The Five Best Points From The Nerve Office's NYT "Hipster" Piece Debate

"Hipster" used to be a banned word in the Nerve office. We all just kind of hoped this dumb straw-man concept would go away. But obviously, it hits close to home for some of us, because when the Times runs a half-tone-deaf/patronizing, half-insightful editorial about this undying shibboleth, we all jump to respond. We simply cannot help ourselves. We are sorry.

1.

I don't want to admit it, but I actually agree with the sentiments of this article. I just don't think it will do us any good. Hipsterdom is the world's squishiest couch. Once you're sitting there, it's really hard to get up. It's a life without stakes. You never have to emphatically believe in anything, because if you attach enough irony to every comment you say, you'll always have a defense against criticism. Sincerity is terrifying. Where's the security?

Kate Hakala

2.

This article talks about how the interactions of my generation are irony-inflected to a fault. Fair charge, I'd say. But it doesn't really get into the reasons for that.

So here's a reason: we live in a culture of constant noise and emotional manipulation, where almost anything sincere and earnest has been co-opted by massive forces intent on selling it back to us with a heart-tugging soundtrack. What does cheap fast food have to do with childhood play? I don't know — I'm not the one who commercialized the entire idea of innocence. What does "Pink Moon" have to do with a Volkswagen? What does "Revolution" have to do with athletic shoes?

Irony is our defense against bullshit, and we may be surrounded by more bullshit than ever before. Is this healthy? No, but irony is the symptom, not the illness. (Actually, my favorite line on this comes from The AV Club's Keith Phipps: "Skepticism has a lot in common with white blood cells: the proper amount guards against disease, but too much starts killing healthy tissue.")

I'm reminded of the proliferation of editorials after the 9/11 attacks announcing that irony was dead and that young people would finally start caring about things again. This, despite irony's survival of the Holocaust, the AIDS epidemic, fifty years of the U.S. dropping bombs on brown people, etc. That new sincerity was used to justify — wait for it — another decade of dropping bombs on brown people. Something we are still doing, incidentally. In this world, I'd rather be a skeptic than an ideologue.

Peter Malamud Smith

3.

I'm a little exhausted by this decade's flurry of articles decrying 1, the great hipster pandemic and 2, the menace of modern communication technology. The great achievement of this New York Times article is to combine the two into a perfect storm of doomsaying. It evaluates the surface effects of human change rather than investigating the underlying emotional needs that created them. Consider this: very young people, the admittedly obnoxious text-only, classically antisocial crowd of abbreviations and emotional isolation, have no concept of the old awkward ways, and why would they want to? Why shouldn't they be afraid?

We will be fundamentally different than those who come after us as we were from those who preceded us. This is a fact of life. There are two options available to us: we can spend the remainder of our crusty lives waving a cane at the world from the safety of our porch or we can make a genuine attempt to reconcile the new ways with our old values.

Or, like, whatever.

Garrett Carey

4.

Hi, everyone. My name is Alex, and I'm addicted to trend pieces about hipsters.

Six months from now, when an even older, staid-er, more out-of-touch-with-its-own-city paper posts something about hipsters, I will wearily click on the link, because I will remain morbidly interested in broad generalizations about my generation. And I don't know why, but I will read it, and I will get worked up about it, and that is what's wrong with my generation. We argue about authenticity so goddamn much. We cannot fucking let that shit go. Why are we so concerned? This writer doesn't know a thing about me, and she's actively giving the Baby Boomers a run for their "smuggest generation" money. (It is frankly astonishing that she accuses Generation Y of being overly ironic while absolving her own Generation X, which invented that attitude.)

But I must let her know she's wrong. Am I bucking against her generalities because I was always told about how snowflake-special I was? Or am I just narcissistic enough to demand a place in the conversation? I don't know, but caring this much is exhausting. I have to get me some of that detached irony everybody's always talking about.

Alex Heigl

5.

Hipsters Finally Understand Who They Are and Why That’s Bad

NEW YORK, NY - After nearly a decade of thinking that people were talking about someone else when they used the word "hipster," two generations finally understood who they were last Sunday. Reading Christy Wampole's New York Times piece "How to Live Without Irony" was a revelation to more than a few mustachioed young men everywhere, not to mention their dorky-glasses'd counterparts.

"I always just rolled my eyes and snorted whenever my friends made fun of hipsters," said Selma Vapnek*, 29, adjusting her horned-rims. "Now I realize that all of us are hipsters. Me, my friends, my friends' friends. And we're an epidemic of uncaring."

The news hit hard in several areas around the States — most severely in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but also in East Austin, Texas, the H Street Corridor in D.C., the Pearl District in Oregon, and Silver Lake, Los Angeles. Young people — mostly Millennials — stood outside bowling alleys, artisanal shops, and breweries, collectively horrified by what they had become.

"I just thought I was getting dressed," said Nelson Polino*, 23, looking down at his Bon Jovi Crush Tour T-shirt. "Now I realize I was hiding in plain sight."

For others, the realization went beyond the cosmetic. Whole ways of life were called into question, Stitch-n'-Bitch circles disbanded, fixie bikes left at the side of the road, business plans thrown to the wind.

"I don't even like pickles," said Fitch Michaels*, Portland-based owner of One Guy Sours.

Meanwhile, several areas around the nation report an uptick in enrollment in new "authenticity" classes, including "Watching a Four-Year Old," and "How to Get Absurd Things That You Don’t Really Like Out of Your House."

"I just can’t fucking take myself anymore," said class participant Sid Merkel*, watching four-year-old Mary Cambridge* while taking a razor to his Fu Manchu mustache. 

Thankfully, some have taken Wampole's indictment as what it was meant to be: a call to betterment.

"I'm so tired of being a blight upon connection and caring," said Ruth Trawes*, looking deeply into the eyes of every passerby. "It’s been forty-eight hours and already I feel so much better. Thank you, Christy Wampole. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

* names have been starred to denote the fact that none of these people exist

 Shirley Vincent

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