During my senior year at Temple University, I completed an honors scholar research project entitled, “The Colorblind Hipster; Deconstructing a Cultural Identity in Crisis,” with the support of my two excellent mentors, Dr. Brooke Duffy (advertising) and Dr. Matt Wray (sociology), as well as a CARAS grant from Temple University Vice Provost. It was an amazing learning experience that resulted in a long-winded (unpublished) research paper, a slightly more interesting presentation speech, a quip on lolmythesis, and a ton of fascinating sources. The abstract of my research paper is included below, followed by the evolving collection of my favorite hipster-relevant* poems, songs, articles and papers.
*Anything that adds to my understanding of “hipsterdom” qualifies
This research explores the implications of the colorblind experience of whiteness for the essential, archetypal Hipster within the contemporary consuming culture of the “mainstream” United States. I acknowledge the importance of both the current technological landscape which is simultaneously hyper-individualistic and hyper-social and the ethic of authenticity and “cool chasing” in consumer culture. Ultimately, I contend that race is a salient contributing factor to some of the more unsavory and heavily criticized contradictions inscribed in this cultural persona, particularly the hallmark aura of inauthentic superiority, which has earned the term “hipster” its pejorative connotation today. By addressing the importance of race to the construction of the hipster identity I hope to wedge open the door for more sensitive, race-conscious dialogues regarding identity construction in the future.
“Dear Dirty Hipsters,” Kai Davis and Safi Niara
They say things like “I don’t see color,”
“Oh my god, I didn’t even know you were black until just now.”
What you meant to say was,
“Oh, I’m choosing to deny your personal identity and heritage in order to make me feel more comfortable.”
“Kill a Hipster,” George Watsky,
Kill a hipster, save your hood.
“Fancy,” Iggy Azaelea
First things first, I’m the realest
Articles (Quotes original)
“The End of White America?” Hua Hsu for The Atlantic
…This feeling of being culturally bereft often prevents (white) students from recognizing what it means to be a child of privilege…
“Was the Hipster Really All that Bad?” Ben Davis originally for Artinfo, now hosted at Huffington Post
I graduated from college in 2001 with a degree in Humanities and Cultural Studies. With no idea what the hell to do with that, I went to work in a bookstore. All my co-workers had degrees in English or Philosophy, and we all had scorn for the dumb best-seller tastes of our customers — in exact proportion to our keen awareness of the uselessness of our own cultivated tastes, the worth of which apparently topped out at $12.50 an hour. What do you do in that situation except be ironic?
“How Millennial Became the New Hipster” Tom Hawking for Flavorwire
When you make statements like “the Millennial Generation as a whole, people born between the late ’70s and the mid-’90s, more or less — of whom the hipsters are a lot more representative than most of them care to admit” (a quote taken, inevitably, from the pages of the New York Times), you serve only to perpetuate needless misunderstandings, creating a generation gap that needn’t exist. And more importantly, you also ignore the very existence of the majority of millennials — people who aren’t privileged, white, and middle-class.
“What Was the Hipster” by Mark Greif for New York Magazine
The rebel consumer is the person who, adopting the rhetoric but not the politics of the counterculture, convinces himself that buying the right mass products individualizes him as transgressive. Purchasing the products of authority is thus reimagined as a defiance of authority.
“Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization“, Douglas Haddow for Adbusters
The dance floor at a hipster party looks like it should be surrounded by quotation marks […] The dancers are too self-aware to let themselves feel any form of liberation; they shuffle along, shrugging themselves into oblivion.
Academic Resources (Tori’s summaries)
The Consuming Self: From Flappers to Facebook, Dr. Jefferson Pooley (Download it here!)
Our culture value on individualistic authenticity is culturally and historically contingent, and in the age of social media, our strategies for impression management and performance of self are changing again
The White Negro, Norman Mailer
The “hipster” of the 1950s was a white rebel, thrilled by the existential exstacy of the drugs, sex, jazz, and aggression of the black jazz artist’s lifestyle.
The Conquest of Cool, Thomas Frank
Advertisers have been co-opting and creating cool for a very long time.
How does our celebretized, reality-televised culture change our understanding of our life narratives?