anyone deemed pretentious or the slightest bit "artsy". Further confusing the issue, hipsters themselves will, owing to their "indier-than-thou" attitude, frequently disown any hipster fashions or artists that catch on in the mainstream. One year, hipsters may wear distressed jeans and t-shirts with ironic vintage logos; the next year, self-professed hipsters will stop wearing those because they're available at every Walmart in America, while the latecomers who start wearing those will still be labeled hipsters by outsiders. Which only further contributes to the decay of the label (although the term "scenesters" is sometimes used for these johnny-come-latelies). But the real reason hipsters get so much hate is probably just the smugness.
Compare Emo Teen, Beatnik, Hippie, Bourgeois Bohemian. Related to Irony, Postmodernism, Popularity Polynomial. Often holds the belief that True Art Is Angsty.
See also I Read It for the Articles. Not to be confused with Rule Of Cool or Isn't It Ironic? (It is.)
Usually this trope is in opposition to The Man. Yeah, we just had to point that out.
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The Mac guy from the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads is considered by many to be a hipster stereotype. In fact, many people who appear in Apple ads appear to be hipsters. This is likely the result of Apple trying to tell people "Buy a Mac and be a hip counterculture artist rather than a PC using drone."
The "Don't Be So Mayo" campaign for Miracle Whip tries to appeal to hipsters
"Interior Semiotics" is an offensive exhibit that was greatly associated with hipsters, due to the vast majority attending the exhibit. That is all you need to know.
Frank, from The New York Four. That guy knew the greatest underground bands... before you did.
In Empire State, Jason warns Sara that if she moves to New York City, she's going to be surrounded by annoying hipsters. She moves anyway, and upon speaking to Jimmy again:
More of the villains seem to fit the hipster mold than the sympathetic characters do. Matthew Patel for sure, with his weird fashions and declarations of what is "in" this year. Gideon Gordon Graves clearly aspires to be some sort of hipster king, flaunting his impossibly hip new club and telling Scott he's not cool enough to date Ramona. Scott and his friends, meanwhile, seem to send the message that being honest and true to yourself is the way to be happy in life.
Richard Linklater's Slacker is possibly a sociological, non-linear Start of Darkness of the hipster subculture. As a commenter on IMDB once said, "there is ALWAYS going to be 20-year-olds."
In Juno, Juno and her boyfriend are pretty much hipsters, though her friend Leah is only a marginal example. Jason Bateman's character attempts to seduce Juno through their shared appreciation of hipster media.
Wes Anderson's oeuvre is basically hipster bait, but hardly any of his characters are actually hipsters.
Rob, Barry and Dick in High Fidelity think themselves this, with the usual results.
Pretty much everyone in Les Amours imaginaires (also known as Heartbeats)—basically everyone in all of Xavier Dolan's films, actually.
Two hipsters walk into a bar. One turns to the other and says "Let's get out of here." The second responds, "Yeah, this place is full of hipsters."
How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb? It's an obscure number, you've probably never heard of it.
Britta Perry in Community plays this for laughs, but there's also a bit of mostly-sympathetic deconstruction going on, since she's frequently exposed as being lonely, deeply insecure and painfully aware that she's not nearly as cool, intelligent and well-liked as she likes to pretend she is.
Jeff Winger tends to share the role of group hipster with Britta, although he tends to occupy the 'vain, self-centred and desperately obsessed with being seen as the coolest person in the room (while simultaneously desperately obsessed with being seen as aloof and uncaring about being cool)' part of the stereotype, while Britta's more the 'smug, condescending indie-culture left-winger' part. Also mostly-sympathetically-deconstructed, as it's increasingly revealed that this is mainly just a cover for his many neuroses.
Chris Morris's sitcom Nathan Barley was a satire of London hipsterdom, particularly the title character.
Happy Endings parodied hipsters in the epsiode "Dave of the Dead". Penny hooks up with one unknowingly when she meets one at the laundromat and assumes his shabby attire is due to being the last clean clothes he had. Max instructs her in acting the part, by basically not caring about anything. She eventually leaves him because, being a Large Ham, couldn't bear acting aloof all the time. The final scene had hipsters shuffling like zombies toward Dave's food truck.
The second-to-last scene features Penny calling out a girl for using a wheelchair as part of her "look." The girl says she is paralyzed. Just as Penny starts apologizing, "Psych. I can totes walk. Sweet chair, though, right?" Penny proceeds to wheel her into something off-screen.
Namechecked in The Big Bang Theory. While Leonard and Penny try to hang out as Just Friends at a bar Penny strikes up a conversation with a friendly but sardonic guy named Kevin on his laptop, who fits the trope despite comparatively little screentime. Leonard thought she was just trying to make a point to him, but Penny mentions that she found him cute with his "hipster glasses and dorky t-shirt." (While certainly not a hipster, Leonard wears similar glasses and dorky t-shirts)
Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard's university thesis paper has the 1800s equivalent of a hipster title: "On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates."
The main character of The Lonely Island's "I Threw It On The Ground", played by Andy Samberg, appears to be the sort of hipster who rejects everything as "part of the system", and will inevitably respond to basically everything by throwing something on the ground.
Arcade Fire's Magnum OpusThe Suburbs mocks hipsters in several songs, most obviously in "Rococo," which is in part about the band's early fanbase abandoning them once they became popular and thus no longer 'cool.' "Month of May" attacks hipstery cynicism and aloofness, and "Suburban War" tells a loose story of two friends who become separated when their musical tastes clash (mixed in with a lot of Growing Up Sucks imagery).
The Smashing Pumpkins' song "Cherub Rock" from their 1993 album Siamese Dream critiques hipster music culture and the "false gods" of the "indie scene".
The Girls Aloud b-side "Hoxton Heroes" mocks the British indie music scene, specifically the hipsters more obsessed with their images, fame connections, and "scene credibility" with no significant contributions rather than being respectable musicians. For extra irony, Girls Aloud were created on a Talent Show whose output was eventually embraced by the British indie scene.
So let's try a little bit harder
Cause you need more than jeans and a parka
Just cause your dad knew the Rolling Stones
You've got the Primrose set in your cell phone
Don't kid yourself, you're an indie clone
We've seen it before, get a sound of your own
Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a song entitled "If You're Anxious for to Shine in the High Aesthetic Line", which mercilessly mocks "aesthetes" - a sort of 1890s equivalent of the hipster.
In Fossil Fighters: Champions, the Terrible Trio is made up of Acceptable Hobby Targets. They're eventually made sympathetic by the end - they only fell in with the supposed bad guy because he's the only one who treated them decently - but Cole the hipster is still the target of more mockery than the other two (a metalhead and a hippie, for the record).
In Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepard gives us this beauty of a line:
Shepard: I like obscure music.
Morinth: How obscure?
Shepard: If you've heard of it, it's already too mainstream.
Morinth herself counts as one, as her typical prey includes artists and creative persons. She also loves anything which celebrates hedonism and the grotesque.
Kate Beaton: I think it's funny when people complain super loud about how 'hipsters ruined' this or that as though if hipsters would just go away the problem is solved and you can go back to wearing plaid shirts too or something. Because I mean, directionless youths have always appropriated things and made them annoying!
Dave Strider is initially a parody of hipster culture, as he's obsessed with (his interpretation of) irony, and with living in the most ironic way possible. Although, unlike most hipsters, his taste runs more towards hip-hop and dance music rather than indie rock. In any case, the events of Sburb have caused quite a bit of Character Development, and his interest in irony is no longer emphasized so much. It's also implied that Dave's obsession with irony is a coping mechanism for dealing with his Bro's creepier obsessions.
Dirk Strider is also very interested in irony—except he takes his irony so far that it twists back around to sincerity. Sometimes even he himself can't tell at what point his treatment of, say, the Detective Pony novel, transitions from mockery to celebration.
Eridan Ampora actually gets called an "ugly scarfnecked douchebag hipster" at one point, and he certainly dresses the part. (He's even earned the Fan Nickname "hipster fish".) On the other hand, he doesn't do very much hipster-ish besides dress the part.
His ancestor/clone/descendant/alternate-universe counterpart Cronus also looks rather like a hipster but he's just pretending to be a human GreaserOther Kin to get dates.
Questionable Content allegedly features (or featured) hipsters, including main characters Marten and Faye, but the hipster tone has been dramatically lowered as time has gone on. The comic has evolved into more of a Slice of Life story featuring struggling post-college individuals than one about music.
A helpful definition from QC: What's the best way to piss off a poseur-hipster-indie music fan? Actually enjoy music.
What the Fu features a super-hip bar called the Hipster Jester◊. "It's so esoteric, it actually exists outside mainstream spacetime. You can't find it unless someone takes you there, and even then you probably won't remember the way."
Liz: Oh, so you're saying you liked them before they were cool, huh? I can't even look at you right now.
This gets a Call Back a few weeks later, when Greg doesn't want to see The Hunger Games because it's too popular (since he tried Twilight due to its popularity and got burned).
Liz: That's it, tomorrow, you are returning those Converse All-Stars.
Greg: I am not turning into a hipster, I am turning into a cranky old man. Our jeans aren't as tight.
Morris and Harry from The Word Weary are self-identified hipsters. The author said in the comments section of this comic that Morris has a real appreciation for the musical and fashion aesthetics of the subculture while Harry became one "because he heard hipster girls were easy."
The blog (and book) Stuff White People Like could be more accurately called Stuff Hipsters Like.
That's one of the jokes, that hipsters = white people. They occasionally note the existence of other groups of white people, like the people who like Ed Hardy and Dane Cook, but for the most part, they assume white people refers to young, pretentious, elitist, liberal white people.
Eric, from Mall Fight. He basically checks every box aside from being a vegetarian. Instead, he is a pecitarian (outside of Chinese food).
Grooveshark (a music streaming website) had a prank on April Fools' Day 2012, where any music you play would elicit on-screen commentary from Hipster Jen or Hipster Otis. "I have this song on limited-edition colored vinyl." "I guess this song isn't TOO embarrassing." "This makes my mustache sad."
Need some hipster word-filler? Hipster Ipsum has got you covered:
Meh letterpress pickled, fashion axe 3 wolf moon ethical williamsburg readymade viral squid. Hella raw denim williamsburg, fashion axe forage dreamcatcher 8-bit. Portland meggings pug Truffaut, small batch skateboard trust fund mixtape fanny pack iphone literally raw denim kogi. Seitan truffaut gluten-free forage, sustainable biodiesel tousled yr artisan mlkshk art party trust fund squid street art. Chambray etsy quinoa, mlkshk kogi banksy trust fund shoreditch selfies truffaut jean shorts. Gastropub artisan selfies twee, meggings shoreditch Austin tonx umami bushwick fixie church-key blue bottle selvage. Freegan wayfarers hashtag, pour-over raw denim retro locavore organic meh kale chips meggings keffiyeh scenester flexitarian fingerstache.
Cracked on hipsters and "anti-conformists" (although they're portrayed as identical-looking goths the author is mainly talking about hipsters but "nobody wants to draw hipsters, they'd have to be wearing something different in every panel and then there goes your whole day.")
A popular trend on Facebook- most definitely played for satirical irony and laughs towards the whole Hipster culture- are "Hipster" versions of popular fictional (or otherwise infamous) characters. Hipster Slenderman, Hipster Hitler, Hipster Naruto, Hipster Stewie, Hipster Chewbacca, The Hipster Joker.. The list goes on... Just to drive the point home, almost all of their profile pics have them wearing the standard black horn-rimmed "hipster" glasses.
On the King of the Hill episode "Lady and Gentrification", Peggy sells a lot of homes in Enrique's neighborhood to hipsters, who like it for its ethnic flavor. Eventually they start opening business and driving up property values, to the point that poor Enrique can't afford to live there anymore. Peggy and Hank fix this by pretending that rednecks and typical suburban white people were moving in.
Hank Hill: Enrique's neighborhood sure has changed fast, I tell you what. All these "artists" have started moving in. They all look the same, all skinny and walk real slowly.
Dale: The people you are referring to are called hipsters, Hank. They walk slowly because they've got nowhere to be, man.
Mordecai from Regular Show shows traits of this, although "This Is My Jam" made it pretty clear.
Mordecai: You can't touch music. But music can touch you.
Also from the same episode:
Mordecai (regarding Brain Explosion, his favorite band): Yeah, you probably have never heard of them. You gotta be in the know to know, y'know?
In "Camping Can Be Cool" he mentions he went to art school at some point while talking to Margaret, but he most likely dropped out.
Zoey from Total Drama Island has hints of this. Specifically, her audition tape to get on the show mentions that she wanted to go to indie movie theaters, wear retro clothes and horn-rimmed glasses- basically thinking that acting like a hipster might make her different enough just to be noticed by others. She's really just a normal, sometimes overly-friendly girl filled with good intentions who tries her hardest to make friends since she has none where she comes from.
In Sym-Bionic Titan, the members of the Disenfranchised band, particularly Ian, come off as this way as they kick Lance out of their band claiming that he's "attracting the wrong kind of audience."